Credit Repair: Fact vs. Fiction!

Before you pay for "Credit Repair", you need to know what is FACT and what is FICTION!

Beware of claims from so-called Credit Repair Companies like:

Warning!

  • We will remove negative items, bankruptcies, judgments, liens from your credit report!
  • Improve your credit score by 50 to 100 points!
  • Erase all bad credit...guaranteed!
  • Create a new identity!

 

Sound a little too good to be true? 

 

No one can LEGALLY remove correct or accurate information that is reported on your credit report.

After all, a credit report is a recorded history of how you have used credit.  There are many factors that go intor formulating a CREDIT SCORE

There are three major three Credit Reporting Agencies:

Although each uses a slightly different set of criteria for determining and assigning a credit score, they are basically the same.

Although you cannot remove accurate information from your credit report, YOU CAN HAVE INACCURATE INFORMATION REMOVED!

We are all entitled to receive a FREE CREDIT REPORT annually. I believe it is a very good practice to request your credit report each year to make sure there are no mistakes or inaccurate information being reported!

You are also entitled to receive a copy of your credit report used by a company that denied your application for:

  • Credit
  • Insurance
  • Employment

You have to request it within 60 days of receiving notice of denial, so don't wait too long!

If you find errors or inaccurate information on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit reporting agencies (yes, you may have to contact all three is the same information appears on each credit report).

You can either write a letter or go to the credit reporting agencie's website.  I believe going on line is the most efficient way to dispute items.

You will need to have:

A copy of the errors on your credit report.  You don't have to send or include the entire credit report.  Just circle the items you are disputing.

Next, you must explain or prove why your are filing the dispute. 

For example:

Let's say that you had a credit card that was completed paid off a few months ago and the credit report is still showing a balance.

You will need a canceled check or bank statement showing the payments or series of payments to the credit card company.  You may be able to get a copy of a letter or statement from your credit card company by calling or going to the credit card company's website.

Make a copy (.pdf if filing on line) and include with a brief statement of why this item should be corrected. 

For example:

I am opening a dispute about the account I have circled on a copy of my credit report with your company. 

As you can see from the attached (or enclosed) statements, canceled check(s) and/or bank statements, this account has been paid in full.

Please make this correction as soon as possible.

Thank you,

(your name)

  • Not only does the credit reporting agency have to correct the error, IF YOU REQUEST, they must send a copy of the corrected report to anyone who got your report over the last 6 months!
  • If the error caused you to not get the job you applied for, again, IF YOU REQUEST, the credit reporting agency must send a corrected copy to anyone who got a copy for employment purposes over the last 2 years.


By law, the credit reporting agency must investigate your dispute within 30 days.

  • They must send the information you provide in your dispute to the company reporting the inaccurate information. 
  • After they company investigates and reviews the proofs you included about the disputed item, it must report back to the credit reporting agency as well as all other credit reporting agencies.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting agency must provide you with the results and a free copy of your correct credit report.

What about negative information on your credit report?

Unfortunately, negative items on your credit report cannot "magically disappear", regardless of the claims of some credit repair companies!

But over time, these items will be removed.

  • 7 years for most negative items
  • 10 years for bankruptcies
  • 7 years (in most states) for judgments

But what about those so-called "credit repair companies" that claim to be able to remove negative information?

Well, it's just not true.  In fact, you should read an article from the Federal Trade Commission's website about one credit repair company's penalties, etc.

Many credit repair companies use the VALIDATION LETTER technique.  While it is certainly legal and ethical to challenge inaccurate information on your credit report (as we discuss above), there are some (too many in my opinion) credit repair companies that ABUSE this  technique.

The rationalization is that the credit reporting agencies are some overwhelmed with disputes that often they will just correct and/or remove the disputed item without doing a thorough investigation.  After all, the credit reporting agencies are in business to make a profit.

So yes, maybe in some cases they will remove an item without much investigation, but the creditor reporting that information can (and most likely will) put the disputed information back on your report.

This type of CREDIT REPAIR FRAUD has caused many credit repair companies to be heavily fined or forced out of business over the last few years. 

