DIY Credit Repair Course Module 3: How To Write Credit Bureau Dispute Letters

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“When you are eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” 

~ General Creighton Abrams, United States Army


Getting Ready To Write Credit Bureau Dispute Letters


In this next section round 1 dispute letters to the credit bureaus will be processed. This is the first step of the dispute process, and will take approximately 35 days to hear a response back from the bureuas. 

The entire dispute process will consist of several rounds of dispute processing similar to this initial one, and will consist of the following steps:

1. Identify negative accounts on credit reports (module 3)

2. Identify dispute candidate data (module 3)

3. Compose and mail dispute letters (module 3)

4. Wait 35 – 50 days 

5. Compose and mail method of verification letters (module 4)

6. Compose and mail collector validation letters (if applicable) (module 6)

7. Compose and mail 609 dispute letters (if applicable) (module 7)

8. Wait 35 days to receive all responses

9. File complaints if unverified information remains (module 8)

This material will be broken down into smaller segments that are easier to digest, followed by a recap at the end. 

It’s important to remember that credit repair is a multi-phase process that will take several months, so take your time absorbing the information in this course. 

When you complete this instructional program you will be able to compose effective round 1, credit bureau dispute letters on demand for anyone, and for any reason. 

Just to be clear, credit repair = writing dispute letters. They are the same thing.

Whenever companies advertise credit repair, they are referencing a dispute letter writing system that they provide for their clients. Often times the credit repair company will also track the dispute process by manually entering data such as when dispute letters were mailed, who they were mailed too, when they were received by the target company, the responses to the disputes that were received and the results. 

This course includes a versatile solution that credit repair operators can easily implement as a cloud-based dispute tracker for personal or client credit issues. If you do not have a Google Docs account, create one, and then upload a copy of the dispute tracker to use for your client. Adjust the sharing options as necessary and you have a fully functioning dispute tracking system you can upload multiple times and use for multiple clients. The dispute tracker will track up to 5 rounds of dispute letters, after which escalation of the situation by filing a complaint is generally warranted. 


Identifying Dispute Candidates


So where do you go to to find your credit reports and get started? 

The place to get a free copy of your credit reports is annualcreditreport.com. This is the official website to request a copy of your credit reports. It is free to use, and you are allowed to request one electronic copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. 

Many people have issues with the annualcreditreport.com website. Specifically, they have problems verifying their ID so that they can pass through the automated system and download their credit reports. You have to do one for each bureau, three in total, and many have reported difficulties. 

For this and several other reasons it is recommended that you purchase monthly access to your credit reports from a paid provider. In general, paid access will give you many more features. Depending on the plan and company, you will receive simulated credit scores, credit report monitoring and a much more visually appealing and easy to understand user interface. You will be interacting with your credit reports (or those of your clients) on an ongoing, regular basis, so choose one that is convenient and comfortable for regular use. 

Search Google for “3-bureau credit reports”, or click here to do a search.

Why do you want to review each of your credit reports on a monthly basis? Because that is the only way you can track your results and see if the dispute letter process you are following for yourself or your clients is working.

One thing that is important to remember when doing credit repair is that credit profiles can be pulled from any of the 3 bureaus randomly when applying for credit. Because of this, if you only look at and fix two credit reports, you will still have a decent chance of running into problems do to the third one. 

This is why free services such as Credit Karma are not recommend. 

Credit Karma is not recommended for Credit Repair. 

Credit Karma is a free service which provides monthly access to two of your credit reports, but not the third. In order to be successful you need access to all 3 credit reports, and that is something that no-company is currently offering for free. If that changes in the future it will be reflected here.  

If you want to pull credit for clients as part of your business, you can’t. 

To be more specific, you shouldn’t.

While the FCRA technically permits those with proper authorization to request a credit report on behalf of their client, there is legal paperwork you must have from the client and keep on file for two years as well as additional red tape that takes much longer than just accessing the credit reports online. 

“Pulling” credit reports for your clients is very time consuming and is not something that your clients, or your business, would benefit from. 

