Section 604 Dispute Letters and Your Credit
A “604 dispute letter” is a nonexistent credit repair letter that is sometimes mistakenly used instead of the correct term: “609 dispute letter.” While there is a section 604 in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), this section outlines the limitations on when an external entity can pull your credit report, and does not cover any subject matter that could help you improve your credit, through a dispute or otherwise.
Meanwhile, section 609 of the FCRA establishes a consumer’s right to receive their credit information from reporting credit bureaus. Under the parameters of this section, you are armed with the ability to dispute the accuracy or legitimacy of the information on your credit report. Essentially, if the information that you are legally entitled to review is proven to be inaccurate or unsubstantiated, it can be contested and removed.
These two sections of the FCRA (604 and 609) may sometimes be mistakenly conflated due to the similarity of the section numbers, as well as the loose connection to the discussion of consumer rights.
How Does a Dispute Letter Work?
A dispute letter identifies inaccuracies on your credit report. You can send a letter to the reporting credit bureau in order to (ideally) have the inaccurate or unsubstantiated information removed from your credit report. If this gambit is successful, it can improve your credit score.
There is no one way to write a dispute letter. Many templates are available behind a pay-wall online, but it is unnecessary to go to such lengths. All you need to do is ensure that your letter covers all of the necessary information, and ensure that it is sent to the credit bureau.
Alternatively, the credit bureau may offer a ready-made form for mail-in disputes, or even an email address where you can send information on the dispute.
Dispute Letter Template
You should begin this process by reviewing your credit report and identifying any inaccurate information so that you can easily reference it in the course of writing your letter.
Include a copy of the credit report, with the disputed items highlighted, along with the letter. The following template covers all of the information that should be included in your dispute letter, as well as some suggestions for formatting and wording.
[Your state, city, and ZIP code.]
[Credit Bureau Name.]
[City, State, Zip Code.]
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file, which you will also find highlighted in the attached documents provided by your company:
Item 1: [Name of Source (e.g. creditor, tax court), Type of Item (e.g. credit account, judgment), Account Number or Identifier.]
This item is inaccurate because [explain why the item is inaccurate]. I am requesting that this item be removed [or request a specific change] in order to accurately reflect my credit history.
Item 2: [Format the same as Item 1.]
[Continue to list relevant items as formatted in the previous two lines.]
Please investigate this matter and make any pertinent corrections as soon as possible.
How Effective Are Dispute Letters?
A 609 dispute letter isn’t necessarily any more effective than any other avenue of dispute. However, it is a relatively simple method that allows you to deal with the credit bureau directly on the issue. In some cases, the credit bureau will fail to respond promptly, and in such a case, you should send follow-up letters.
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