And yet, for those who feel they cannot make disputes themselves or would be willing to pay for legitimate credit repair services, there are many solid, credible companies. Check with your state attorney general's office for a list of registered credit repair companies and also with the Better Business Bureau for complaints.

 

Photo Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/brook_lands/

 

 

 


 

 

 


Tags: credit report errors, credit reporting agencies, credit report dispute, credit report and credit score, credit reporting companies

Do It Yourself Credit Score Check Up

do it yourself credit score checkupWould you like to know how to improve your credit score?

 Here are a few very helpful tips you can use to do it yourself.

I've written several articles and blogs on the subject of Credit Repair, How to Improve Your Credit Score, How to Have Errors on Your Credit Report Corrected, etc. over the years.

When it comes to the subject of "CREDIT REPAIR", there are several misconceptions, but the most prevalent is that you can get the top three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to remove negative information from your credit report.!

You may have seen ads from the newspaper, TV, radio, on line or phone making claims such as:

  • "We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens and bad loans from your credit report!"
  • "We can erase bad credit!"
  • "We will help you create a new credit identity that is 100% legal!"

Credit Reporting agencies sell (that's right, they are in business to make a profit) your credit history to those who need to know that if they loan you money, you have (or have had in the past) the ability and track record to repay that loan!

Make sense?  Sure.  Then why would you think that you or some Credit Repair Company could magically make negative information disappear?

Yes, there are some credit repair companies who, in my opinion (and most likely your state's attorey general) have the methodology to have some negative items removed from your credit report for a short period of time or until the creditor realizes it and makes a claim to have it replaced!

Some people will pay a lot of money for this type of shady "credit repair" in order to get a loan or possibly qualify for an apartment or even for employment.

Be very careful of these claims!  They could come back to  haunt you!

The Federal Trade Commission has written many good articles on this subject and credit repair in general.

Here's a link to a very good article: CREDIT REPAIR: HOW TO HELP YOURSELF

OK, but what about LEGITIMATE ERRORS?

If you haven't done so already, you need a copy of your credit report (not necessarily your score at this time) from each of the top 3 Credit Reporting agencies.

If you have applied for credit, insurance or employment, and were denied, you can request a copy of the report, if you do it within 60 days.

You are entitled to a FREE CREDIT REPORT every 12 months.  Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Carefully check all of information on all 3 reports.

Make sure you name, social security number, address, etc. are correct.

What you are looking for is accounts that you know (and can prove) that you have paid off.

Also, depending on your state's statute of limitations, negative information in the past (charge offs, accounts that you were late paying often, etc.) can be removed after a certain number of years.

For example, if you live in Oregon, the statute of limitations is 6 years on most accounts.

But, the biggest thing you are looking for is for accounts that you have paid off and are still showing a balance or may have been turned over to a collection agency.

Make a copy of your the page of the credit report showing the account you wish to dispute.

  • Circle the account.

Gather the proof of payment:

  • Letter or account statement with $0 balance
  • Copies of check and/or money order you used (you may have to contact your bank or go on line)
  • Letter of satisfaction if you paid off a judgment

 

Now, you are going to write a letter with this information to EACH OF THE 3 CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES.

FREE GUIDE to

Yes, you can go on line and in many cases this works best, but somehow I think the "paper trail" of a letter with proof is more effective.

If you do not get a reply within 45 days, make sure to follow up!  Don't GIVE UP!

This is where I think it may be a good idea to hire a professional, ethical credit repair company to do this for you.

Yes, it will cost you some money, but there is a lot of time and effort that will go into challenging several items and you may not want to spend the time.

Check with your state's attorney general's office for a list of good, reliable credit repair companies.

If you live in Oregon, click here for a list of registered companies.

Comment on the subject of Credit Report Disputes:

Recently, I had written a blog about this subject and received a comment from a Credit Repair Company owner.

The blog was titled "Best Options for Credit Card Debt Relief" in which I listed and explained several ways to help get debt.

He commented and asked the question why I did not explain how to "fight for non payment of a credit card" rather than file for bankruptcy.

I understand and apprecitate the comment, but in my opinion, if you or I agree to repay a debt by taking out credit, then we have given our word...made a promise to repay and should do so if at all possible.