So how are credit repair companies pulling their clients’ credit profiles? 

They advise their clients to sign-up for a 3-bureau credit monitoring service, then they have their clients provide them with the login details. 

This is a tremendous advantage for both the consumer and the credit repair agent as it provides for total results accountability for both parties. Any time the consumer wants to look at their credit report to see what effect the credit repair agent is having, they can, and the credit repair agent can review the exact same data with the consumer at any time.  

As an example, almost all of the credit repair companies in operation today do not pull credit reports for their clients, rather their clients pay for their own credit monitoring accounts and then provide the credit repair agent with the login details.

Your Clients Need To Pull Their Own Credit Reports 

In order for you to provide credit repair services your company will also need to advise your clients to sign up for 3-bureau credit monitoring on their own and then send you the login details so that you can review their accounts to prepare their dispute letters for them.

Once you have credit reports in front of you, whether for you or your client, it is usually a pretty straight forward process to determine which accounts are the best “dispute candidates”. You will want to look for the “negative accounts” section on the credit report for starters, and most credit report providers group those into a “negative accounts” section similar to the one below.

On credit reports, each line item that is listed is known as a trade-line. For instance, in the image above, two trade-lines are present. One trade-line is reported from “XYZ BANKCARD” and reports that the account was opened in 08/2001 and has a past due balance of $287. The next trade-line is being reported by “ABC LOANS” and indicates that the account was opened in 09/1997 and last reported in 09/2003. It also indicates that account was charged off and has been closed. Once you find the negative accounts that you want to dispute, copy the name of the company who is listed on the account and paste it into the “Company Name” column of the dispute tracker.  

For now, go through each of the negative accounts in each section of your credit reports and make note of the companies that are reporting the information and the addresses of those companies. Copy and paste that information into the dispute tracker or your own filing system so that you can continue to work with it during the dispute process.

In the example above, “ABC LOANS” and “XYZ BANKCARD” are examples of “data furnishers”. They are the companies who are furnishing data to the bureaus. The credit bureaus are known as data reporters. It is their job to report the information that they receive from the data furnishers. 

Other examples of data furnishers include banks, credit unions, savings and loan institutions, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers, collection agencies, retail installment lenders, auto finance lenders and courts. Any entity that reports information to the credit bureaus is a data furnisher.

What are common credit report errors that I should look for on my credit report?

According to the CFPB

“When reviewing your credit report, check that it contains only items about you. Be sure to look for information that is inaccurate or incomplete.

Some common errors in credit reports are: 

Identity errors

  • Errors made to your identity information (wrong name, phone number, address)
  • Accounts belonging to another person with the same or a similar name as yours (this mixing of two consumers’ information in a single file is called a mixed file)
  • Incorrect accounts resulting from identity theft

Incorrect reporting of account status

  • Closed accounts reported as open
  • You are reported as the owner of the account, when you are actually just an authorized user
  • Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent
  • Incorrect date of last payment, date opened, or date of first delinquency
  • Same debt listed more than once (possibly with different names)

Data management errors

  • Reinsertion of incorrect information after it was corrected
  • Accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors listed (especially in the case of delinquent accounts or accounts in collections)

Balance Errors

  • Accounts with an incorrect current balance
  • Accounts with an incorrect credit limit

If you find errors, you should contact the credit reporting company who sent you the report, and the creditor or company that provided the information (called the “furnisher” of the information). Your credit report includes directions about how to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information or you can use our sample dispute letters for furnishers  and credit reporting companies.”


Writing Initial Dispute Letters To Credit Bureaus


So now that you have taken the time to review your credit reports line by line and lookup the full names and addresses of each of the companies that is reporting information about you, it is time to begin the actual process of writing your “Round 1” dispute letters to the credit bureaus. 

Initial dispute letters to the credit bureaus are the starting point for credit repair processes. They are different than debt validation letters which are sent to collectors, and will be covered in the following modules.  

According to established law, we are required to notify the credit bureaus of our disputes before we take any further action. What this means is that we need to make disputing these items with the credit bureaus our first step, before we dispute the items with data furnishers, such as collectors or original creditors. 

