Tip #5 (of 5) for writing dispute letters

Quick Tip #5 Include documentation.

One of the most effective things you can do is to include some type of enclosure with your dispute letter.

It can be a snippet, a screenshot, or a scanned/print out, or even a photocopy made from the library’s photocopy machine.

Including documentation to back up your dispute is powerfully persuasive and will help you get results with your first request.

For example:

  • If your name or address is incorrect, include a copy of your photo ID or rent agreement or a billing statement to document your personal identifier.
  • If you are disputing a late payment, include a copy of the cancelled check or a copy the bank statement showing the withdrawal to prove that you did make the payment on time.
  • If you don’t recognize an account as being yours, then include a snippet or screenshot of that account (as it shows on the credit report). Write: “I don’t recognize this account as belonging to me. DELETE”
    (I am aware this does not constitute hard proof of anything, but the credit pros are having more success by including a copy of the account rather than just typing the name and number in the letter.)

Always keep your original document!!! Send only copies.

Remember, anything that is not factual, correct, verifiable and verified, and fair must be deleted. Always follow the law and be truthful in your letters.

Next post, I will tell you how I saw a $10 junk fee on my bill, disputed it, and ended up getting a refund check for $209.70. You are welcome to subscribe. I post about once a week, twice at the most.

Tip #4 (of 5) for writing dispute letters

Quick Tip #4: Use a proper salutation (A salutation is a greeting. It comes from the word salute.)

The worst ever salutation is “Dear Sir or Madam.” What could be more offensive than someone saying to you, “I have no idea who you are or what kind of person you are but either way, I am too lazy or don’t care enough to find out”?

Dear Sir or Madam is just not cool anymore. Not in this century.

If you are writing to a particular creditor, then find out the person’s name who is handling your account, and address them by their name. You could write: Dear Mrs. Warren, Dear Ms. Warren, or Dear Carolyn Warren: If using both the first and last name, that is formal, so you should follow it with a colon : rather than a comma. This is useful if you have the person’s name but do not know their gender. You can write, “Dear Casey Johnson:” for example. Never write “Dear Mr. or Ms. Johnson” because that is inappropriate and offensive.

If you are writing to the credit bureau and have no way of know which representative will open your letter, then still do not write “Sir or Madam.” Never write “I don’t know your sex” as a greeting. Instead,, use their title. “Dear Experian Representative:” is proper. Because you don’t have a name, use the colon ; rather than a comma at the end.

The greeting is the first impression. Don’t blow it by starting off with something that offends the reader.

If you have a good idea to add, please let me know. You can click on Comment and I will see it soon.

Tip #3 (of 5) for writing dispute letters

Quick Tip #3: Skip the legalese.

Are you an attorney? No? Then don’t use legal jargon.

Do you write to your grandma using expressions like “pursuant to,” “furnisher of the disputed accounts,” or “aforementioned item to be deleted”? Of course not. No regular person would.

Do NOT write a paragraph like this one below:

 “according to Section 609 of the FCRA, to request a proper investigation into these inaccuracies. In particular, I am referencing Section 609 (c) (B) (iii), which lists “the right of a consumer to dispute information in the file of the consumer” under the “model summary of the rights of consumers.”

Why? Because you are not an attorney and you don’t talk that way. It is OBVIOUSLY a form you got somewhere. Or else you hired someone to write a letter for you and they used legalese.

Either way, the letter containing legalese is not a genuine, sincere letter written by you, the everyday person who has an error on their credit report.

More and more, as credit repair becomes popular, the legalese form letters are being rejected by the credit bureaus. The scales are tipping in favor of DIY credit repair and with Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, you have the steps to do it yourself. The book also includes letters and instructions for writing successful letters.

Remember, anything that is not factual, correct, verifiable and verified, and fair must be deleted. Always follow the law and be truthful in your letters.

Tip #2 (of 5) for writing dispute letters

For Tip #1 scroll down to the previous post.

Quick Tip #2: For the account you wish to dispute, check the spelling of your name and address before sending the dispute letter.

