How to write a credit card dispute letter

A credit dispute letter is a written document sent from a borrower to their lender or to a credit bureau/agency. Usually, the term "credit dispute letter" refers to letters sent to correct errors on a credit report. However, the term can also refer to other correspondences that involve credit negotiations, fraud, non-payment, and other financial issues between lender and borrower. Credit dispute letter are often referred to during lawsuits and legal proceedings.

What Should Be Contained in a Credit Dispute Letter?

When sending a credit dispute letter to a credit report agency, the letter should contain:

  • The error, mistake, or issue that you have identified in the credit report
  • How the error should be corrected
  • Suggested remedies or alternative options for the report
  • Whether or not legal action is necessary

When dealing with a credit lender or a loan agency, a dispute letter should contain:

  • Your legal issue or concern
  • Any grievances or complaints regarding the company’s service
  • Information regarding mistakes or errors on the company’s part
  • Suggested options to remedy the error
  • Suggestions for new loan terms (such as an adjustment in interest rates, debt cancellation, or an extension on a payment deadline)

Of course, credit dispute letters should always be in writing, and signed. You should make copies for your records, and you should also keep copies of any correspondences or letters sent to you from the other party.

What If a Dispute Letter Doesn’t Remedy the Issue?

If a dispute letter doesn’t fully resolve the problem, you may need to take legal action to have the matters settled. More serious or complex problems may require the filing of a lawsuit. This is especially true for cases involving fraud, serious debt, or breach of contract. A lawsuit may result in a remedy such as a damages award or reworking of the credit terms.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with Credit Dispute Issues?

Credit disputes can often involve complex issues and legal theories. You may wish to hire a credit lawyer to help you with writing a credit dispute letter, or filing a lawsuit in court. Your attorney can review the material to ensure that it complies with state and federal laws, and to ensure that your rights aren’t being violated.

You must notify your credit or debit card company of any error you’re disputing within 60 days of the date that the first statement on which the charge appears was sent to you. Consumer protections for credit cards are stronger than protections for debit cards, but some debit card companies voluntarily offer more protections than the law requires. To best protect your rights, review your account statements carefully every month and submit any dispute right away.

Start by calling the card company’s customer service number to report the problem. Find the telephone number on your monthly statement or on the back of your card. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when. Follow up promptly with a letter. The sample below may help.

Many card companies may let you to submit your dispute online. You may have to set up an online account to do that. However, to fully protect yourself, follow up with a letter quickly.

Send a Dispute Letter to Your Card Company

After you call the card company or dispute the charge online, follow up right away with a letter disputing the charge. The letter is a written notice to the card company about the problem. Remember, you must send the letter within 60 calendar days of the date that the first statement on which the disputed charge appears was sent to you.

Make sure your letter includes

  • your name and account number
  • the dollar amount of the disputed charge
  • the date of the disputed charge
  • an explanation of why you think the charge is incorrect

Here are some possible reasons why you might believe a charge is incorrect:

  • The date or amount of the charge is wrong.
  • The charge is for goods or services that you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered to you as agreed.
  • You were charged more than once for something.
  • You returned the item, but the credit wasn’t posted to your account.
  • You paid for the item, but the payment wasn’t posted to your account.
  • You didn’t authorize the transaction.

Send your letter to the address your card company lists for billing disputes, errors, or inquiries. Look on your monthly statement, the card company’s website, or your card agreement to get the right address. The address for billing disputes usually is different from the address where you send your payments.

Send your letter by certified mail, if possible. Ask for a return receipt so you have proof that the card company got your letter. Include with your letter copies of any receipts, checks, or other proof of the transaction. Hold on to your originals.

Consider Contacting the Seller

It also may help to contact the seller for problems you are having with debit or credit card charges. But for most problems, if you don’t first contact the card issuer, you could lose important rights that protect you due to the timing requirements.

When you contact the seller, keep a record of who you spoke with and when. If you resolve the problem, check back with your card company — often your bank — to make sure your account shows the proper credit or refund.

Sample Letter for Disputing Credit or Debit Card Charges

Use this sample letter to help you write your dispute letter.

[Date]

[Your Name]

[Your Address, City, State, Zip Code]

[Name of Credit or Debit Card Company]

Attn: Billing Inquiries

[Address, City, State, Zip Code]

Re: Notice of disputed charge to Account No. [Your account number]

Dear [Contact Person or Billing Inquiries Division]:

I am writing to dispute a charge of [$______] to my [credit or debit card] account on [date of the charge]. The charge is in error because [explain the problem briefly. For example, the items weren’t delivered, I was overcharged, I returned the items, I did not buy the items, etc.].

[Add any additional explanation that may be helpful. For example, “I ordered the items on[date]. The seller promised to deliver the items to me on [date], but I never received my order.”]

