How To Remove Information with Good Will Letters
Good Will Your Way to Removal
One of the least used credit repair tactics is also one of the most effective. Good will letters have helped many a consumer remove negative information that otherwise would have taken years to no longer be reported. Not all good will letters are the same; it will require a certain amount of creativity and patience but the rewards will be worth it in the end.
Good Will Adjustment
One of the quickest ways to see your FICO score drop is to be late on a payment. 30 day late payments will affect your score for roughly two years. Conversely, 120 day late payments will affect your score for the entire seven years that it will report for. One of the ways you can have these removed is through what is known as a good will adjustment. A good will adjustment refers to a company removing or changing information on your credit file without legal justification.
First, try to call the creditor and see if they will make this adjustment over the phone. Unlike collection companies, these creditors usually work to maintain an excellent customer service reputation and they rely on it for future business. If you do not have success with the first level phone support, politely ask for a supervisor and see if you can plead your case to them. The supervisor may inform you of company policy against making these sorts of changes, but they do them all the time! Be convincing and concise with the reason you were late, and try to stress the positive elements of your relationship with them.
If the phone approach proves to be challenging, the next step is to draft a letter and send it through the mail. Since you are not the phone, the company has more time to mull over whether or not to make the adjustment for you. The letter might end up in the hand of someone with more authority to make these kinds of changes.
Good will letters aren’t exclusive to just late payments. You can be creative and write a good will letter for basically any negative information on your file. Please consider that the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not demand that all accounts be reported, only that any account that is reported be reported accurately. Therefore, a company does have legal discretion and permission to remove any account or bit of information it chooses from the credit report.
If first you don’t succeed, keep trying! If you no longer owe money to the creditor, they will likely tire from wasting time opening and responding to your letters. They have no incentive to keep reporting information if they are no longer waiting for payment. It is often easier for them to stop reporting altogether than to deal with your once a month letters.
Often you will not get any response from the creditor, but next time you pull your account the trade line will be removed.
Another tactic is to search the web for names of CEOs or important executives within the company and address letters and emails to those people. Often, the company website will list those who have important roles.
The Better Business Bureau has excellent contact information within companies, including fax numbers and key executive email addresses. Use these sorts of contacts when addressing good will letters.
There is no sure-fire approach to good will letter writing. What may work for you, may not work for another. It is possible you will have success with your very first letter, or it may take 20. How far you want to take it is entirely up to you.
The following is an example of the good will process. I had a collection account for $55, which was outside the statute of limitations. I spent several months attempting to contact them by letter, offering payment in return for deletion. The collection company never corresponded back with me after this first batch of letters.
In this situation, I opted to call the collection company and pay the account over the phone. The logic was, since the account was so small, I might have success using the good will process.
After I received the initial letter confirming my payment, I sent a good will letter asking for the removal of the account since it was paid in full.
The following two letters were received from the collection company. The first is the letter indicating the account has been paid. The second is the confirmation that the account will be removed from reporting.
The second good will example was in regards to the repossession that was on my credit file. As previously discussed, repossessions are one of the most damaging accounts that can be listed within your credit report. At this stage, my repossession was settled, and listed as Settled for Less than Full Amount.
I spent several months corresponding with the lender attempting to get this account removed. They wouldn’t budge, as evidence in the first example letter.
After 14 letters to different people within the organization, I finally received a positive response and they agreed to recode my repossession.
It felt like forever, but after nearly 45 days, the account started displaying as a positive Paid in Full account on my credit reports. As you can see, persistence is the key when handling good will situations.