One of my favorite things about blogging has become engaging with my readers. I love the comments and emails I get, and do my best to respond to them timely. I’m not always successful but I am trying, as I realize my success as a blogger is due greatly to you wonderful readers.
Today’s post is just a little update about the 609 Credit Verification Method. I’ve gotten several emails from people with loads of questions. It’s become clear to me that my posts need some clarification. I am working on sitting down and cleaning those posts up, making the information easier to read and understand. In the meantime, let me address the main question or line of questioning I’ve been getting from my readers.
Just about every single question on those posts pertains to specific credit scenarios and if the credit verification letters will work for them. I’d like to take this moment to reiterate that when you write the 609 credit verification letters, it doesn’t matter who incurred the debt on your record or how it was incurred. It doesn’t matter how much debt was incurred. All that matters is that information that is on your credit report is being reported unlawfully unless the credit agency has in their file a hard copy of the contract between you and the credit with your signature. They likely do not have that because these companies are just uploading the information in batches and sending it over electronically to the credit agencies. It’s must faster and cheaper than faxing over the actual contract.
What you are doing is taking advantage of that fact and calling their bluff. You’re not disputing that you owe the money; you’re disputing their right to report it without providing proof that you owe it. The letters are demanding that they send you a copy of the signed contract with your name. The law provides that you are entitled to that. If they can’t produce it, they are legally obligated to delete the item from your record.
I have an update for you regarding my own personal experiment with the verification letters. All three agencies deleted negative items from my records, but I did still have a lien in the “Public Records” section of my reports. It was a huge tax lien that I’ve been negotiating with the IRS after years of trying to fight it. In a nutshell, I did contract work for a large company and paid a third party a huge finder’s fee. The third party didn’t want to pay taxes on the finder’s fee I paid them and manipulated things to make it look like they didn’t get the money. I was naïve at the time and didn’t know much about taxes, and didn’t take the proper steps to document the transaction. Lesson learned. But the outcome was that I ended up fighting a losing battle with the IRS. I decided to give up and am currently in negotiations to settle the lien. In the meantime, it was reported as public record on my credit and looks just as bad as a bankruptcy to prospective lenders.
Well, just for kicks, I included the lien on my 609 credit verification letters, never expecting that it would be removed. To my amazement, I got letters from the credit agencies stating that they did remove the lien! It impacted my score but not by much. But it feels so good to have that removed. I know I still owe it and like I said, I’m currently working on it, but the feeling of freedom from seeing that deleted is incredible.
If you are working on improving your credit score, in addition to making better choices and being more organized, please give these letters a try. I can’t guarantee you that you will have my results, but you will know that you’ve done everything in your power to take control of your own score profile. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
In this post you will find, as promised, the credit verification letters you need to send to the credit agencies demanding that they provide you with physical proof of signed contracts for your negative credit accounts or alternatively, delete them.
I know these letters work because I USED THEM MYSELF, word for word, to get current collection accounts and hard inquiries removed from my own credit profile, raising my credit score substantially – with positive results in as little as a month!
While not difficult, the process can be tedious and if you’re willing to be patient and somewhat organized, you can can succeed in giving your personal credit status a significant boost!
Feel free to download and use, making adjustments as you see fit. Additionally, drop me a line and let me know how your process goes!
Addresses for the Three Main Credit Agencies:
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Disclaimer: I am not being sponsored or endorsed by, and am in no way affiliated with any brands or products mentioned in this blog. The opinions and conclusions of such are my own and are as a result of my unsolicited use of said products and brands.
In my last post, we briefly discussed two key elements or laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that benefit you, the consumer.
First and foremost, the credit bureaus are responsible for verifying that the information they receive from banks and other creditors about you is true and correct. In fact, they are required by law to maintain a copy on file of your signed contract or credit application. The simple fact is that they don’t have it. Your information is plucked right out of your application and sent electronically to the credit reporting agency in large batches, along with other consumers’ information. It’s just more efficient that way.
Second, you have the right to your personal information from your credit file upon written request and proper identification verification, which by law is your driver’s license and Social Security number.
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do to get started cleaning up your credit report.
You need to obtain your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and start going over them with a highlighter to determine which accounts need to be removed.
As it had been a while since I’d pulled my reports, I was easily able to go to www.annualcreditreport.com, and pull all of them easily in electronic format for free.
When you’ve determined which accounts you will be removing, you will write a letter to each credit bureau, detailing that you are a consumer who is aware of the law (chances are, whoever opens your letter and reads it is completely unaware of the laws in the Fair Credit Reporting Act), and that you are requesting the copies of the contracts bearing your signature that they are required to keep on file for each of the derogatory accounts you are inquiring about. You will detail each account in your letter by name and account number. This part of the letter will be done by hand, as well as your personal information such as birth date, social security number and credit report number (which you will find on your credit reports). The rest of your letter can be typed. A template of the letter with what you need to say is provided here.
NOTE: PLEASE READ ALL OF THE POSTS RELATED TO THIS CREDIT VERIFICATION PROJECT BEFORE YOU SEND OUT YOUR LETTERS. NEGLECTING EVEN THE SLIGHTEST DETAIL CAN IMPEDE THE GOOD RESULTS YOU WILL GET FROM SENDING THESE LETTERS.
Once you’ve done this for all three of the credit reporting agencies, you will mail your letters, one at a time, several days apart. YOU MUST SEND THE LETTERS CERTIFIED MAIL BY THE USPS!! This is very important. It costs very little to do this. For all three letters, the postage for certified mail amounted to less than $12.00.