I am requesting that the error be corrected, that any finance or other charges related to the disputed amount be credited to my account, and that I get an accurate statement.

Enclosed are copies of [describe any enclosed information, like sales slips, payment records, or documentation of shipment or delivery dates] supporting my position and experience. Please correct the error on my account promptly.

[Your name]

Enclosures: [List the documents you are enclosing. Send copies, not the originals.]

Sample letters to dispute information on a credit report

If you want to dispute information on a credit report, you may need to send a dispute letter to both the institution that provided the information, called the information furnisher, as well as the credit reporting company.

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How to write a credit card dispute letter

Reading through your credit card statement each month is a good practice to confirm all the transactions you were billed for are actually yours. You're responsible for any charges you don't explicitly dispute, so if you spot an error, you should inform your credit card issuer quickly to clear up the error.

How to Dispute a Credit Card Billing Error

Writing a letter to dispute a credit card billing error is the best way to protect your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a federal law that protects consumers against unfair credit billing practices. Sending your letter via certified mail will give you a timestamp in case you ever need to prove that you made your dispute in time.

The Fair Credit Billing Act only applies to revolving credit accounts, like a credit card or a line of credit. Installment loans or other types of fixed credit agreements aren't covered by the law.

The FCBA allows you to dispute a few types of billing errors. The list includes:

  • Billing errors
  • Charges for goods or services you didn’t receive
  • Charges for the wrong amount
  • Math errors on your credit card statements
  • Payments or credits that didn’t post to your account.

You can also dispute bills that weren't mailed to you, unless you failed to notify your credit card issuer of changes to your address at least 20 days before the end of the billing cycle.

Timeframe for Credit Card Disputes

You must send your dispute letter within 60 days that the billing statement containing the error was mailed to you. Your credit card issuer is not legally required to resolve billing errors that you dispute after these 60 days and you may be on the hook for those charges, despite the fact that they were inaccurate.  

Many credit card issuers will investigate your dispute even if you make it by phone, as long as it’s within the 60-day window. Following up with a letter gives you an extra layer of protection and gives you an opportunity to provide proof that supports your claim.

Once the credit card issuer receives your dispute letter, they’re required to respond in writing within 30 days and resolve the dispute within two billing cycles of receiving your letter. In the meantime, you’re not required to pay anything on the disputed charges while the credit card issuer investigates, but you do have to make any other required minimum payments and finance charges. Missing your required minimum payment will lead to a payment, a late fee, and possibly a late notice added to your credit report.

What to Put in Your Credit Card Dispute Letter

The dispute letter can be simple – an example is included below. In your letter, include the transaction or transactions that you’re disputing and the reason you’re making the dispute. Send copies of any proof, e.g. a receipt, that support your dispute.

If you’ve already called about the error, mention the date and time of the phone call in your letter and the name of the representative who assisted you.

When you're ready to mail off your billing error dispute letter, check your credit card statement for the credit card issuer’s address for correspondence. Note that this address is usually different from the address where you mail your payment.

Below is a sample letter you can use for credit card billing disputes (not for credit report errors, which require a different kind of letter). Be sure to customize the letter with your personal information, including your credit card account number or at least the last four digits of the account number. Keep a copy of the letter with the original receipts or other proof for your records.

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Letter to Dispute Fraudulent Credit Card Transaction

This is a letter to a bank or other financial institution, to dispute a fraudulent credit card transaction. The primary purpose of this letter is to give the bank the information it needs, regarding the customer and their account, to notify the bank of the fraudulent transaction, and to request that it be reversed.

If a person wants to dispute a fraudulent transaction, then they may notify their financial institution in writing. Once the financial institution receives this request, they may investigate the transaction. They may prevent subsequent payments being made to the same merchant, and in some cases the account holder may be able to obtain compensation for the amount of the transaction.

When we refer to a “fraudulent” transaction or an “unauthorised” transaction, we are talking about charges showing up on a credit card statement, even though they have not been approved by the credit card holder.

Please note that if the person preparing this letter is not disputing a fraudulent transaction or an unauthorised transaction, but simply wants to put a stop to a direct debit arrangement which they have set up in the past, then they may use our Letter to Bank to Cancel Direct Debit.

How to use this document

In this letter, the sender will enter pertinent details about each of the parties – both the credit card holder, and the bank or financial institution which issued the credit card.

There is a space for the sender’s name and address, as well as email (if desired) and phone number, so that the financial institution may reach the sender easily. There is also a space for the contact information of the financial institution, and optional spaces for a name and title of an individual person, if the sender knows of a specific person of whom to send the letter.

The sender may then enter information about the fraudulent transaction such as the name of the merchant, the relevant account details, the amount of the fraudulent transaction, and the date of the transaction.

Once the letter has been completed, it can be sent to the financial institution. The sender may keep a copy for their own reference.

