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Goodwill Adjustment Letters

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If you’ve ever gotten an insufficient funds fee or a over-the-limit penalty fee or a late payment penalty fee, you probably have tried to get it removed by asking nicely. My wife is really good at this, she could probably sweet talk a Citi CSR into giving her a refund and a bouquet of flowers for the hassle of calling them up! Whether you’re nice like my wife or simply good at pointing at the financial benefits of keeping you as a customer (that’s how I roll… d20 save vs. financial realities sucka), you can employ this strategy in a vareity of places… including your credit history.

If you have some legitimate negative items (late payments) on your credit history, you might be able to get them removed by using a Goodwill Adjustment Letter. Some companies won’t report 30-day and 60-day late payments, it’s really not worth it, but if you review your report and see some late payments, you might be able to use a Goodwill Adjustment Letter to get those things removed.

While you could try this for any negative items, it’s most effective for negative items that are a year old or more. It’s important to show that those late payments were an aberration and that you’ve improved your finances such that it won’t happen again.

Goodwill Adjustment Letter Template

[Your Name]
[Address]
[Date]


[Company Name, Department]
[Address]

[Company Representative],
I understand that you’re extremely busy but I hope you can find time to consider this request for me. I have been a [Company Name] customer since [Year] and during that time, I have enjoyed my experience with your company.

I am contacting you to see if you would be willing to make a “goodwill” adjustment to your reporting to the three credit agencies. I have [Number] late payments on the above referenced account that date back [Number] months. Since that time I have been an exceptional customer paying every month on time.

Because of my overall exceptional payment history with your company over the last [Number] years, I would like you to consider removing the negative payments from my credit report. I have been a very happy customer in the past and hope to continue a long relationship with [Company Name].

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Making A Case

The template, while a good starting point, can’t be all that you write. It’s important to build a case to the company as to why they should adjust your report. If you can explain away some of the late payments, it will go a long way to convincing them to do it. For example, if you were a college student and simply careless, say that. If you were lost your job or moved, let them know. If the majority of your lates were of the 30 day variety, tell them that too.

Good luck!

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21 Responses to “Goodwill Adjustment Letters”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    There is no real reason why you couldn’t use a further variation on this template to request other kinds of concessions as well, e.g. an increased credit limit, lowered interest rate, extension to a promotional rate, etc. For that matter, it is also not constrained to creditors. It essentiall boils down to this: “I’ve been a good customer. Want to keep me? This would be a nice thing for you to do.”

  2. jim says:

    Yes, you definitely could, but I think that for many of those you can just call rather than make a written appeal. Threatening to change providers is a great way to get concessions but you can’t go that route with this sort of thing. :)

  3. Gates VP says:

    …d20 save vs. financial realities sucka…

    Jim, you’re my kind of nerd. Awesome!

  4. I’m guessing that letters like these will work better if you not only pay on time but also are a profitable customer by carrying balances and paying interest. On the other hand, if this is a revolving credit account which you pay to zero every month, that is not a good customer for them.

  5. Larry says:

    This actually happened to me a couple of days ago. a company overcharged me 12 times in error and I overdrafted in my checking. I called them up requesting them to kindly remove the overdraft fees and they said that since it was not a bank issue they would only meet me half way. I then brought up the fact that I have been a ‘loyal customer’ for the past 10 years, have my student loans with them AND just opened a savings account.

    After 2 minutes on hold the overdraft fees were fully waived ;)

    No harm in asking!

    Larry @ theluckymoneycat

  6. Glenn Lasher says:

    Jim, I have a card that have been generally unresponsive to verbal requests for a lower rate. I will be paying them off and shutting them down shortly, exactly as I have verbally promised them I would do, but I was thinking of making one final written appeal. That was the sort of thinking behind my initial response.

  7. Glenn Lasher says:

    Forgot to mention . . . as Larry pointed out, this same card has been generally responsive with requests to waive fees.

  8. jim says:

    I wonder if cards would reply with a letter letting you know if your request has been accepted or rejected. I do suppose keeping the card but not using it isn’t going to hurt. Please let us know how it turns out if you do send a letter.

  9. Cap says:

    Gods, the roll reference made me cringe (purely because I can relate). Good template and suggestions though. Note for others: there’s a clear distinction between asking for goodwill adjustment and disputing incorrect information. If negatives are shown in credit report that aren’t due to your mistake, skip the letters and dispute accordingly!

  10. Nice template — I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever find myself in that situation. I hate doing these things over the phone, so I’d probably jump straight to a written request.

  11. Jim says:

    Nice d20 reference. :)

  12. Rebecca says:

    Where would you recommend sending the letter? Should I use the address I send my payments to, or address to a specific person within the company?

    Thank you!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Mook,

    I mailed letters to all of my credit card and auto loan lenders. The credit card companies sent letters saying they wouldn’t change anything, and I didn’t hear from the car loan companies. I haven’t viewed my credit report since sending the letters so I don’t know if the auto loan companies did anything. My credit score has been on a steady increase due to hard work and strict budgeting, and I guess it was worth a try, just in case it had worked.

  14. aua868s says:

    havent been in this situation before…but will definitely use this template if i land in one!

  15. Doni says:

    Would this work for accounts that have been paid in full? I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  16. JLR says:

    I tried this after reading the website and it worked. The negative item was removed from my credit report and I was finally able to qualify for a mortgage as this one bad mark was holding me back.

    Thanks for the advice!!!

  17. kerry bullard says:

    What do the creditors do after they receive the goodwill letter-what do they have to present to the credit bureaus?

  18. Josh says:

    Question for anyone that still reads this – do utility companies have the ability to do this as well with a delinquent payment? The outright negative on my credit report is from electric company that I misunderstood when they said my account was paid in full, when I asked to terminate the account due to deployment. Apparently it was the preceding month, not the current month, yet to be calculated – so while I was OCONUS for 8 months, it went 90+, to collections, and I had no clue. This was approximately 3 years ago, and I have since moved to another state, so I’m no longer a customer…

  19. Aned says:

    My husband had 1 late payment on a SuperAmerica credit card, which we have since closed. They began to send us electronic bills instead of in the mail, and my husband was unaware of it! Thus, the 1 late payment is because he never received the hardcopy bill in the mail. After paying, we closed the account because the store nearest us no longer affiliated with the credit card. Would it be worth our time to send a letter to attempt to remove the 1 time late payment from my husband’s credit history? It’s the one and only late payment in his history. Thanks!

  20. Iris says:

    It’s going to be pretty hard not to say yes to that goodwill adjustment letter template, especially as suggested … if you could explain the late payments away. Yes. Given a similar situation, I’d try it.


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