Open the “Round 1 Dispute Letter Templates” folder on the left and then open one of the letters. You will find that there are three letters, one each for Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All you need to do is add your information where applicable, add your account name and numbers that you want to dispute, and drop it in the mail, although it is highly recommended to send your letter with tracking so that you can catalog the exact date the letter was received by the bureau. They have 30 days to respond from the date they receive your dispute. 

Make sure that you include a copy of your ID and a recent utility bill with your round 1 letters to the bureaus. 

Step 1: Download and open one of the letters in the “Round 1 Dispute Letter Templates” folder.

Step 2: Add your information

Insert The Following Information In the Upper Left Of The Document

Date

Your Name

Your Address

Your City, State, Zip Code

In the middle section, add your account information

Account 1 Name, Account Number, Dates

Account 2 Name, Account Number, Dates

Account 3 Name, Account Number, Dates

Account 4 Name, Account Number, Dates

Account 5 Name, Account Number, Dates

Fill in your name at the bottom and list any enclosures

Completely fill in the Dispute Tracking Tool located in the module 2 downloads folder to keep track of your disputes, or use your own personal system, but make sure to keep detailed records. 

There is almost a 100% chance that the credit bureaus will “verify” every one of the accounts that you dispute. And that’s ok.

With credit repair, we don’t really put much faith in the bureaus honoring our disputes, even when proven true. Because of this, we plan our winning move further down the road. We aren’t trying to win this dispute with our “Round 1” dispute letters. 

Why?

Because the system of credit repair that this course teaches relies on following established procedures in order to develop a paper trail which is then used to file a complaint to force compliance. 

Round 1 dispute letters are our first interaction with the credit bureaus. A shot across their bow. If they do not have or will not produce the documentation that the law requires for them to be able to report information onto a consumer’s credit report, then filing a complaint will force compliance. 


Tracking The Dispute Process


There is no need for fancy templates or a lot of pseudo-legal terminology in these initial, round 1 letters to the credit bureaus. They can be incredibly brief and simple. What is equally important is that consumers keep a very detailed, thorough, and accurate account of every single step they take by backing up their mailings and their documentation to their hard drive or cloud solution. Part of the service that a professional credit repair operator provides to their client is handling the documentation of all of the mailings. 

The easiest way to track the disputes that are sent for yourself or your client is by using the dispute tracker and filling in all of the information. 

If you prefer Google Drive or your computer’s hard drive, those can work as well. 

To create a simple system, just do the following:

  1. Use Google Drive to create a folder, or create one on your computer’s desktop
  2. Inside it, I create folders with names of the companies you are mailing correspondence to 
  3. On the day you mail a letter to that company, create a folder with the date as a name
  4. Upload each letter that you mailed complete with all attachments into the folder 
  5. After you mail the letter, upload a scanned copy of the USPS tracking number receipt into the same folder
  6. When a response is received, upload that into the same folder
  7. This will allow you to click on a company and be presented with a folder of dates, each one containing all of the files that were mailed to that company on that date, and the responses that were received as a result of those mailings

By following these simple steps, consumers will create a complete file of all communications they have had during their dispute process. 

Obviously, you can set up whatever file naming system you want, and you can save your info on your hard drive, USB drive, or anywhere else you choose. It is recommend to save them locally and also using a free service so that a backup with remote access is available as well. Dropbox and Google Drive are two excellent options.

Most consumers that are able to remove negative information from their reports are only able to do so because they have thorough documentation to back up their claims. The only thing we want the credit bureaus to do with this initial letter is to send their typical response, which they are then bound too, and generally is not sufficient as required by law. Because they will likely fail to provide the information they are required to, we will file a complaint against them with the proper entities, upload all of our documentation, and let consumer protection agencies enforce compliance.

Once we receive the response from the credit bureau, as stated above, it will likely be “verified”. 

When this happens, the law provides consumers with a strong weapon to defend themselves, and it is called the method of verification request. 