Applicable law

The National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth), and in particular the National Credit Code, which appears in schedule 1 of that Act, deals with consumer credit in Australia.

Further information and guidance can also be obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) and from ASIC’s Moneysmart website.

How to modify the template

You fill out a form. The document is created before your eyes as you respond to the questions.

At the end, you receive it in Word and PDF formats. You can modify it and reuse it.

Other names for the document: Letter to Bank to Dispute Unauthorised Credit Card Transaction, Bank Letter to Dispute Fraudulent Credit Card Transaction, Cancellation Letter – Dispute Fraudulent Credit Card Transaction, Dispute Letter for Fraudulent Credit Card Transaction, Dispute of Fraudulent Credit Card Transaction

If you’ve recently received copies of your credit report, you may have noticed an ‘Inquiries’ section towards the bottom of the report.

In most cases, this section has minimal impact on your credit score. But the way you manage your credit, particularly the way you apply for credit, can end up making a big difference if not facilitated correctly.

Learning about credit inquiries can also help you spot any potential credit fraud. For example, if you have hard inquiries on your credit report that you’re sure you didn’t make, it could be a sign of identity theft.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about what credit inquiries are, how they affect you, and how to get rid of them.

What is a credit inquiry removal letter?

A credit inquiry removal letter is used to dispute an unauthorized inquiry. It is sent to the credit bureaus to request that a credit inquiry be removed. Once the credit bureaus receive your letter, they are obligated to investigate your claim with the creditor who placed the hard inquiry on your credit report.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the information provider has 30 days to report back to the credit bureau with proof that you authorized the credit inquiry. If they fail to respond or provide proof, the credit inquiry must be removed from your credit report.

Credit inquiries don’t have a major impact on your credit score. However, if you have too many in a short period of time, they can definitely damage your credit. That’s why it’s important to have unauthorized credit inquiries removed from your credit report.

How to Write a Credit Inquiry Removal Letter

Sometimes companies and individuals make hard inquiries that you did not authorize. In those cases, there is a way to remove the hard inquiry and improve your credit as a result. It’s called a “credit inquiry removal letter” or a “credit inquiry dispute letter.”

Even if a hard credit inquiry is “questionable” and you are not sure if you made it or not, you can dispute it as the burden of proof is on the credit bureaus and your creditors.

We have prepared a sample letter to send to the credit bureaus requesting an investigation of an unauthorized inquiry appearing on your credit report.

Credit Inquiry Removal Letter Template

Be sure to send via certified mail rather than standard mail delivery to get a faster response and ensure your letter is received.

Try to make the letter appear more personal than this form letter, but make sure to use your own words. Remember, this is just an example. Your letter should look similar to this:

How to write a credit card dispute letter

If you disagree with the information contained on your credit report, you can send a credit dispute letter to each of the 3 credit bureaus. You can even dispute any items that you find “questionable.”

By disputing an item, the credit reporting agencies are obligated by law to investigate. They must either verify, correct, or delete the item from your record within 30 days. This type of letter is called a credit dispute letter. You can also send dispute letters directly to your creditor.

Credit Dispute Letter Template & Step-by-Step Guide

If written correctly, a credit dispute letter can be highly effective in removing negative items from your credit reports and fixing bad credit. Whether you take on a DIY approach or hire a professional, you can see positive results if you correctly execute the process.

To help, we have provided a credit dispute letter template below that you can model your letter after. We’ve also developed a step-by-step guide to dispute letters so that you can optimize your chance for success.

Perhaps you’ve been a victim of identity theft, or your credit cards were stolen. Or maybe you just notice mistakes made by your creditors. Either way, it is your legal right to dispute errors on your credit reports.

You have the right to ensure that what’s being said about you on your credit report is fair and accurate. It’s important to go about it in the right manner so that you don’t lose the opportunity to improve your credit scores using this method.

(Some clients have raised their credit scores by 100 points or more.*)

Call for a Free Credit Consultation!

What items can I dispute on my credit report?

Anything that a credit bureau is reporting on your credit report can be disputed. This includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • personal information

Be very careful that you don’t dispute positive items. Once they are removed, it’s pretty much impossible to get them back on your credit report.

If you are unsure whether an item is negative or positive, you are not quite ready to send disputes yet. Make sure you completely understand what’s being reported on your credit history before starting the dispute process.

Sending Dispute Letters to Credit Bureaus

It’s not necessary to provide evidence when making a dispute as the burden of proof is on the credit bureau. However, if you have any evidence of the error that you believe will help your case, you can send it with the letter.

It could be a letter from a debt collector for a bill you already paid. It could also be proof that you paid off any owed amounts or a letter from the creditor noting that you agreed to a settlement. When providing copies of this information, just be sure to black out sensitive information like your social security number before sending it over.