I don't think it is right to try an find a loophole such as they fact that a debt collector (as much as I don't like most of them) can't provide sufficient paper work to prove that the debt is legitimate in order to get out of paying a debt you know you owe.

On the other hand, I've had cases where after a creditor or collector agreed to accept less than the full balance due to the severe financial hardship of the consumer, the remaining balance showed up at another collection agency later.

Of course, in that case, you should (and we successfully did) dispute the claim.

I understand that there are many circumstances that happen that may make repayment impossible.

In those cases, if a Debt Management Program or a Debt Settlement Program can help, then a person should take advantage of such programs.

If things are so dire that neither program can help, then Bankruptcy may or should be the only option.

So, for your DO IT YOURSELF CREDIT SCORE CHECK UP:

  • Order a FREE Credit Report
  • Check for errors
  • Gather proof of payment
  • Write letters
  • Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!

If all of this sounds like TOO MUCH, we can help:


 

 

 

 

Tags: dispute errors on your credit report, credit repair, credit report, debt relief in Portland Oregon, credit report dispute, credit repair scams, credit card debt relief oregon, Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, credit reporting companies

3 Tips on How to Repair Your Credit Report

 3 tips to repair your credit report

Credit repair is a popular and often misused term.

If you have errors on your  credit report, here are 3 tips on how to repair  your credit report:

1.  If you haven't done so already, request a FREE COPY of your Credit Report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of consumer information on the nation's credit reporting agencies.

If you want to dispute items on the report, you need to follow some simple steps.

But first, you need to be aware that there are many so called "Credit Repair Companies" that are making claims like:

  • We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens and bad loans from your credit report!
  • We can remove all charge offs and bad credit history to improve your credit score!
  • Improve your credit score by 50-100 points in 30 days!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  You can accomplish the same thing on your own!

Understand that a Credit Report is a history of your credit...how much, what kind, repayment history, etc.

If you have had a rough time and missed payments or had accounts charged off and go to debt collectors, your credit report will reflect it and THERE IS NOTHING A CREDIT REPAIR COMPANY CAN DO ABOUT LEGITIMATE ITEMS.

However, if you have items on your credit report such as:

  • Accounts showing a balance when you know AND HAVE PROOF that you paid it off...
  • Items that still remain after the STATUE OF LIMITATIONS for your state has passed...
  • Address or employment errors...
  • Accounts that you don't have...AND CAN PROVE IT

...then, you can dispute those items yourself and with the proper proof and/or documentation, can have those items removed.

2. Gather evidence and proof for your dispute.

Let's say that there is a Visa account with a balance of $5,000 that you paid off either IN FULL or Settled for Less Than the Full Amount.

Get a copy of your cancelled check(s) or bank statements clearing showing that you have paid this account as agreed.

If you cannot find the proof, then you can try to make the creditor VALIDATE THE DEBT.

Mail a detail account along with copies (not originals) of your canceled checks or bank statements (make sure to black out bank account numbers) to each of the credit reporting agencies.

You can also go on line to each reporting agency, but I think the written proof mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL (so you can prove they received it) is much more efficient.

The credit reporting agencies will contact the disputed creditor or debt collector.

Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must provide you with a copy of the results and a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in a change.

3.  If you receive a letter from a debt collector and you don't think you owe the debt, MAKE THEM VALIDATE IT!

Many debt collection agencies BUY OLD DEBT at pennies on the dollar and try to collect. Some of the debts are legitimate and yet many are not. Because of the harsh language and threats of PENDING LEGAL ACTION, many consumers just pay the debt!

If you know that you don't owe the debt, send the same information as above the to debt collector.  Demand that they provide you with documentation of the original contract showing your signature and date.

If they cannot provide the documentation or if they deem it is too much trouble to investigate, they will cease collection activities.

If they do not provide documentation that clearly shows you owe the debt, and they continue to contact you, REPORT THEM TO YOUR STATE'S ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AND the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC).

If you find that you have old debts that you legitimately owe, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for much less than the balance!  We can help you through the process.  Simply give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click on the link below.

how to repair your credit

 

 



Tags: debt validation, credit repair, credit report, credit report dispute, credit report and credit score, credit report dipute, validate

Credit Repair Myths

credit repair mythsCredit Repair... Is it really possible?