Many people have a typo, misspelling, or nickname on their account. Or, it could be missing your surname, Sr., Jr. III. Look at the actual account by viewing a recent statement to see if your name is incorrect. If so, call (or write) and get your name fixed first. That way, you do not have an incorrect name tying an account to you.

Additionally, check your credit report and send in a letter to have your name corrected with Experian, TransUnion, and/or Equifax first. You do not want an incorrect name in your personal identifier.

An incorrect name opens you up to possible merged credit with a different individual. (Not an uncommon error on the part of the credit bureaus.)

The same goes for your address. I cannot go into very much detail here on this sensitive topic, so for more information see Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, including a letter template you can use.

You can use one letter to correct both name and address. Include two pieces of identification to authenticate your letter, such as a driver’s license, state issued ID, rent or mortgage statement, another billing statement, such as an electric bill.

Remember, anything that is not factual, correct, verifiable and verified, and fair must be deleted. Always follow the law and be truthful in your letters.

Paperback and Kindle

Tip #1 (of 5) for writing dispute letters

I am beginning a short series of quick tips for writing dispute letters to the credit bureaus. To receive all five tips, please subscribe.

Quick Tip #1: When disputing an account that you are demanding to be deleted, include only ONE reason in your letter.

Do not write two reasons why the account should be deleted, such as “this is not my account” and “the balance showing is false.” If it’s not your account, then why are you bringing up the balance?

If it is not your account it must be deleted from your report. End of story.

By adding another reason, you convolute the situation and reduce your chances of success.

If you include both of your reasons for deletion and the credit bureau does not delete per your request, now you don’t have a new reason for writing in again.

The letters in Repair Your Credit Like the Pros state only one reason per letter, and that is very purposeful.

Remember, anything that is not factual, correct, verifiable and verified, and fair must be deleted. Always follow the law and be truthful in your letters.

Paperback and Kindle

Credit Repair Success Story

If you are doing credit repair, I hope you’re having success like book reader Ron H who gave me permission to share his fantastic successes with you:

Ron H wrote:

Hi Carolyn-

I just wanted to say thanks for such a brilliant credit repair “system”. This stuff really does work, if followed as laid out in the book

I’ve negotiated 50% settlements and requested the “paid as agreed letter” on multiple accounts.

On one of my balances owed, the collection agent wouldn’t budge during negotiations. I hung up, waited 5 minutes, called back, got a new rep and negotiated the amount that I wanted. I knew I just needed to get the “right” rep on the phone.

I also mailed address removal and inquiry removal letters. I did all of that before the negotiations. 

This is truly amazing stuff!

Congratulations, Ron H! Getting inaccurate or unverified information removed from your credit report is 100% legal in all 50 states and according to federal law.

Available on Amazon.

CreditBuilder Lawsuit: Refunds Coming!

Dun & Bradstreet has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for their CreditBuilder program. If you purchased this program, you may be due a refund, per the settlement agreement.

If you buy or sell credit repair software, beware! This lawsuit by the FTC will have far-reaching effects. The best thing you can do is to learn from the (expensive) mistakes of others.

Those who purchased CreditBuilder were led to believe the annual subscription was $499. What was unclear is that they could end up being charged $1,599 per year for an additional product, without adequate notice of the change.

In addition, the FTC said they were in violation of the FTC Act for failure to provide a reasonable means for customers to dispute misinformation on their Dun & Bradstreet credit reports.

The proposed settlement requires D&B to refund all the businesses that purchased CreditBuilder between April 2015 and May 2020, as well as give many current customers the opportunity to cancel their subscriptions and get refunds.

If this pertains to you, keep an eye out for the proposed order to be published in the Federal Register.

If you are purchasing any type of credit improvement software, read all the fine print and ask questions. If you are developing and/or selling credit improvement software, take care to be 100 percent transparent with your customers. The FTC does not take kindly to customers being taken advantage of.

Source to read more here

Interest Rates Going Up in 2022

The Federal Reserve Board has announced that they intend to increase short term interest rates four times in 2022 Why is this important to know?

Short term rates affect how much your credit card companies charge in interest. If you are carrying balances on your credit cards, then this warning and a notice to take action now.