Once you have everything pulled together, send a credit dispute letter. If you go in prepared, you’ll have the best chance of success, so take a few minutes and pull your paperwork together. In your letter, identify the error on your credit report and note that you have circled the disputed item in an attached copy for their reference.

It’s important to explicitly ask that the disputed item is removed. Remember, the letter should be as customized as possible to achieve optimal results.

How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter

When writing your letter to a credit bureau, please remember these simple guidelines:

  • In most cases, it’s unnecessary to mention laws, procedures, court rulings, or threaten lawsuits, etc. The credit bureaus know the law.
  • Similarly, remember to be kind. Combative language doesn’t help and could hurt. You’re not going to scare them into doing anything.
  • Include copies of information that supports your claims, but remember, anything you send them can also be used against you. Do not send original documents. Please be very careful with this one. If you’re not sure, don’t send it.
  • Make and send copies, but always keep the originals for your own records.
  • Make it clear which item or items you want to dispute. It’s not always necessary to tell them why you are disputing. The burden of proof is on them.
  • They are not obligated to investigate requests that appear frivolous. Make sure your letter is understandable and concise. It’s a good idea to proofread the letter before you send it.

Note: Always include a photocopy of your driver’s license, state-issued ID, or U.S. passport and a copy of your social security card, pay stub, W-2, or a recent utility bill. Only 2 forms of ID are required.

Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter

Below is a sample credit dispute letter disputing a credit card account. You can use it for an Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion dispute. Please remember that it’s just an example. It’s intended to give you an idea of what a credit report dispute letter should look like and what it should contain.

Tailor your message to your specific circumstances. Keep it short and sweet. It’s always best to write the letter in your own words and know what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is possible to worsen your credit situation.

Summary: Not sure how you can clean up your credit report? Learn how to make a 609 letter that really works.

If you are working on improving your credit report, a 609 dispute letter may help you get the report cleaned up. A 609 dispute letter points out some inaccurate, negative, or erroneous information on your credit report, forcing the credit company to change them.

You’ll find countless 609 letter templates online; however, they do not always promise that your dispute will be successful. Here’s how to prepare an effective 609 letter that really works.

The framework of the 609 letter

Two sections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act build up the framework on which the 609 dispute letter works. Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to request your credit card reports and any other information recorded in them. In section 611, the FCRA summarizes your rights to dispute inaccurate information found in the report.

The element of disputing information is found in section 611 of the FCRA Act. Section 609 only helps you acquire the information you need to prepare your dispute. Also, credit reporting agencies are not obligated to investigate any disputes that you may have on the credit report, but they will have them changed if found to be accurate.

How the 609 letter works

If you have identified the item you would like to dispute, you will ask the credit agency to validate that particular information. The reasoning is that if the agency cannot provide proof of the information, they will have to remove it from your report.

Therefore, the 609 dispute letter may be the answer to fixing items you do not like on your credit report, but it may not necessarily change your credit score. However, a clean credit report can improve your chances of getting approvals for any credits you may wish to borrow in the future.

How to write an effective 609 letter

The bottom line is that this letter is a request for the validation of the debt. You will only need to write a simple letter to the credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to request them to validate the disputable information. According to section 609 of the FCRA, you will be entitled to the following information:

  • All information in your files (although there are some exceptions, such as credit scores)
  • All sources of information recorded in your files

These details are all you need to create your letter. Then, you simply point out the incorrect item and write a letter requesting the credit agency to validate it by providing you with information that supports their records.

Here is a sample 609 dispute letter:

Credit Reporting Agency

To Whom it may Concern,

RE: REQUEST FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

With reference to Section 609 of the FCRD Act, I would like to request further information on the following item as recorded on my credit report.

The report records that (state your dispute). I request that you provide the original documents for this information containing my appended signature and any other related information.

If this information is unavailable, I request that you have the item deleted from my credit report as soon as possible. Kindly find attached a copy of my report clearly highlighting the mentioned item. Enclosed is also a copy of (state your supporting evidence) proof that the item indicated in my credit report is inaccurate.

Does the 609 letter really work?

If your argument is valid, the credit agency will delete the item from your credit report. However, if the credit agency can provide you with information that proves the item recorded is accurate, it will not be removed from your credit report.

Additionally, the 609 letter does not guarantee that your credit score will change. It will also not mark the end of negative information being recorded in your credit report if it can be validated. All the same, the law protects your rights to have correct and validated information to be recorded on your credit report.

The 609 dispute letter is often referred to as the “legal loophole”, or the “credit repair secret’ and can be useful in different situations. Apart from correcting your credit report, the 609 letter could be what you need to respond to a debt collection lawsuit. The letter is equally a debt validation letter that the SoloSuit team can review for you, among other documents that you intend to present with your Answer.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

“First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!” – James

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