What Is a 609 Credit-Repair Dispute and Is It Effective?

ByI. Mitic
September 20, 2021

Ah, the troublesome and ever-surprising credit score. Some people couldn’t care less about it, but most of us are pretty zealous about making our payments on time to ensure a spotless credit score.

Unfortunately, mistakes do happen and spots on your record can appear seemingly from nowhere, and you might not find out about it before, say, getting rejected for a line of credit.

People tend to search for miracle solutions in such situations, and you’ll probably stumble upon the 609 credit-repair cure-all.

Before you start panicking or putting all your eggs in the 609 basket, let’s see if things are really that clear-cut. We’ll look into what section 609 actually is, how to write a letter based on it, what sort of situations it works in, and ultimately, how to dispute negative credit items with its help.

What Is a 609 Section of Fair Credit Reporting Act?

When Brandon Weaver - an influencer - wrote a book about the 609 section, it seemed like he reinvented the wheel. Everyone thought section 609 credit repair is the secret to an impeccable credit score. Unfortunately, this is a major delusion and the actual possibilities are far from the magical solution people have been hoping for.

First off, the section number is wrong. The actual “loophole” people would want to use here is found in section 611, which grants everyone the right to dispute the information contained in their consumer file. It is not a loophole, either. Anyone can request a reinvestigation of their consumer file from a consumer reporting agency and dispute inaccurate information. One in five Americans has had some information disputed with a credit bureau.

On the other hand, section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that every consumer reporting agency is obliged to disclose the information in your consumer file upon your request. Unlike section 611, this doesn’t grant you any grounds for dispute. The credit reporting agency just has to inform you of the following:

  1. Credit report information
  2. Information sources
  3. Which employers accessed it within the past two years
  4. Which businesses made soft inquiries within the past year

Essentially, section 609 ensures your right to know about your credit score details, while section 611 provides the legal framework within which you can use the so-called section 609 credit letter to improve your credit score.

The truth is, the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that credit reporting agencies have to send you a credit report once a year, for free. You can also ask for a free credit report if a company takes action against you, e.g. denying you credit or employment. What’s more, if you have fallen victim to identity theft, you also have the right to a free credit report to ensure the thief doesn’t damage your credit.

What Is a 609 Credit-Repair Letter?

Long story short, it’s nothing short of a scam for unwitting people on the internet. In truth, the template of disputing your credit score is largely irrelevant to the outcome. As far as the agency you’re reporting to is concerned, any properly submitted dispute letter will start an investigation.

There are no dispute letter templates: Just submit an online dispute with one of the three credit reporting agencies:

There are many websites claiming to have a magical 609 letter template, which will effortlessly erase all spots from your credit report for just a few bucks. Please ignore these - any piece of writing can start a dispute, but nothing can guarantee its success.

However, you might consider seeking help from the specialized credit restoration services.

Why Do You Need This Letter?

Keeping an eye on your credit score is always a good idea. Whether you were routinely checking your credit score only to find imperfections or a credit company refused to give you a loan due to compromising information, having inside knowledge about the misnamed Fair Credit Reporting Act section 609 loophole is always a good thing.

A credit report contains your personal information - such as previous addresses - and a credit history summary. You can expect to find the number of accounts you have with banks, credit card account types and their status, and a detailed summary of your balances and limits.

However, as with any report, mistakes do happen. Whether it was the honest mistake of a credit bureau worker, a bank typo that turned your positive balance into a negative one, or a creditor mixing you up with someone else, legitimate credit score issues should be disputed.

You should at least know how to dispute a credit report in the worst-case scenario of identity theft - particularly true for all the John Smiths and Johnsons out there. Even an address typo or something similarly benign can also send your score spiraling.

Why Should You Dispute Credit Information?

Negative information on your credit report can make a huge impact on credit card deals and loan eligibility and terms. While it may sound like a hassle, disputing every negative mistake on your record is a good idea. After all, removing false information from your record will improve your credit score.

Don’t abuse section 609 credit-repair dispute letters in an attempt to improve your record falsely, though. You will likely fail, as their purpose is to delete mistakes from your record, not the results of poor money management.

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Summing It Up - Is It Effective?

Disputes are highly effective when used for what they’re made for: Fixing credit report errors. As such, use them whenever necessary.

On the other hand, while YouTube, books, and blogs might be trying to sell credit-repair kits, these won’t achieve their alleged purpose. There is no such thing as a miraculous piece of writing that can erase all debts from your credit report, nor credit dispute letters that work every time. You would only be putting money in the pockets of snake-oil salesmen.

The mistakenly glorified 609 section, as well as the actual 611 section you might need one day, are there to protect your rights. This means that you don’t need a special document or loophole to make good on what they promise. There is no need for you to hire a law professional to submit a dispute request, and the process should be altogether free of charge.

FAQ
Does 609 credit repair really work? +

As described in this article, there’s no such thing as a section 609 dispute. There’s a 611 credit-repair letter that does work for removing mistakes from your record, but first, there have to be actual mistakes.

Can disputing hurt your credit? +

Not disputing false information can hurt your credit and prove lethal in terms of new credit card deals or loans. If you win a dispute, your credit score will improve.

Can you remove late payments from a credit report? +

Late payments stay on the credit report for up to 7 years, so many people try to use a section 609 letter to fix them. However, you can only remove late payments that weren’t actually late.

Why should you never pay a collection agency? +

Having a collection agency involved with your account is bad enough for your credit score, so many people avoid collection agency calls and letters until the statute of limitation passes. However, this won’t always work, as many collection agencies can sue you to collect. It would be best to consult an attorney who will help you navigate debt-collection laws and your possible course of action.

Do credit bureaus really investigate disputes? +

Every 609 credit repair dispute letter to a credit bureau gets investigated. Whether or not the disputed information will be deleted is a completely different matter, which depends solely on the information itself.

Is ‘pay for delete’ illegal? +

It is not illegal, but it is a grey area. However, the new credit reporting formulas do the same thing without any payment.

About author

For years, the clients I worked for were banks. That gave me an insider’s view of how banks and other institutions create financial products and services. Then I entered the world of journalism. Fortunly is the result of our fantastic team’s hard work. I use the knowledge I acquired as a bank copywriter to create valuable content that will help you make the best possible financial decisions.

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