Credit Repair, Do It Yourself or Pay For Services?

Should you pay a "credit repair" company or can you improve or repair your credit report yourself?

debt free credit repair


You have probably seen a TV  commercial or pop up ad that claims that "so-n-so credit repair company" can remove:

  • negative items from your credit report
  • history of late payments
  • judgments
  • bankruptcy
  • charge offs

Sounds like it is "too good to be true", right?

Well, you know the old saying...."if is sounds too good to be true, it probably is"!

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three top independent reporting agencies.

Many people think they are non-profit or government agencies, but they are not.

They collect data and put it in a report to sell for profit!  There's nothing wrong with that, but it is important to understand that the credit reporting bureaus are in business to make a profit.

After they gather information about your credit, a report is then sold to creditors, individuals or other companies seeking information about you in order to determine your "credit worthiness".

Here is a quote from a portion of a very good article entitled:

                 How Credit Scores Affect the Price of Credit and Insurance

Information about you and your credit experiences, like your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, whether you pay your bills by the date they’re due, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts, is collected from your credit report.

Using a statistical program, creditors compare this information to the loan repayment history of consumers with similar profiles.

For example, a credit scoring system awards points for each factor that helps predict who is most likely to repay a debt. A total number of points — a credit score — helps predict how credit worthy you are — how likely it is that you will repay a loan and make the payments when they’re due.


So what happens when you find out that you have a low or poor credit score due to errors or incorrect information on your credit report?

You could seek the help of a reputable, credit repair company, but be careful!!!!

A good, reputable, credit repair company should not charge exorbitant up-front fees and should only be paid AFTER THE ERROR(S) have been removed.

But why pay for something you could do yourself?

Here's what you can do for yourself:

First, you will need a current credit report.

The law allows all consumers to receive a FREE Credit Report from all 3 of the credit reporting agencies annually.

Click here or go to

NEXT, study your credit report carefully.

Don't be surprised to find errors, such as:

  • Balances on accounts you know and can prove that you have paid off
  • Judgments that have been satisfied
  • Mistakes about your personal information, such as name change, age, social security number, address, etc.
  • Accounts that should have been removed because they have exceeded your state's statute of limitations.
  • Accounts that you have no idea about and know for certain you never opened


This is called "frivoulous" and could result in you getting into serious trouble!

But, if you find errors or inaccuracies, and have proof that it is indeed an error or the information reporting is inaccurate, you must INITIATE A DISPUTEwith each credit reporting companies.

The best way to do this is to go on line and complete each credit reporting agencies form for disputing an error.

Here are the links to the top three credit reporting agencies:

Equifax disputes

Experian disputes

TransUnion disputes


  • The credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question and this must be done within 30 days!
  • The credit reporting company must forward the date that you provided to the creditor or collection agency reporting the information.
  • If the creditor or collection agency cannot dispute your claim, it must notify each of the credit reporting companies to remove the incorrect information from you file.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must send you the results, in writing plus a free copy of your credit report showing the changes have been made.
  • You may also request that the credit reporting company send notices of these corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the last 180 days.

However, if you do not have access to a compute to file your dispute on line, then you will need to WRITE A LETTER (CTA) and mail it by CERIFIED REGISTERED MAIL.

After you have initiated the dispute, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!

Although going online is the best way to initiate a dispute, you may need to call the credit reporting agency directly:

       Equifax                 888-202-4025

       Experian               888-397-3742

        TransUnion          800-916-8800



If you absolutly, without a doubt know that the listed accounts is not yours (you never opened and have no idea where it came from), then you can demand that the creditor to VALIDATE THE ACCOUNT.

This is a little different than disputing inaccurate information.

You must write a letter to each of the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and challenge the account asking the original creditor to PROVE that it is valid.

You should enclose a copy (don't send the whole report or original) of the portion of your credit report with the item(s) that you are disputing circle and/or highlighted.

Once again, the credit reporting companies have 30 days to forward and request your dispute.


Most creditors and/or collection agencies think that the average consumer will not go to all of the trouble to either DISPUTE A DEBT OR REQUEST THAT THE DEBT BE VALIDATED!

