So, you’ve just received your credit report, hoping to see a noticeable improvement in your credit score, only to find out that there are errors on the credit report that gave your credit score a big blow.
We understand your frustration, but before you tear apart your report and call it a day, you can actually correct the information on your credit report with a simple 609 letter. It won’t cost you a dime, and while there’s a chance that it won’t work, it’s definitely worth a shot.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand what a 609 letter is, how it can help you dispute your credit report, and how to write an effective one.
What Is a 609 Credit Dispute Letter?
A 609 letter is simply a letter that you can send to a specific credit bureau to dispute particular parts of your credit report that might have been documented incorrectly. In other words, a 609 letter can be a way for you to boost your credit score.
If you find out that an item on the report is wrong, and the credit bureau couldn’t verify it, the credit bureau would be legally obligated to remove the incorrectly documented information.
In many cases, people send 609 letters even if they can’t tell for sure whether there are any errors in their reports.
What Is Section 609?
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 609 states that every individual has the right to request a copy of their credit report.
This might sound confusing, but section 609 doesn’t clearly address your right to dispute any wrong information on your credit report. This part is listed in section 611 that states your right to dispute any item on your credit report that you think is wrong.
It’s not clear where the “609 letter” term came from, but that’s how many people refer to it. It’s not a legally recognized term, though.
How Does a Credit Dispute Work?
When you dispute something on your credit report, the credit bureau will get in touch with your creditors to find out whether the information is accurate or not. Errors could happen for multiple reasons, like inaccurate balances, data, account statuses, or other reasons.
If your creditor didn’t provide the bureau with a legitimate response, the negative item would be eliminated from your credit report.
In certain situations, if the credit bureau is unable to make a decision due to a lack of data, you might be required to submit additional papers to support your dispute.
For example, if you dispute a wrong balance, it’d be a good idea for you to provide receipts that include the correct balance. That’s why it’s good practice to keep all of your receipts in a safe place so that you can present them when required.
Is a Credit Dispute Worth It?
A credit dispute may or may not be worth it, depending on your particular situation. If whatever you’re disputing doesn’t impact your credit score significantly, it may not be worth the hassle. After all, a credit score of 630 isn’t that different from a 640 one.
However, keep in mind that a credit dispute is more like a “free” gamble; it may or may not work. There’s no guarantee that your credit dispute will ultimately get you a better credit score.
Nevertheless, it’s no secret that many creditors don’t keep track of the information they collect online by issuing the proper documents and paperwork, which is why it’s easy for consumers to repair their credit using this method.
And just to clear the confusion here, 609 letters aren’t a magical way to clear your debts. If you’re in debt, you still have to pay it whether your 609 letter works or not.
Oh, and in rare cases, a creditor might be able to put the negative information back on your credit report after it was removed by providing verification to the credit bureau.
It’s also worth mentioning that your creditor might sell your account to a debt collection agency. In that case, the item that you removed with your 609 letter might show up on your credit report again. Don’t panic, though; you can still send another letter and dispute the item again.
How to Dispute Wrong Information on Your Credit Report the Right Way
Generally speaking, there are two steps that you have to take to dispute an item on your credit report, which are:
1. Dispute It With the Credit Bureau
The first legal action you can take to dispute an item on your credit report is to send a 609 letter to the credit bureau that you’ve received your credit report from. The credit bureau holds full responsibility for the accuracy of the information in the report, which is why it makes sense to contact the bureau before doing anything else.
2. Dispute It With the Lender
If the credit bureau couldn’t reach an agreement with the lender, you’ll be required to dispute the item with the lender. In that case, you’ll need to send a letter to the lender, asking them to verify the item on your report. Just make sure that you provide a copy of any legal proof that could support your claim.
Writing an Appealing 609 Letter
Here’s how you can write and send your 609 letter in a way that increases the chances of success:
Use a 609 Letter Template
There are dozens of free 609 letter templates on the web. It’s important that you stick to one of them if you want your letter to be taken seriously. It’s also important that all the information you provide in the letter is accurate.
Be Clear and Concise
Your 609 letter should display its message clearly. You have to state a particular item that you want to get removed from your credit. It’s also preferable to use bullet lists if you’re disputing multiple items.
Additionally, make sure that you don’t write anything unnecessary. The credit bureau receives a good deal of letters every day, and you don’t want your 609 letter to be misinterpreted.
Provide Your Personal Information at the End of the Letter
When you send your 609 letter, make sure that the credit bureau can easily verify your identity by writing down your basic information at the end of the letter. You need to write your full legal name, social security number, full address, and date of birth.
Use the Right Mailing Address of Each Credit Bureau
You don’t want to send your 609 letter to the wrong address, at least if you want the credit bureau to see it, so make sure to double-check the address of the credit bureau you’re dealing with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Better to Dispute Your Report Online or by Mail?
It’s always recommended that you dispute negative items by mail. While all of the three national credit bureaus let you dispute your report online or by phone, doing it by mail will increase your chances of making it work.
How Many 609 Letters Can I Send?
There’s no legal limitation to the number of 609 letters you can send to any of the three credit bureaus. Nevertheless, it’s recommended that you don’t spam the bureau’s mailbox with dozens of 609 letters.
Each letter will open a separate investigation, and you don’t want the overwhelming number of letters to hinder the process.
Which Credit Bureau Should I Send the 609 Letter To?
It depends. If you see the error in only one credit bureau’s report and that same error doesn’t exist in the other two reports, then send the letter to the credit bureau that has the error only.
On the other hand, if you suspect that there’s a wrong item on all of the reports, then you can send the letter to the three bureaus. In that case, the false information is probably given by a creditor that reports to all three credit bureaus simultaneously. Not all creditors report to more than one bureau, though.
Alright, by now, you should be ready to craft and send your own 609 letter. As we’ve mentioned, 609 letters are free, and writing one won’t take much of your time to prepare.
It’s a legitimate loophole that you can use to add some points to your credit score. All you have to do is send the letter and wait for a few weeks.
Repairing your credit score is a long journey, and something as easy as sending a letter should definitely be on your to-do list if you want to accelerate the process.