If you’ve chosen to go the do-it-yourself route on credit repair, you’re not alone. The credit bureaus continue to report that most credit report disputes come directly from consumers. But there is mounting evidence suggesting that credit repair efforts by both do-it-yourself consumers and many credit repair agencies aren’t really working.
The biggest obstacle to successful credit repair is the fact that credit bureaus, creditors, and collection agencies have become experts at pushing back and stalling efforts to fully and fairly investigate disputes. This can be very frustrating for any consumer trying to fix her credit and most people throw in the towel after one or two disputes. Credit repair can take months (and even some years) and people hoping for a quick fix become frustrated and drop out of the process.
If you have late payments on your credit report, this probably represents the biggest negative impact on your score. And, it’s not very reassuring to understand that late payments are some of the most difficult accounts to get removed. These letters provide you with a logical approach in communicating with credit reporting agencies and creditors.
Please note that if the account has been written off and sent to a collection agency, don’t dispute late payments but rather follow the dispute process highlighted in Collection Account Dispute Letters.
Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 1 — Send this letter to credit bureaus if any account is reporting a late payment. This letter requests that the credit bureau “verify” the late payment with the creditor. It also requests that the credit bureau remove specific kinds of inquiries and place a promotional suppression on your credit file.
Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2 — If the credit bureau states that the late payment was “verified”, send this letter 35-40 days after the original letter was sent. You can also send it earlier if you receive a response before the 35-40 day period. This letter demands that the credit bureau provide the method of their verification within 15 days.
Late Payment Letter to Creditor — This letter requests that creditors provide documentation of all late payments made on the account since the account was opened. It demands that late payment information be removed if no such documentation exists.
Late Payment Goodwill Letter to Current Creditor — If you have 1 or 2 missed late payments in an account which is still open and if these late payments occurred more than six months ago, we recommend giving this letter a try. It requests that the creditor mark the account as “current” based on your positive history with the account before and after the late payments.
Late Payment Goodwill Letter to Past Creditor — If you have late payments with a creditor where the account is now closed, getting these removed is difficult, but still worth the effort. This letter requests that the creditor mark the account as “current” based on your positive history with the account before and after the late payments.
Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus If No Response From Creditor — Many times, credit bureaus will refer you directly to a creditor to settle disputes. If you have reached out to a creditor but did not hear from them, send this letter to the credit bureau.
Late Payment Letter to Creditor If No Response From Previous Letters — On occasion, a creditor will fail to communicate to a consumer about the credit report dispute. Send this letter when that happens and send a copy of the letter with your “Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus If No Response From Creditor” detailed above.
Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus If No Response or Late Response — If the credit bureau does not respond to your “Late Payment Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2” within 15 days of receipt, send this letter informing them of their non-compliance and demanding the late payment account either be removed or corrected to “current”.
When an account is so far in arrears — usually after 180 consecutive days of no payments — a collection agency may get involved. Sometimes, the original creditor will hire a collection agency to deploy aggressive tactics to get you to pay the outstanding balance. That includes phone calls, letters, and emails with not-so-subtle threats of legal action.
Other times, the original creditor will write off the outstanding balance and then sell the contract to a third-party financial company. In buying your outstanding balance due from the original creditor for pennies on the dollar the new owner of your debt will engage in aggressive efforts to get you to pay all or a portion of the outstanding balance. These financial debt buyers may have their own collection agency or may hire an outside collection firm.
Whichever applies to the outstanding debt you may owe, the dispute letters described below are an attempt to verify and validate that the collection agency does indeed have the legal right to demand payment.
Collection or Charge-Off Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 1 — This letter is sent to credit bureaus and requests they verify the information about the collection account. It also requests that the credit bureau remove specific kinds of inquiries and place a promotional suppression on your credit file.
Collection or Charge-Off Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2 — The credit bureaus will usually respond in round 1 with the statement that the account has been verified. This letter demands that the credit bureau provide the method of verification. They have 15 days to respond. We recommend sending this letter by certified mail with signature confirmation.
Collection or Charge-Off Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 3 — This escalates the dispute language by threatening litigation if the credit bureau does not respond adequately to the prior letter. The credit bureau has 30 days to respond.
Collection or Charge-Off Letter to Credit Bureaus If No Response or Late Response — If the credit bureau does not respond to your “Collection Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2” within 15 days of receipt, send this letter informing them of their non-compliance and demanding the collection account be removed.
Collection Validation Letter to Collection Agency, round 1 — This letter is sent after being formally contacted by a collection agency. It states that you have never had a contract with them and demands that they show proof such a contract exists. This is usually done by requesting documentation that they have been hired by the original creditor or that the collection agency purchased the debt from the original creditor. It also demands that all telephone contact cease and desist.
Collection Validation Letter to Collection Agency, round 2 — Send this letter when the collection agency does not adequately respond to your previous letter. This includes inadequate documentation or proof that the account allegedly belongs to you or is legally owned by the collection agency.
Collection Validation Non-Response Letter to Credit Bureau After sending “Collection Validation Non-Response Letter to Debt Collector” noted above, include a copy of that letter along with this one and send it to the credit bureau.
Every time you apply for credit and the credit grantor does a credit check on you, a credit inquiry is placed on your file. Even if you receive a credit card offer in the mail and you respond, your credit will almost certainly be checked and a credit inquiry will be added to your credit report. Plus, when you attempt to obtain credit such as auto loans or home mortgages, the dealership or mortgage company may shop your loan to several banks and finance companies which can create several hard inquiries within a matter of minutes.
Inquiries are part of the credit game, but too many inquiries can leave credit grantors concerned that you’re “credit hungry” and running into financial trouble. That’s why it’s important to make sure that only authorized companies are creating inquiries on your credit report. To learn more about inquiries, see 5 Factors That Impact Your Credit Score.
Inquiry Dispute to Creditors, round 1 — Inquiries are the rare dispute category where we recommend you begin first directly with the creditor. This is primarily because there are few regulations that require the credit bureaus to remove inquiries. The focus of this dispute is around “permissible purpose” and challenges the creditor to show evidence of it. Take care not to dispute inquiries on accounts that actually extended you credit. Not only is this not correct, but the creditor may also close your open account.
Inquiry Dispute to Creditor, round 2 — If the creditor has not provided evidence of permissible purpose, use the letter to demand they provide it or remove the inquiry.
Inquiry Dispute to Credit Bureau, round 1 — Despite the efforts of many unscrupulous credit repair vendors to tell you otherwise, credit bureaus have little regulatory incentive to remove inquiries. This letter demands they hold the creditor accountable by showing permissible purpose.
Inquiry Dispute to Credit Bureau, round 2 — The strategy for this letter is to communicate to the credit bureau that the creditor has not provided proof of permissible purpose. The letter demands that the inquiry be deleted.
You will never find the perfect credit repair letter to fit your situation. You will have to edit the text on our credit dispute letter templates so they reflect your unique credit dispute situation.
It is very important you read your credit dispute letter before sending it off, making sure you are addressing all of your credit issues. Our free credit repair letters are meant to give you direction on what to state in your letter. Don’t get hung up on crafting the perfect letter — just know what you are saying and make sure they understand what you are presenting to them.