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What Is a 609 Dispute Letter?

 609 Dispute Letter
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updated: June 7, 2024

A 609 dispute letter is a way to request that credit bureaus, such as Experian, remove erroneous information from your credit report.

The letter stems from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was enacted in 1970 and updated in 2023. The FCRA was designed to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer-reporting agencies.

What is Section 609?

Section 609 of the FCRA spells out your right to access all information that credit reporting agencies, such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, collect. While Section 609 doesn’t explicitly explain your right to dispute incorrect information, it does detail your right to access a copy of all the information relating to your credit file.

Section 609 states that credit agencies must release the following:

  • All information (open and closed accounts, inquiries, derogatory marks, collections) contained in your credit file when you request it.
  • The source of the information.
  • The identity of each person who has access to your credit report.

The FCRA spells out consumers’ rights to dispute incorrect information in their credit reports. However, the information about a dispute notification is in Section 611 of the FCRA, versus Section 609.

Sometimes potential employers may request your financial information from a credit bureau. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), while employers can request the information, they cannot discriminate against potential hires due to their financial situation.

Where can I view my credit report?

You can obtain a free credit report from Experian every 30 days. You also get a free copy every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com, a site jointly operated by the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies.

If you’re having trouble understanding your credit score or report, review the free information provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). There is also myFICO.com, a paid service which monitors your credit scores, helps explain how the credit bureaus work, and how to deal with identity theft.

What a 609 letter can and cannot do

Can do

By sending a 609 dispute letter to a credit bureau, and perhaps to a relevant vendor, you can set the record straight about inaccurate information in your credit report. The idea is that the credit bureau will investigate and correct any erroneous information included in your report.

Cannot do

A 609 letter won’t help if your credit report correctly shows that you are late on a payment. In that case, the delinquency will remain on your report.

Do 609 letters really work?

Yes, a 609 dispute letter can help if you have a legitimate complaint. However, you must provide the details and documentation to prove your point.

How to use a 609 dispute letter as a credit repair loophole

The purpose of a 609 dispute letter is to correct erroneous information on your credit report. It is not a loophole you can use to remove factual information, such as a late payment, that has impacted your credit history negatively.

How to write a 609 letter

A 609 dispute letter must spell out the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your dispute. Make sure to clearly state the facts and back them up with any documentation, such as receipts, emails, texts, letters, and relevant credit reports, before you begin.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, your letter should include:

  • Your complete name and address.
  • Each mistake that you want fixed, and why.
  • Copies, not originals, of the documents that support your request.
  • A copy of the relevant credit report with the mistakes to be fixed circled with a pen or pencil.

The FTC provides a sample letter on its website to help you craft yours.

Also, it’s very important to send your letter by certified U.S. mail and pay for the “return receipt” service. This ensures you have a record that the letter was sent and that the parties have received it.

How to correctly dispute errors on your credit report

The FTC recommends that you contact the credit bureau and the business that reported the incorrect information, and tell them in writing that you want to dispute it. Save copies of all your documentation and correspondence with both the credit bureau and the business in question.

TIME Stamp: a 609 dispute letter can help correct credit report errors

If you are concerned about an error in your credit report, the 609 dispute letter is a way to deal with it. Be sure to gather your facts, including your relevant credit reports, and lay out your case in the letter. Include back-up documents and send the letter by certified mail to the credit agency and any business involved.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of a 609 letter?

The purpose of a 609 letter is to dispute incorrect, often harmful, information on your credit report. It asks that a credit bureau remove erroneous information from your credit report.

What must a 609 letter include?

A 609 dispute letter must include your complete name and address, copies of the relevant credit reports, the charges you are disputing, and letters, emails, financial statements, or texts substantiating your claims.

Once you’ve composed your letter and gathered the relevant documents, send them all to the credit bureau and relevant merchants by certified U.S. mail with a return receipt requested. That way, you have proof that you sent the letter, and, eventually, through the returned receipt, that all parties have received it.

Does a 609 letter work for charge-offs?

If an erroneous charge-off appears on your credit report, you can dispute it using a 609 letter. Aggrieved consumers can request that a credit bureau remove false or unsubstantiated charge-offs from their credit reports.

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