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Goodwill Letters: Do they still work with creditors?

Goodwill letters still work even if the creditor says it's against the law to delete a negative item. It's not against the law, keep pursuing
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Question: Is this still true? I recently had two different creditors tell me they no longer have the authority to remove late payments as a goodwill jesture due to a law that was passed to stop it. [Goodwill Letter. Infrequent, rare late payments can be deleted by the original creditor. Write a goodwill letter and request the creditor remove the late payment. Many times creditors, as a gesture of good customer service, will remove late payments, especially if you have been a good customer in the past.]

Did they cite the law? I my guess is not. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates if a furnisher of information (creditor) reports information to the credit bureaus, that information must be accurate.

Keep this in mind, any company that furnishes information to the credit bureaus which includes, lenders, banks, credit card companies, retailers, finance companies, cable and utility companies, is under no legal obligation to report any consumer credit history to the credit bureaus in the first place. Therefore, it’s in their sole discretion to remove whatever information they report.

Credit laws apply only when a creditor chooses to report consumer credit information. The FCRA says the information reported must be accurate.

A creditor may send you a standard reply to your goodwill request that says something like this “we are required to report complete and accurate information to the nationwide consumer reporting agencies; therefore, we are unable to honor your request.” They neglect to tell you it is within their power to remove what they reported even if what they report is “accurate.”

It would be closer to the truth if the creditor simply tells consumers that the credit bureaus, not the law, have a policy that creditors not delete accurate information from consumer’s credit files.

Credit bureaus are profit corporations in “business” of selling consumer credit reports. To that end, credit bureaus want their customers to have access to a consumer’s complete credit history (good and bad).


Credit bureaus have a vested business interest in preserving the completeness of the consumer credit histories that are sold to their customers. The value of consumer credit reports depends on their completeness.

It is not uncommon for furnishers of information (creditors) to erroneously cite the FCRA as preventing deletion, when in fact it is based on their agreement with the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus have a stated policy that furnishers are not to delete accurate reporting based on the consumer having paid the debt.

Goodwill letters still work.

Don’t contest the creditor’s refusal to delete based on any information I just provided. It’s really not an issue you can dispute unless there was a mistake reported to the credit bureaus.

Keep your cool and be patient because goodwill is just that — A goodwill gesture extended by the creditor. You can’t force it and there are no laws stating a creditor has to grant your goodwill request. It’s up to you how long you want to pursue deletion. This can be an issue involving sheer will. If you are willing to go the distance it might just pay off. Getting your goodwill request in front of the right eyes can make the difference.

All I can suggest is keep trying – going up the chain of command, and not simply sending the goodwill request to a customer service representative. In other words, do some digging. That means repeated letter writing, phone calls, emailing, carrier pigeon…well maybe not the pigeon. But you get the picture.

Find upper management, a vice president, even a CEO. All it takes is one person with decision making power to say yes.

Yes, goodwill letters still work.  Be persistent and currently paying on time if the account is still open. If the creditor denies your request, send it again to someone else. The greater the number of people that read your goodwill letter, the greater the chance you have of one of those people granting your goodwill removal request.

The best of luck to you.

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