Once a credit bureau responds to a consumer’s initial dispute, which is what this first round of dispute letters is, the consumer has 15 days to file a method of verification request, which will be our next anticipated step. We will discuss this further in the next module. 

Dispute Letters:

———

(Date)

(Your Name)

(Your Address)

(Your City, State, Zip Code)

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022-2000

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.

You are incorrectly reporting information about me relating to the following accounts:

(Account 1 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 2 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 3 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 4 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 5 Name, Account Number, Dates)

Each of the accounts listed above are being reported with invalid, obsolete or outdated information to include the following:

Incorrect account names

Invalid account dates, such as dates of inception, last payment or contact

Incorrect payment terms or account balances

Incorrect account status

Please investigate each of the above accounts, to include verification and or validation as required by law, and then provide to me in writing the results of this investigation sufficient to comply with applicable consumer protection laws currently in effect.

While you are conducting this investigation, please immediately cease and desist from reporting these accounts and do not do so again until this issue is resolved.

Be advised that I am closely monitoring all communication with you and will be filing a complaint against you, taking legal action, or both if my rights continue to be violated.

Thank you very much for your cooperation in this matter it is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

(Your signature)

(Your name)

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing, such as a copy of ID and utility bill)


(Date)

(Your Name)

(Your Address)

(Your City, State, Zip Code)

Experian National Consumer Assistance Center

P.O. Box 4500

Allen, TX 75013

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.

You are incorrectly reporting information about me relating to the following accounts:

(Account 1 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 2 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 3 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 4 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 5 Name, Account Number, Dates)

Each of the accounts listed above are being reported with invalid, obsolete or outdated information to include the following:

Incorrect account names

Invalid account dates, such as dates of inception, last payment or contact

Incorrect payment terms or account balances

Incorrect account status

Please investigate each of the above accounts, to include verification and or validation as required by law, and then provide to me in writing the results of this investigation sufficient to comply with applicable consumer protection laws currently in effect.

While you are conducting this investigation, please immediately cease and desist from reporting these accounts and do not do so again until this issue is resolved.

Be advised that I am closely monitoring all communication with you and will be filing a complaint against you, taking legal action, or both if my rights continue to be violated.

Thank you very much for your cooperation in this matter it is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

(Your signature)

(Your name)

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing, such as a copy of ID and utility bill)


(Date)

(Your Name)

(Your Address)

(Your City, State, Zip Code)

Equifax Information Services LLC.

P.O. Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.

You are incorrectly reporting information about me relating to the following accounts:

(Account 1 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 2 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 3 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 4 Name, Account Number, Dates)

(Account 5 Name, Account Number, Dates)

Each of the accounts listed above are being reported with invalid, obsolete or outdated information to include the following:

Incorrect account names

Invalid account dates, such as dates of inception, last payment or contact

Incorrect payment terms or account balances

Incorrect account status

Please investigate each of the above accounts, to include verification and or validation as required by law, and then provide to me in writing the results of this investigation sufficient to comply with applicable consumer protection laws currently in effect.

While you are conducting this investigation, please immediately cease and desist from reporting these accounts and do not do so again until this issue is resolved.

Be advised that I am closely monitoring all communication with you and will be filing a complaint against you, taking legal action, or both if my rights continue to be violated.

Thank you very much for your cooperation in this matter it is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

(Your signature)

(Your name)

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing, such as a copy of ID and utility bill)


Module 3 References


1. “The only source for your free credit reports. Authorized by Federal Law.”; https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action 

2. “Google Search: 3-bureau credit reports”; https://www.google.com/search?q=3+bureau+credit+reports 

3. “What are common credit report errors that I should look for on my credit report?”; https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-are-common-credit-report-errors-that-i-should-look-for-on-my-credit-report-en-313/ 

3. “Online personal credit report sample”; https://www.experian.com/credit_report_basics/pdf/samplecreditreport.pdf 

4. “How Do I Obtain Credit Reports for Potential Customers?”; https://bizfluent.com/how-6585820-do-credit-reports-potential-customers-.html