OK, so you can file this one under, “Nobody ever says yes if you don’t ask.”

To that end, getting a favorable response from a goodwill letter is a hit or miss proposition. Doing it won’t guarantee a positive result. However, not doing it assures a negative one.

With that in mind, here’s how to go about requesting a goodwill deletion from your credit report.

What is a Goodwill Deletion?

At its essence, it’s a request that a negative entry on your credit report be stricken because of extenuating circumstances. This generally works best when your credit history is otherwise pristine. With the goodwill letter, you’re asking a creditor to cut you a break and remove a negative entry from your credit report.

Your best shot at this, of course, comes after you’ve cleared the problem that led them to lodge the adverse notation in the first place. This letter should be an acknowledgment of the circumstance, a description of the action you took to make it right and your request for forgiveness.

Why Bother?

For 35 percent of your credit score, your payment history is the most significant aspect of your creditworthiness. A single late or missed payment can lower your score by 110 points.

Moreover, that unflattering notation can linger there for seven to ten years.

Meanwhile, the higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved and the lower the interest rate you’ll get on it. In other words, an accepted goodwill deletion letter could be the difference between qualifying and not qualifying for one. It can also make a significant difference in the overall cost of that loan should it be granted.

Acceptable Circumstances Include

Again, guarantees are nonexistent. However, certain circumstances have seen more favorable responses than others. 

These include:

  • A financial hardship, like the loss of a job or a divorce
  • A medical emergency
  • A paymenst was improperly processed by the creditor
  • You didn’t get the bill because you moved

You can also request a goodwill deletion as part of a debt relief agreement when you pay a delinquent account in full.

What to Include

Writing in a kind and respectful tone, it’s always good to start with the amount of time you’ve been a good customer with no prior issues. Spell out how long you’ve had the account and that you’ve always paid on time — if you have.

Don’t exaggerate your virtue, as the person on the other end will most assuredly look into your records to confirm the validity of your assertions. Explain the situation as clearly and succinctly as possible, outlining the reason for the delinquency and listing the steps you’re taking to ensure things stay on track going forward.

Explain how the entry is hindering some aspect of your life, whether it’s making it difficult for you to qualify for a needed home repair loan, or some other serious issue. Close by formally requesting the goodwill deletion from your credit report and expressing gratitude for them considering your request.

Include your name, account number and mailing address to make it easier to research your account.

Sometimes it Works/Sometimes it Doesn’t

As we mentioned at the top of the page, there are instances in which this will be effective and there are those when your request will be denied.

There’s no real rhyme or reason here.

However, one thing is certain; the answer will definitely be no if you don’t ask.