What Is a 609 Dispute Letter?

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If there is a negative item on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate, you can dispute it. A 609 dispute letter is an option that may help correct your credit report and improve your credit score. If you send a 609 dispute letter to a credit bureau, you can use it to highlight areas of your report that you believe are incorrect. Then, the bureau will have to investigate your dispute. Luckily, there are free 609 dispute letter templates you can use, as well as other credit-boosting efforts.

What is a 609 dispute letter?

A 609 dispute letter is often recommended as a credit repair secret or a legal loophole. Its goal is to make credit reporting agencies remove select pieces of negative information from your credit reports. This letter is called a 609 dispute letter because it refers to Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act covers a consumer’s right to receive copies of their own credit reports, as well as any associated information found on a credit report.

Despite the name of these letters, Section 609 doesn’t actually reference your right to dispute information found on your credit report. Nowhere in the FCRA are 609 dispute letters mentioned. It’s actually Section 611 that has information regarding your right to dispute information on your credit report that you believe is incorrect or unverifiable. If the disputed information can’t be confirmed or verified, it has to be removed.

Typically, a 609 dispute letter is sent to the three main credit reporting agencies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This is done when you believe there is an inaccuracy on their credit report. A dispute letter forces the credit reporting agency to investigate alleged errors and make corrections as necessary. The 609 dispute letter is a popular option because you can request that the credit bureaus provide information they can’t access. This might be something like a cashed check used to pay a bill or an original copy of a signed credit application. When they inevitably can’t provide this information, the credit bureaus will have to remove the disputed item, as it is unverifiable.

Pros of a 609 dispute letter

There are some positive potential outcomes of sending a 609 dispute letter. If the dispute is successful, you may be able to improve your credit score and history.

  • You can dispute negative items on your credit report.
  • The credit reporting agency has to investigate your dispute.
  • If there is no evidence found to support the negative item, the credit bureau has to remove it from your report.

Cons of a 609 dispute letter

Just because you file a 609 dispute letter doesn’t mean it will be successful.

  • A credit bureau’s investigation may discover the negative item is in fact valid.
  • Negative items verified on your report will remain on your report.
  • It can take a few weeks for an investigation to complete. If you’re in a rush to apply for a loan or line of credit, this process may slow you down.

How do you write a dispute letter?

When it comes time to write and send a dispute letter, your letter should be addressed to the complaints department at the credit bureau you’re sending your letter to.

In your letter, outline the issues you have with your report and identify any included documentation. You should include copies (never originals) of any documents that support your claim that the information on your report is inaccurate. Enclosing a copy of your credit report with the areas you are disputing highlighted can help.

Where do you send a 609 dispute letter?

All three of the major credit bureaus now accept filing of disputes online, if you want to file your letter digitally. But if you prefer snail mail, you can dispute items on your credit reports to the three main credit bureaus at the following addresses.

Experian:

  • Experian
  • P.O. Box 4500
  • Allen, TX 75013
  • Or online

TransUnion:

  • TransUnion Consumer Solutions
  • P.O. Box 2000
  • Chester, PA 19016-2000
  • Or online

Equifax:

  • Equifax Information Services LLC
  • P.O. Box 740256
  • Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
  • Or online

Where to find free 609 dispute letter templates

While some websites will sell you an expensive 609 dispute letter template, there is no hard evidence that these templates are more effective than ones you create on your own. No matter how you format your letter, the information in the dispute must be either verified as correct, altered or removed. If the information you are disputing is actually correct, there is no letter template that can convince credit bureaus to remove the information.

The process of disputing potential errors on your credit report is free, so there is no need to pay for a 609 dispute letter template. So, do a quick internet search for free 609 dispute letter templates and get to writing.

To start the dispute process, you should first request copies of your credit reports and then check them for any errors. You can request these reports for free. If you believe some information on your report is incorrect, or can no longer be verified by the source of the information, then you can file a formal dispute. Each credit bureau has different processes in place to dispute. For example, Experian allows you to dispute an item on your Experian credit report by mail, online or over the phone.

The process of disputing can’t take more than 45 days, with most investigations completed within a few weeks. A credit reporting agency must provide you with written results within five business days of completing the investigation process.

Alternatives to a 609 dispute letter

There are other options besides a 609 dispute letter to improve your credit score. One of the best ways to repair a low credit score is to practice good financial habits on an ongoing basis, such as paying bills on time, paying off debt and paying credit card bills in full each month.

Jacqueline DeMarco is a writer and editor based in Southern California. She has written on everything from finance to travel for publications including The Everygirl, Apartment Therapy, and LearnVest, among others. She shares all of her work on her personal website jacquelinedemarco.com

The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.