You may have heard of a 609 letter that challenges the credit reporting bureaus to prove that a debt is yours. People think that bad credit can be removed quickly and easily using this tactic. We will show you how to determine if this is right for you and provide you with a sample letter to guide you in your request.
Even if a debt is legitimate, you may be able to use a 609 Dispute Letter to have the debt removed from your credit report. Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) allows you to request your credit reports and all associated information as well as the source of the information that is in your file at the time of the request. This may provide you an opportunity to challenge a debt by requesting originally signed documents proving the debt is yours.
We will dig into Section 609 of the FCRA and show you the pros and cons of using the letter and how to write it.
What Is A 609 Dispute Letter?
A 609 Letter, is a letter that is used to request information from the three credit reporting bureaus. Under the law, they must send you any information in your file about your credit report and any information they have on the account or debt.
If you request everything in the file, and the credit reporting bureau can not provide anything that proves the debt is yours, that will prove that they can not verify the debt. Once it has been determined that the bureaus can not verify the debt, under the law, it must be removed from your credit report. As a result, your credit score may improve.
If the credit reporting bureaus can not show they have verification of the debt they must remove the information.
More About Section 609
Section 609 of FCRA actually has nothing to do with disputing anything on your credit report. It is only allowing the consumer to request verifiable documentation from the three credit reporting bureaus concerning the validity of the debt.
If the lender or creditor is not able to provide proof that the debt, or that the account is legitimate, then you can request the removal of the information. This act of disputing information is actually covered under Section 611. Section 611 gives you the right to dispute this information.
FCRA Sec 611: In general. If the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in a consumer’s file at a consumer reporting agency is disputed by the consumer and the consumer notifies the agency directly of such dispute, the agency shall reinvestigate free of charge and record the current status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file in accordance with paragraph (5), before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the agency receives the notice of the dispute from the consumer.
When a dispute is filed the credit bureau must note the dispute unless the dispute is deemed frivolous. They also must allow the consumer to make a statement and place the statement on the credit report or delete the item from the file.
Does The 609 Letter Actually Work?
Yes, it does. In theory.
The 609 Letter basically operates under the theory that if you ask the three major credit bureaus for the information that they can not readily produce, then it has to be deemed unverifiable. They will not be able to send you any signed or original documents proving that the debt is yours.
The FCRA allows the consumer to request all of the information that the three reporting agencies have in their files for you. However, the credit reporting agency has the right to reinvestigate.
FCRA Sec 611 B: Extension of period to reinvestigate. Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the 30-day period described in subparagraph (A) may be extended for not more than 15 additional days if the consumer reporting agency receives information from the consumer during that 30-day period that is relevant to the reinvestigation.
That re-investigation may be where your plan will fall apart. Once the bureau re-investigates the debt you can be assured they will most likely re-investigate and get the documentation they need from the original creditor.
Should I Buy A 609 Letter Template
Absolutely not! Save your money!
We will give you all the information you need to write your letter as well as what you will need to send with your letter.
What you will need for a 609 letter.
You will want to start gathering your personal documents that you need to verify your identity. You will need copies of the following documents to verify your identity for each reporting bureau:
- A photo ID – Passport, State ID Card or Driver’s License.
- Social Security Card with matching name of ID or documentation of name change like a marriage/divorce certificate.
- A utility bill, rental agreement or mortgage statement verifying your address.
- A credit report with the account(s) you are questioning highlighted.
If the account you are requesting information about is at all three reporting bureaus then you will need 3 packets of the above information to send out. Once you have your packets prepared you will send the information to all three bureaus certified mail. You want to be able to verify exactly when they received it and who signed for it.
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Writing the 609 Dispute Letter
You will want to make this a formal letter but there are no special tricks or tips that you need when writing a 609 letter. Just follow the format below and adjust it for any personal concerns.
- Your Name
- Your Address
- Phone Number
- In RE: Account Number
I am writing to you in regards to account number #123456 with USA Creditors. I am exercising my right under Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and requesting any information you have concerning this account, including but not limited to original loan documents, and/or a contract that includes my signature.
Included you will find verification of my identity, birthdate, social security number and the account information as it is being reported on my credit report.
If there are no supporting documents concerning this debt I will expect that the information will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, please send the documentation you have to (your address).
If you have any questions please feel free to call me.
Double Check Everything
- Account number
- Creditor name
- Names on account
- Your personal information
How Long Does A 609 Letter Take to Work?
If they have no supporting documentation and can not verify the debt they should remove it within a few weeks and no more than 30 days. The credit reporting bureaus can extend that time frame by 15 days if necessary if they believe the debt can be verified.
What If My Claim Is Deemed Frivelous
I bring this up because it has actually happened to my husband 20 years ago. I noticed the term “frivolous” was used in the FCRA when writing this article.
He had a mortgage that was being reported on his credit that was not his. I mailed off my letter only to receive a form letter back stating that the debt was verified. We knew there was no way it was his.
I wrote another letter demanding the account be removed. We then received a letter back saying the request was frivolous and they were closing the request.
At this point all I could do was hire an attorney.
I decided it would be faster to contact the lender who was reporting it. With my husband there, I gave the person at the bank all of his information. She searched for his information in their system. When it did not come up, she agreed to send me a letter stating that the account was not his AND changed the information in the system so it was no longer reporting under his social. I wanted the letter in case it came up again and I had to send it to the credit bureau.
In this day and age all of this would be difficult to do. You can no longer get a live person easily without having an account number or active account.
If you do have this situation your next step will be to hire a credit repair company that specializes in this type of dispute.
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