As we seem to say time and time again, you can repair your credit on your own for a fraction of the cost of hiring a credit repair company. But be very careful as there are some tried and true tactics you need to follow to get the job done properly. One of the most important strategies is to document your efforts. If you are sending a letter to a creditor or a credit bureau, make sure to send it via certified mail and return receipt requested.
Reasons to Send Letters Certified Mail
We can’t tell you how many times people have written to us and told us they can’t understand why a negotiated settlement made over the phone with a creditor or a credit reporting agency didn’t happen. They say the deal was lost or forgotten by the person or company making the deal.
Hello! There is no way you can prove any settlement that was agreed to over the phone. Whether you are writing a dispute letter to a collection agency or credit bureau, negotiating a settlement, validating a debt or disputing a credit listing, you are not protected unless you have some record of the correspondence being mailed and received by the intended party. You must have some written proof or documentation of your dispute. As they say – “If it ain’t in writing, it ain’t.”
Ways to Document Correspondence
We can not stress enough the importance of documenting all agreements, phone conversations, and disputes with written correspondence. But, the agreement won’t be worth the paper it is written on if you can not prove the letter was ever received. That is why you want to make sure you send all your letters so that they can be tracked and verified they were received by the intended party. There are many ways to get proof that your letter was received.
- Send Your Letter Certified Mail with a Return Receipt. Depending on the size of the letter and the distance it travels, you will spend approximately 5 to 6 dollars per letter. When you do this, you will have proof of when the letter was mailed and you will be sent a green postcard showing the letter was received and someone actually signed for this letter. This is your proof that your letter reached the intended destination and when they received your letter. This is very important since there is a time deadline of 30 days for the credit bureaus to respond to your letter.
- Online Mail Services. There are a couple of online services which allow you to send a letter certified return receipt requested via your computer, just as if you had gone down to the post office.
- USPS — You can print a label to mail your letter which will provide you a tracking number.
- Click2Mail — This is another online service where you can print labels for certified mail.
- UPS and Federal Express. Both of these carriers will provide a tracking number and afford a better chance of your letter being delivered. In the case of a collection agency, which may refuse certified mail, these carriers deliver your letter personally and are less likely to be refused.
Remember to keep a copy of all letters sent to creditors, credit bureaus, or collection agencies along with the proof of mailing and the return receipt postcard showing when they signed for your letter. Keeping logs, records, and receipts of letters sent can easily mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to getting negative items removed from your credit report.
Want even more tips on documentation and record-keeping? Read our article Documentation and Organization Are Keys To Credit Repair Success.