If you have late payment or some other negative information on your credit report that are “minor” and all other efforts to remove them have failed, you can try using a letter of “goodwill” to have the negative information removed from your credit file.
A goodwill letter is a strategy to use for negative accounts that you’ve already paid.
What is a Goodwill Letter?
A goodwill letter can be sent to creditors, pleading for their compassion and asking to remove or stop reporting negative information from your credit report. Creditors are not obligated to remove accurate information from your credit report, but some creditors you’ve been doing business with for a long time may decide to accept your plead, make a gesture to you and remove (or stop reporting) the negative information.
You can also make a goodwill request over the phone, but customer service representative do not have the required authority to grant your request. A written letter stands more chances of getting to the hands of someone with authority to accept your plead.
Credit card companies, banks, and other creditors have an interest in keeping their customer satisfaction levels high. So if your relationship with the creditor has been long, he has an interest in granting your plead.
When to use a goodwill letter?
You can achieve some level of success with Goodwill letters on two conditions:
- The negative item you’re pleading them to remove “minor”. For example, if you have a single late payment on otherwise good credit history, you may convince the creditor to remove (or to stop reporting) this late payment.
- You can plead a creditor to remove a negative item only after you’ve corrected the situation (i.e. your current once again after being late). Don’t expect anyone to remove a charge-off. It’s a complete waste of time.
Guidelines for writing a goodwill letter
Here are some key elements to follow if you want to improve your letter’s chance of success. Remember that your goal is to show genuine kindness and remorse. Whether you’re expressing kindness, gratitude, remorse or appreciation – be sincere. Most people can tell when you are not.
- Your goal is to show genuine kindness, so keep the tone of the letter friendly and respectful.
- Thank the company for the service they provided you.
- Keep your letter focused and short.
- Take responsibility for the late payment.
- Define the reason that caused you to miss a payment.
- Explain why it is important for you to have your account amended (e.g. you’re preparing to apply for a mortgage and this late payment is the only thing that stands between you and getting the mortgage).
- Thank them for taking the time to read your letter.
Each case may require a different letter, but you can use this sample letter as a good starting point and make the necessary adjustments.
Send your goodwill letter to the creditor’s address listed on your credit report’s “Contact Information” section. If there’s no address on the credit report or if you don’t receive a response in two weeks, look for another address on the creditor’s website.