One woman in Bend, Oregon won a lawsuit against Equifax of a reported $18.6 Million because Equifax failed to correct her credit report!

But what if you find out that the debts are valid?

You may be able to have them removed due to the statute of limitaions or through DEBT SETTLEMENT for a 50% or more savings!



Photo Credit to Chris Potter and




Tags: debt validation, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, credit reporting companies, credit report dipute

Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop

Here's some very helpful tips on how to put a stop to wage garnishment in Oregon.

First you must understand that a debt collector cannot simply be awarded a wage garnishment for unsecured debts without first having gone through the legal process:

  • File a claim in your county courthouse
  • A SUMMONS is delivered to you
  • Default judgment is awarded if no settlement can be reached
  • Apply for a Writ of Garnishment

OK, you've been having a very challenging time, financially due to circumstances beyond your control, such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Fixed income of retirement
  • Disability

Although you have done your best to try and keep up with your minimum payments, a couple of your accounts have been turned over to a COLLECTION AGENCY, and they have been calling day and night...driving you nuts!



STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter


Most debt collectors and debt collection agencies are willing to work out a repayment and/or settlement of the debt you owe.

Having said, " owe...", let's make sure that you really do owe the debt before you pay for something you shouldn't.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a debtor who feels that they do not owe the debt claimed by the creditor/collector to require a DEBT VALIDATION.

After you write a letter demanding that the debt collector validate the debt, they must not only stop collection activity (calls, letters, etc.), but provide you with proof that the debt is legitimate.

Some debt collectors are actually "debt purchasers", who buy lists of so-called debts at pennies-on-the-dollar, hoping to get someone to pay who may or may not actually owe the debt.

Here's a FREE Sample Letter for you to use:

One more thing about making sure you actually owe this debt:

Make sure the STAUTE OF LIMITATIONS for you state has not expired.

For example, in my home state, Oregon, the statue of limitations on unsecured debt is 6 years.  This means that if there has been no payments on this account for over 6 years, the debt must be removed from all credit reporting agencies and cannot be collected on any more!

So, now that you have determined if the debt is legitimately yours, it's time to contact the debt collector.

Prepare yourself for a small battle on this!  These are professional debt collectors and they are usually paid a percentage of what they can get you to pay.

Tell them you intend to pay the debt, but you just don't have anything now.

Don't let them trick you into paying just a little bit ($25 or so) "to keep the account in this office" or "to keep the account from going to the legal department".  If the account has passed statute of limitations, that "little payment", could reset the clock!!!

But, for the sake of this blog, Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop, if you have received notice of a wage garnishment, here's what you can do:

Your employer has no choice but to comply with a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  If they ignore it or do not reply, they could receive a hefty fine!

But, make sure that you are making enough money to qualify for a garnishment!  In Oregon, if you take home income is about $850-$900 or so, they you cannot be garnished.

Here's the Oregon site that will help.

Just make sure your employer is aware of the exemption limits.

By the way, if you are receiving certain types of income, these cannot be garnished.

Basically, all retirement income, social security, disiability income, etc. is exempt. 

Check out the complete list here.

But if your income is not exempt, then to put a stop to a wage garnishment, you must contact the debt collector and/or attorney for the debt collector and arrange a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.  

You will need to be prepared to demonstrate to the debt collector or attorney that you are in a very bad financial situation and the wage garnishment will force you into bankruptcy unless they agree to a stipulated agreement.

Prepare a basic household budget showing all of your income and expenditures.  You may have to provide a couple of months of bank account statements and maybe a pay stub or two.

But if you can demonstrate how bad things are, they may be willing to enter into a stipulated agreement.

Now, if by chance you could find a large lump sum, say 50% -75% of the balance, they may and most likely, will take that as a settlement and release the judgment.

I know, but maybe you have someone who could help...just asking.

Of course, if you get the Stipulated Agreement or Settlement Agreement, make sure to get it in writing!

The real key to stopping a wage garnishment in Oregon or any state for that matter is to be pro-active.  Don't just ignore the letters and especially don't ignore the summons.

In most cases, a debt collector will be willing to work with you.