After you have mailed the letters it’s mostly a waiting game until you get your first responses. To help pass the time, I downloaded the Credit Karma app to my Android phone and checked weekly to see what changes had been made to my credit, including the score. As the credit bureaus take their allotted 30 days to respond, it was encouraging to me to see the changes updated weekly via the Credit Karma app. Additionally, the information pulled weekly from Credit Karma are considered “soft” pulls and therefore do not negatively affect your credit score.
Some who have tried this 609 verification method have been fortunate enough to get everything removed in one round of letters. I, however, was not so fortunate. Trans Union seemed to be the biggest hold out, and as I will detail later, I had to actually write three rounds of letters to them before they finally removed all of my negative items.
It is strongly advised that during the 1 to 4 months it may take you to get the negative items off of your credit record; that you do not open up any new credit accounts, such as loans or credit cards.
If you have read all of the posts regarding this project (all found under the “609 Credit Verification Experiment Project” category to your right) and are ready to move on to the next step, click here!
TL;DR: Credit agencies are all about money and don’t care about the law. They suck. Get ’em back by learning about some laws written to protect you, the consumer, and take some action. Oh, and it’s free. Doesn’t cost anything but time and a little postage.
For a long time, attempting to raise my credit score has been a losing battle. Poor choices and impulse buys finally caught up with me about the time my family hit a rough patch financially. As anyone who’s found themselves suddenly short on income and low in savings can tell you, the lack of digits in your credit score can seriously affect the ease with which one can sail through such unexpected circumstances.
While it seems counterproductive to make it nearly impossible for those with a low credit score to obtain credit cards, car loans, mortgages, employment or any other fundamental necessity for comfortable living here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., such is the way of things here, and maintaining clean credit really can make all the difference between struggling and thriving. As one blogger aptly said it, “A person with poor credit is treated as a second-class citizen.” Amen, brother.
Admittedly I know very little beyond the basics of credit. Keeping credit card expense to a minimum and on‑time bill payment are pretty much the extent of my knowledge; but I have learned through experience that once caught in a cyclone of over-the-limit fees, late penalties and high interest, the damage is done, and the conventional road to recovery takes sacrifice, time, patience and let’s face it – humility. But I’ve never been conventional. I’m a naturally optimistic person. I’m disorganized, I tend to procrastinate, I get bored easily and often lose focus, but I’m always able to pull myself out of a tailspin and start battling. I’m a real Sue Heck. (High fives to you if you get the reference.) With that in mind, let’s talk about the real purpose of this post.
609 Credit Dispute
Have you heard of the 609 Credit Dispute or Credit Fix for your credit score? I ran across it while looking for advice pertaining to raising my credit score and was instantly intrigued. “Dispute” is really a misnomer, as it’s merely a reference to a law in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In part, the law states that a consumer (you or I) have the right to see our credit files if we can appropriately identify ourselves (driver’s license and Social Security number) and that there are two ways to get information removed from a credit file: 1) If it can be proven incorrect or if it’s outdated (based on terms in §605); and 2) If the information cannot be verified [emphasis mine] (More on this aspect in a future post.
Now we’ve all been told that it’s a good idea to occasionally sweep through our credit files and correct old or outdated information, and that is really sound advice. But what about the information verification aspect? That’s kind of a vague statement. And seriously, have you ever tried to get erroneous negative third-party information off your credit report? It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. My husband was once harassed by a collections agency due to non‑payment of a phone bill for a phone he never owned that was established in a state he had never lived in. Countless time and energy was spent making calls to the three credit bureaus, the phone service provider and collection agency, resulting in a lock on his credit that lasted a long time and a derogatory mark which sat there for the customary 7 years. We were completely helpless in the situation, or so I thought.
It turns out, there is a very effective, not‑so‑simple way to get derogatory information removed from your credit. It takes relatively little time (3 to 4 months) and a bit of perseverance, but it can be done. I know, because I have done it.
There are websites all over the internet charging anywhere from $30.00 to $699.00 for the information and/or assistance in executing the method. There are also others out there that give you partial information, but don’t include the exact documents you need unless you pay them. But there really is no need to spend that money. I’m going to give you all the information you need clean up your credit and raise your score so that you can enjoy lower payments and interest on the things you need to live a comfortable life and I’m not going to charge you a penny for it.
First, you need to understand a few basic facts about the credit bureaus, how they operate, and about the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
They’re all about getting paid. TransUnion, Equifax and Experian need to make money. It’s their primary interest. Every time a lender contacts these agencies and gives them your personal information, there is a money transaction. The credit bureaus get paid to receive information and they get paid to give information.
Their customer service reps are clueless. Most people who work for these big agencies have no idea what the laws are regarding credit reporting. Their work is mostly automated and they have quotas to reach every day.
They are breaking the law! There are laws written in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that protect you and I, the consumers, and much of the reporting in these agencies goes against these laws. This is primarily because the Fair Credit Reporting Act was written before the age of electronic information and has yet to be updated. But you can use this to your advantage.
The best way to get derogatory marks off your credit score is to start asking questions. Yup. It’s that simple. Well, it’s a little more involved than that, but that’s what it boils down to. You don’t have to “dispute” anything. Beyond your identity, you don’t have to “prove” anything. Provided you approach them the “correct” way, they (the credit bureau) must do all of the work. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well it isn’t. And I am going to give you exactly what you need to start the process, step by step. Are you ready? Then go here to my next post to find out what you need to do next.