There are several credit repair myths out there, but which ones are real and which ones are just plane untrue?  In this post, I will examine 4 common Credit Repair myths to shed some lite on the whole thing!

MYTH # 1:

If you have negative or derogatory accounts, a credit repair company can get them removed.

Although some negative or derogatory accounts can be removed from your credit report, a few of them cannot. Before you pay a fee to any company, make sure you "get in writing" their guarantees of what they can and cannot do for you.

If any company states that they can remove all negative items, RUN!

MYTH # 2:

If you are delinquent on an account and call the creditor to close that account, it will help your credit score.

Sorry, this one is not true either!  Inactivity and/or delinquency will damage your score.  FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) has information that tells you what is in and not in a credit report.

Unfortunately, your PAYMENT HISTORY accounts for 35% of your credit score, and closing the account will not change your payment history.

MYTH # 3:

If you add a statement to your credit report (up to 100 words), it will raise your credit score.

If you cannot get the  three major credit reporting agencies to remove inaccurate information or mistakes, you can opt to add a statement on your credit report.

Unfortunately, FICO usually does not see or use it in determining your credit score. Even though adding a statement might make you feel better, the effort may not be worth it.

MYTH # 4:

You cannot do anything on your own about improving your credit score!

This myth is absolutely FALSE! There are several things you can do to improve your credit scores:

Of course, the most important is to PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARDS AND ACCOUNTS in a timely manner.  There are no shortcuts to living up to your responsibility to repair what you agreed to repay!

But, if you see errors on your credit report, you can make requests to have these removed.  If you provide the proper documentation to prove you either did not incur the debt or that you have repaid the debt, it will be removed.

To contact the 3 major credit bureaus, click on the links below:

Want to read more about credit repair directly from the source, the Federal Trade Commission  has some good advice on How to Repair Your Credit

If you would like a FREE CONSULTATION about your situation, please let us know.  We have been helping people become DEBT FREE for many years, and may be able to help you too!

 

 

 

 


 

Tags: credit repair, credit report, credit card debt repair, credit report dispute

How to Repair Your Credit by Disputing Inaccuracies

 repair your credit

When you’ve got negative credit accounts all over your credit report, you’re going to want to do all you can to Repair Your Credit – especially if you believe the information reported is inaccurate.

Luckily, the credit bureaus understand that not all of the information they report is always correct, so they give you the option to dispute any credit account you think looks wrong via regular mail.

All 3 have since expanded their dispute departments to cover requests being made online, so you don’t even have to worry about your queries getting lost in the mail, or having to wait longer than a month for a response.  Simply sign onto the appropriate credit bureau’s website, check off which accounts you want disputed, leave an explanation for why you’re disputing the account and you’re done.

When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.  This is no excption.

The problem with keeping your disputes online only is that the process is so overly simplified that it almost completely cuts out the follow-up options you normally have available to you had you sent your dispute letters via regular mail.  Problems with the online-only approach don’t stop there; we also recommend you keep your disputes to regular, certified mail because:

You don’t get a copy of the dispute

Again, the credit bureaus’ online dispute page simply consists of you disputing an account, leaving a note on why you’re disputing it, and pushing Submit.  Once that’s done, you’re given no physical copy of the disputes for your records – something that can be easily avoided by sending the disputes via certified mail, and keeping copies for yourself.

You give up some of your rights by disputing online

If you take the time to read the Terms & Conditions of using the credit bureau’s online dispute service, you’ll see that by doing so, you’re entering into a binding arbitrary agreement with the credit bureaus that prevents you from taking them to court over your disputes.

If it comes down to it, you don’t want to give up your right to take the credit bureaus to court should they persist in reporting information that you know is inaccurate.

Once you have reviewed your credit report for innacuracies, chances are pretty good that there will be some debts left that you actually do need to re-pay.  There are great programs available to you such as Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement that can help you eliminate your debt quickly and save you money.

Our Solutions Specialists can help you decide which program fits your situation best.  Give us a call!

1-877-492-4109

repair you credit 

photo by: stephanie in love

Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, repair your credit, credit report dispute