There is a lot of confusion surrounding the Section 609 Letter. Some people claim that it’s a secret loophole that can remove negative entries from your credit report and make your credit problems disappear.
Most of these people are trying to sell you something.
A 609 dispute letter is not a magic trick that makes debt vanish. But what is it? What can it do, and how can you use it?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is a 609 Letter?
The name “609 Letter” comes from Section 609 (A) (1) (a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This section gives consumers the right to request certain information found on their credit report from credit agencies.
Essentially, a 609 letter is a debt validation letter, because if you are asking for information specifically under FCRA 609 (A) (1) (a), then you can only really ask the credit bureau to verify a record.
Your rights to DISPUTE that information actually come from the Federal Credit Reporting Act Sections 611 and 623, but for some unknown reason, most people only know about 609, so many people refer to dispute letters as “609 letters”.
Does Section 609 Really Work?
Credit reporting agencies upon receiving a Section 609 FCRA verifiable proof request letter, must provide you with the following:
- Most of the information in your consumer credit file.
- The source of your credit file information.
That’s what section 609 says you can get. Of course, you can also dispute inaccurate information.
What Can You Dispute?
If you believe that an entry on your credit report is wrong, you can dispute that entry. The credit bureau is required to investigate your claim. If the entry is confirmed to be an error they have to remove it for free.
💡 A study by Consumer Reports found that 34% of credit reports had at least one error.
You will generally need documents or records that support your request.
The credit bureau will also ask your creditor to investigate the complaint. If the creditor finds a mistake they will have to report it to all three credit bureaus and have them remove it.
You cannot force the removal of accurate information with a dispute letter. The credit bureau is not required to give you information that they don’t have. They are not required to provide an original signed contract or any similar evidence.
👉 That’s it. There are no magic 11 words that need to be included within the Section 609 credit dispute letter to make this happen, other than the relevant information the credit agency needs to look up your account and identify the report in question. Once the credit agencies receive a dispute letter from you, they will attempt to verify the disputed record, and if they cannot, they will delete it.
So, do dispute letters really work?
They definitely can!
Get Your FREE Section 609 Credit Dispute Letter Template
“I used your template and I went up 44 points. Thank you!” – Rochelle Cooper
Some Businesses Associated With The 609 Letter Strategy
There are several commercial enterprises that are associated with the term “609 letter”.
The book Credit Secrets is known in the credit repair world for its thorough explanation and examples of credit dispute letters. If you do any research on the internet for Section 609 Credit Report Dispute Letters, you will probably come across this book.
It’s a nice book of information with a lot of different sample 609 letters and credit repair strategies… But, they lead you to believe that you have to use their specifically worded dispute letters when, in reality, you do not. The book has a lot to offer, and you can read more about it in our Credit Secrets Review.
Smart Money Secrets
Here’s a bit of confusing credit repair lore… What is the difference between the Credit Secrets and Smart Money Secrets books? Eleven words! Supposedly, Scott and Allison Hilton wrote Credit Secrets, and then they met a credit repair insider named Jay.
Jay explained to them that he had discovered 11 words that needed to be included in your credit dispute letters that would make the creditors and credit agencies cower at reading your letter. The book is pretty much identical to Credit Secrets book, plus the 11 allegedly magic words.
Again, both books are a useful resource once you get past the hype, but we also have provided you with a free sample template section 609 credit dispute letter pdf here.
👉 A template can make things easier, but there is no magic formula. The credit bureau will investigate the same way no matter how your dispute is phrased.
609 Credit Repair
You have to respect good marketing, and 609 Credit Repair smartly added a 609 in front of their chosen industry and made it their name. Anyone looking for a Section 609 Credit Repair Letter is going to find 609 Credit Repair services. Their website tries to play off of their name but don’t be confused. This is a credit repair company.
The problem is as we look at 609 Credit Repair reviews, we see a lot of negative comments and reviews from past customers. This is fairly typical in the credit repair industry, but some of the claims against this company are alarming. Be sure to check around before deciding on a credit repair company, we recommend reading our best credit repair companies review to help in your decision.
You’ll find many people online who will sell you a credit dispute letter, but there’s no reason to spend money. You can do it yourself.
Steps To Submitting A Dispute Letter
This is how you dispute a credit report entry.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report for free by going to Annualcreditreport.com. Find the error you are going to dispute in your credit report and highlight or circle it.
- Make a copy of your driver’s license and a utility bill or some other document with your address on it to be included in your dispute as a secondary form of ID.
- Collect any supporting documentation to dispute your credit report, such as banking statements, or letters from a creditor. Write a credit report dispute letter to the credit reporting agency.
- Our free DIY credit repair letters include samples in PDF format. Be sure to visit our: Free Section 609 Credit Dispute Letters: Samples, Templates and PDFs Page.
- Send the letter with your credit report, identification, and supporting documents to the credit bureau via certified mail with return receipt requested and keep all documentation. The credit agency will usually respond in 30 days unless you provide additional information during the 30-day process, in which case they may take 45 days to respond.
- They will either respond that the furnisher was able to verify the disputed records or that they have deleted the disputed records. If they do not delete the records, they will include instructions on how to go about disputing their findings.
That’s the process. If you hire a credit repair company, they will do exactly the same thing. Again, there are no magic tricks.
It is possible to file a dispute by phone or online. The National Consumer Law Center recommends using certified mail, and we agree. Certified mail gives you clear evidence that you sent your dispute on a specific day.
What Actually Happens
Credit bureaus receive thousands of disputes every day. Yours will be one of them.
Each letter is scanned by an automated system called e-OSCAR (Online System for Complete and Accurate Reporting). The system generates a code for the type of dispute and sends it to whoever furnished the information. This is usually the creditor or the collection agency that holds the debt.
If the creditor verifies the information, the entry will remain on your credit report. If the creditor fails to verify within the allotted time, the account will be removed.
That’s why a long and complicated letter won’t help you. It could even hurt you: if your letter is too complex the system might fail to read it correctly and generate the wrong code.
E-Oscar doesn’t care if you cite legal precedents or threaten to complain to the CFPB or demand a signed contract establishing your debt. All it will do is generate a dispute code and forward the dispute to the information provider.
Where To File A Complaint Against A Credit Reporting Agency
Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, the credit agency will not remove an entry from your credit record. The investigation process may be automated and may just check the same computer record that contained the original error.
The CFPB or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been charged with overseeing the credit reporting agencies since 2012. CFPB’s complaint page can be found online with multiple resources to possibly help you resolve your issue before filing a complaint as a last recourse.
👉 Remember that a credit bureau has no obligation to remove a legitimate entry form your credit report. If you actually owe the debt and it has been accurately reported there is no way to force a credit bureau to remove it.
The CFPB has an extensive database full of consumer resources that include insight into credit cards, auto loans, and home mortgages, to name a few. They also have a great Know Your Rights brochure that you should be sure and check out.
Editorial Note: 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.