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How to Remove Unauthorized Hard Inquiries

Posted By Jim On 12/17/2009 @ 7:02 am In Credit | 30 Comments

Reader Christine recently left a comment on the What is a good credit score? [3] post in which she asked how she could get unauthorized hard inquiries removed. For her particular case, it’s likely that she agreed to the hard inquiries when she “clicked on a link on some website that I do not even remember now and got phone calls from about 5 lenders. I had very enlightening conversations but decided not to apply.”

Whether you apply for a loan or not, when you request quotes you will have agreed to the lenders pulling your credit report. They can’t give you a rate quote without knowing your credit score and credit history. Reputable companies won’t pull your credit without your permission because it’s illegal (it violates this: Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer).

But there are cases where someone could make an unauthorized hard inquiry and the solution is to send a “remove inquiry letter” to the credit reporting agencies.

Ask Creditors to Remove

The easiest way is to simply call or write to each of the creditors and ask them to remove their inquiry. Here’s a form letter that you can use:

[Your Full Name]
[Current Address]

RE: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a notice to cease unauthorized inquires into my credit report and a formal demand that you immediately contact the credit reporting agencies and bureaus to have your illegal inquiries removed. While checking my personal credit report from {insert Credit bureau name}, I noticed an inquiry made by your organization.

The details of the inquiry are as follows:

Line number: [Line Number]
Inquiry made on: [Inquiry Date]
Inquiry made by: [Creditor]

To the best of my knowledge I have not approved your organization, any person associated with your organization, to make such an inquiry. This violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer. I also demand that you remove my personal information from your records. Please send written confirmation that you have complied.

If you believe that you posses sufficient document that supports your authorization to make the inquiry, please forward a copy so that I may verify its validity.

I am using certified mail to ensure that you receive this letter and expect a prompt response.

Regards,

[Full Name]

The language in the form letter is forceful and direct, you can choose to make it softer by replacing demand with request, but I don’t think that’s necessary. If they requested your credit report without your consent, citing the FCRA will be enough to get them to act. Finally, remember to send by certified mail.

Send a Remove Inquiry Letter to Bureaus

If asking the creditor to remove it doesn’t work, or you can’t find them, the next best option is to notify the credit agencies that you didn’t authorize the inquiry. There are two options here, you can either go the route of an online dispute or use the certified letter method. For the certified letter method, you can use this form letter for that purpose:

[Your Full Name]
[Current Address]

Attention: [Credit Bureau]
[Credit Bureau's Address]

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a formal request to remove unauthorized inquiries from my credit report. I’ve enclosed a copy of the credit report that your organization provided me on [Date of Report]. I’ve listed the unauthorized inquiries below and also circled them in red on the enclosed report

Line Item [Line Number:
Creditor: [Creditor]

Before making this request, I contacted the organizations responsible for these unauthorized inquires asking them to remove them. I sent letters via certified mail and have proof they were received more than 30 days ago. They have failed to respond and therefore I ask for your assistance in resolving this issue.

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I request that you investigate my claim and if you find my claim to be valid and accurate, please delete the unauthorized inquiries. Furthermore, I ask that you send a corrected copy of my credit report to the above address.

If your investigation determines the inquiry was authorized, I respectfully request that you forward to me a description of the procedure used to determine this within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation.

Regards,

[Full Name]

If you want to go online, here are their dispute forms:

If you don’t have a copy of your credit report, you can request one for free at annualcreditreport.com [7] once every twelve months.

Credit Bureau Addresses

Experian:
National Consumer Assistance Center
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax:
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion:
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

TransUnion: (Puerto Rico)
TransUnion
P.O. Box 34012
Fullerton, CA 92834

Why Bother?

Hard inquiries are bad for your credit because they are initiated when a lender is considering you for a loan. Other lenders assume that if you are asking for a loan, you need money. People who need money are riskier than people who don’t. Also, if you start shopping around for a loan, chances are you will take one of the offers and so your credit profile will change. Since the other lenders won’t know how it’ll change, that unknown makes you riskier.

Regardless of the reason, which is speculation on my part, the end result is the same: your score will go down with hard inquiries. Whether it’s a couple points or ten depends on your score today, but chances are it will go down. That’s why it’s important to get any unauthorized credit inquiries removed. A couple points can make a big different.


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-remove-unauthorized-hard-inquiries.html

[3] What is a good credit score?: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/what-is-a-good-credit-score.html

[4] Equifax online dispute form: https://www.ai.equifax.com/

[5] Experian online dispute form: https://www.experian.com/consumer/cac/InvalidateSession.do?code=DISPUTE

[6] TransUnion online dispute form: http://www.transunion.com/corporate/personal/creditDisputes/submitDispute.page

[7] annualcreditreport.com: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

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