A goodwill letter can be sent to a lender or credit bureau to erase a late payment on a person’s credit report. It is one way to repair a credit report for both a private or government loan. Goodwill letters are most useful for people who have damaged their credit due to unforeseen circumstances. The letter explains the reasons why the consumer fell behind on their debt payments and also promises either to reform or that the circumstances won’t happen again. A goodwill letter can also be sent if the consumer believes the late payment report is incorrect and they want the incorrect information removed from their credit report.
There are several different types of goodwill letters, but not all of them are effective. There are certain things the letter must cover to have a good chance of being successful.
• The tone of the letter should be considerate and humble, especially if the lack of payment information is correct. Even if it’s incorrect, it’s not recommended to take an angry tone because it could make the lender or credit bureau personnel put the letter in the trash.
• The consumer should take responsibility for the late payment. He or she needs to have a good reason why they didn’t make the required payments. It’s not responsible or convincing for the consumer to say they simply forgot.
• The consumer needs to gain the lender or credit bureau’s trust that future payments will be made on time. If the consumer has a history of making regular payments before they stopped making payments, the lender will be more inclined to think the consumer will continue to make regular payments when they can. If there is a pattern of late payments for years, it will be more difficult for them to be convinced that things will be different in the future.
• If the consumer is writing about a mistake, they should include any documents that prove their point. These documents may be receipts, bank statements or money transfers that prove payments were made. A copy of the credit report with the mistakes highlighted should also be included.
• The letter should be short and simple. It’s to the consumer’s advantage to make it easy on the person reading the letter and not send a lengthy letter full of details.
The credit bureau may remove the late payment information from the consumer’s credit report. The credit bureau or lender may also say they cannot legally remove the information. This is why it is recommended to also ask for a goodwill adjustment in favor of the consumer.
This is a sample goodwill letter. It should be written in formal business style and sent by certified mail, so the sender can keep a record of the date and time the letter was received by the lender. If there is any legal dispute in the future, this information may become relevant. Any enclosed documents should be copies and not original documents. Consumers should know that one letter may not get them the result they want. If they don’t get a response within two weeks, they should send another letter, an email or contact the lender or credit bureau by phone.
Sample Goodwill Letter to Remove Late Payments
Name of Consumer
Address of Consumer
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Credit Bureau or Lender
Address of Credit Bureau of Lender
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Consumer’s Account Number
To Whom It May Concern:
I have not been able to make my regular student loan payments for the past three months on [Account Number]. This was noted on my credit report on [DATE] and my credit score has gone down.
The reason I was unable to make my regular payments is because I was in an automobile accident on DATE and broke both legs. I was in hospital for three weeks and in intense physical therapy for six more weeks. Because of this, I was unable to work, which is why I didn’t make loan payments. I have included a copy of my hospital bill.
I am fully recovered and started working again on [DATE]. I plan to begin making regular payments starting [DATE] and will gradually make up for the missing payments by adding a specific amount extra to each payment. I am requesting that you remove the late payments from my credit report. As you can see, until the accident, I always made my payments on time.
It is important for me to have a good credit score, so I can get other lines of credit, buy a new car and support myself. I understand that you may not be able to completely remove the lateness, but I hope it can be mitigated to some extent.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my request. I can be reached at [Phone Number] or at [Email Address] if you have any questions or need any more information.
Signature of Consumer
Printed Name of Consumer
List of Enclosures
By Andre Bradley