Tags: credit card debt, debt collectors, debt validation, how to stop collection calls, credit repair, how to prevent wage garnishment, how to stop a wage garnishment, credit reporting agencies

Debt Settlement and Colleciton Agencies

debt settlement and colection agenciesIf you have an old credit account that has been placed with a collection agency, you may be able to settle that debt for less than the balance.

How to settle debt with collection agencies

#1 If you are not sure you owe the debt, you have the right to request a DEBT VALIDATION from the debt collector.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), every consumer has the right to make the company trying to collect a debt PROVE that you actually owe it.

You must write a letter and it should be something like this:

To whom it may concern:

Although I received a letter dated (date on the letter) from you demanding payment of the above debt, I do not think that I owe it and request that you VALIDATE THE DEBT according to the FDCPA, 15 USC 169g Sec. 809 (b).

Please provide the following:

  • Produce copies or the original contract that you say I signed, showing the date and my signature.
  • Provide a calculation that explains how you have arrived at the balance you say I owe.
  • Provide proof that your agency is registered in my state or why you have an exclusion.

If you can provide the above documentation, I will need at least 30 days to determine if this information is correct and again, according to the FDCPA, all collection activity must cease.

Looking forward to clearing this matter,

Your signature

Print your name


Send the letter by CERTIFIED MAIL to prove that the collection company received it.

#2 If the debt collector does provide proof that you owe the debt, you should negotiate a settlement for less than the amount owed.

This can be tricky as these collectors are professionally trained to do whatever it takes to get you to pay as much as possible!

#3 If you get a settlement offer, make sure you GET IT IN WRITING!

Regardless of what the debt collector says, they can and MUST provide you with a letter, fax or email of the terms you agreed. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT authorize any type of payment without the settlement agreement in writing.

Once the payment has cleared, you should get a letter from the collection agency stating that the account has been "settled as agreed".

Your proof of payment (canceled check, bank statement showing a check-by-phone transaction for the amount agreed) along with the SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, will be enough to prove that you have paid this debt as agreed if it ever surfaces in the future.

If this seems overwhelming or if you have questions, we can help.  Simply give us a call or click on the link below for a FREE debt elimination summary.

Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, debt validation

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 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

How to Stop Debt Collectors with Debt Validation

stop debt collectors with debt validationYour getting calls from a debt collector, but you do not believe you owe the debt. 

Learn how to stop debt collectors with debt validation.

First, you need to understand a little about debt collection and the process a creditor may use (and many time abuses) to collect that debt.

You have a credit card with a balance of $5000, but you have been unable to pay the minimum payments because you lost your job or have some other financial hardship.

  • The creditor  sends your account to their internal collections or recovery department.
  • You start getting calls and letters trying to get you to pay up!
  • If they are unsuccessful, they will most likely “assign” or “sell” the debt to a collection agency.
  • Now the collection agency starts to call and call and call (HOW TO STOP COLLECTION CALLS) and send letters demanding immediate payment.

Since you know that you owe the debt, this is not the time to use DEBT VALIDATION in order to stop the collection efforts.

You only have a few options at this point:

But, for the purpose of this article, let’s say that you believe one or more of the following:

  • Do not believe that you owe the debt the debt collector claims.
  • Believe the statue of limitations has run out on this debt
  • Not sure if you owe the debt and want to make sure it is valid
  • Think you paid this debt off a long time ago and don’t owe anything now
  • Ran a credit report and saw this debt listed and you think it should not be as you paid it in a settlement.

Here’s what you can do to Validate your Debt:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives us the legal authority to request a validation of a debt claimed by a collection agency.

Send a certified letter (so you have proof of receipt) demanding validation of the debt to the collection agency within in 30 days of receiving the letter from the collector.

Sample Letter:

Reference your name, address, etc. and the name of the collection agency, address, etc. at the top.

Reference your account and account number.  If the collection agency has assigned as special account number, reference that as well.


To whom it may concern:

I received a letter dated (date on the letter) from you demanding payment of the above debt.

I do not believe I owe this debt and pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, 15 USC 169g Sec. 809 (b), I am requesting a validation of this debt.