The last thing you want is for your money to be going to interest, especially when that is 12%, 18%, even 23.99%. You are not getting a good deal on anything when you pay that kind of interest rate.

Now is the time to pay off credit card balances.f

Here is The Plan:

  1. Pay off credit cards asap. Pay extra above the minimum payment required. Get that balance down to $0 before the interest rate goes higher — making it even more difficult to pay off.
  2. When the card is paid off, KEEP IT OPEN. Don’t close the card.
  3. Use your credit card at least once every four to six months so that the creditor doesn’t close it for “non-activity.” You want it open for your credit score.
  4. Only charge the amount that you can afford to pay in full when the bill comes. If you are carrying a balance, examine to see if you have over-spent for your budget. Or it might mean you had an essential large purchase, such as your water heater went out; and that is okay. Just pay it off as rapidly as you’re able.

Do what you can to get aggressive about getting out of debt. Limit new spending to essentials only. Pick up extra hours at work, if possible. If you are seriously in debt, see if you can pick up a side hustle for extra money, so that you can eliminate your debt as quickly as possible.

Once you have done all you can, let yourself feel peace and satisfaction. Not all goals are obtained easily or quickly. If you are on the path to better finances, good for you! Stay the course and you will get there.

If your debt is twice your annual income and it will take you more than 10 years to dig out, and you do not anticipate a significant increase in pay, then consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney to see whether or not filing Chapter 7 would be your best strategy. Every state has its own laws regarding bankruptcy, so only a local attorney can give you specific answers for your own situation.

The sacrifice you make now to get out of debt will be worth the effort. We are not being blindsided: higher rates are on the way. This will help inflation, which will, in turn, help us at the grocery store — and that is a good thing.

Higher Fees Coming April 1 for Second Homes!

If you are thinking of buying a second home, a vacation home, then you will save yourself a lot money if you make your purchase before April 1, 2022.

The increased fee for a second home will range from 1.125% to 3.875% of the purchase price — depending on how much you put down. Wowzers!

If your second home is $300,000 and you put the minimum down, you will pay an additional $11,625!
(3.875% of $300,000)

Best case with 25 percent down, is an increase of $3,375.

In lieu of paying the extra cash up front, you can choose to take a higher interest rate. Or split the difference with some additional upfront and a higher rate. Your mortgage broker can give you specific options as rates change daily.

This is a clear and loud message that the Federal Housing Finance Agency wants to slow down the purchasing of second homes while there are still so many people who have not yet purchased their first home. At least, that is my take on it.

Realtors, if you have clients on the fence about buying a second home, now is the time to light a fire for them to take action now.

You can read more detail about this change coming here.

Credit Repair Statistics

Yes, credit repair works. Whether you choose to hire a professional service or choose to repair your own credit, good results can happen.

Wrapping up the year, here are some stats from a national credit repair company, in business for 16 years:

  • Average starting credit score is 580.
  • The deletion rate in the first month averaged 7 deletions.
  • After 8 months, the average client had 21 deletions, averaging 4 deletions per month. (As time went on, there were fewer negative items to get deleted.)
  • After 8 months, the average score had risen to 641, but if you removed the clients who had accrued new negative activity, then the scores for those people were significantly higher.

Results from DIY credit repair following the strategies in the book, Repair Your Credit Like the Pros (shared here with each book reader’s permission):

  • From book reader Adam: “My Experian score has officially increased 100 points as of today. Started out at 510 and now I’m at 610. It’s been less than a month since I sent out my first letter. I wish I’d gotten your book a lot sooner.”
  • From book reader Ashley: “This <negative account> is no longer on my credit report after your advice. I’m now in the 800s because of this!”
  • From Kallsey: “My score has gone up 200 points in the last few years.”
  • From Adam: “I was at 511 last month when I started reading your book. I am at 602 as of today.”

I will share more specific success stories, including how book readers were able to negotiate awesome settlements on collections and charge-offs at another time.

As we approach a New Year, be encouraged. Credit repair does indeed work!

Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle here.