Please provide the following:

  • Produce copies of any papers that show that I agreed to pay what you say I owe as well as a copy of my signature and date on those documents.
  •  Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if this applies to this alleged debt.
  •  Provide proof that your agency is registered in my state.

If you can provide the above documentation, I will need at least 30 days to determine if this information is correct and again, according to the FDCPA, all collection activity must cease.

Looking forward to clearing this matter,

Your signature

Print your name



There are several other demands that can be made, but at this time, your goal is to verify the debt.  If you do not get a receipt of delivery of your registered letter, call the collection agency to verify the address and send again.

  • It will most likely take the collection agency 30 days or so to get back to you.
  • If they do not get back to you, then this most likely will be the end of it.
  • You should wait a couple of months and then check your credit report to see if this debt is listed (or still listed).

If the calls and letters have stopped and it is still listed, you can request the credit bureaus to remove the listing by providing copies of your letters, no response, etc.

I’ll write more about the debt validation process and more options in later blogs, but in the meantime, if you need help, let us know.  (1-877-492-4109)


Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt settlement, debt validation

DIY Credit Repair in 5 Simple Steps

diy credit repairThese days, more than ever, consumers are worried about their credit history and seeking credit help. It’s no wonder with up to 70% of credit reports containing very serious errors.

A bad credit history doesn't have to be a life sentence. If you educate yourself in how the credit reporting system works, you can work to remove issues caused by a divorce, bankruptcy, collection account or judgment. Bad or good credit has one thing in common. It must be verifiable. Fortunately for us, credit inaccuracies can be removed.

DIY credit repair is possible if you follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Get a complete copy of your credit report.

    There are three national credit bureaus:  Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can get a completely free copy of your credit report once per year from Once you have your credit reports, go over each one with a fine tooth comb. Scour the reports for errors such as inaccurate account information, incorrect home addresses, duplicate accounts and false information. Many times you will find small errors like credit limit, balance, date opened/closed and payment history and fixing those errors can make a huge difference on how your credit looks.

    2.  Dispute the errors.

      Once you determine the errors, highlight each one and attach a credit repair letter and a copy of the credit report explaining the nature of your dispute. Send off the letter and a copy of the report to the corresponding credit bureau. Wait about 30 days to get a response from the credit bureau reflecting the correction and continue this process until you have cleaned up all inaccurate, false or outdated or unverifiable information. Credit bureaus can only report a negative credit history for 7 years from first serious delinquency or charge off so be careful to look for outdated information.

      PO Box 740241
      Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
      (800) 685-1111

      760 W. Sproul Rd.
      Springfield, PA 19064-0390
      (800) 888-4213

      PO Box 2104
      Allen, TX 75013-0949
      (888) 397-3742

      Keep a paper trail of everything! Your proof of all your hard work will be in your documentation so be sure to keep copies of everything. Send your credit repair disputes by certified mail so that you get a receipt back showing the dispute was delivered to the credit bureau. Credit bureaus receive millions of pieces of mail so don't think your dispute won't get lost in the shuffle. You may need all that documentation later if you find the bureau being resistant.

      3. Go directly to the source

        Sometimes you may find that the credit bureau has determined your information to be timely and accurate. You may feel differently about it and may even have a good argument. That is when it is time to turn your attention to the creditor who is reporting it. The creditor holds all the power in how they report your accounts and ultimately they are the one who can remove a negative mark.

        Some strategies to dealing with the creditor is to provide them with a written history of what you believe happened. Maybe they charged a late fee inappropriately or maybe they agreed to re-age a late payment but did not follow through or possibly you had an agreement with them to remove a negative mark in exchange for settling a debt. Follow the same strategy as above getting everything in writing and keeping good records of exactly who you spoke to and where you mailed your credit repair letters.

        4.  Validate the remaining debt

          Use your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to question the validity of the debt. If they cannot prove it- they cannot collect or report it- simple as that! Do not forget to check the Statute of Limitations - you may not even have to pay it.

          5.  Negotiate the debts that you owe

            Once you have completed all the steps above you will probably be left with a few accounts that you do need to pay off such as outstanding credit card debt and collections that you legitimately owe.  By dealing with the collection agency in writing you can begin to negotiate a reduced payoff in exchange for a better rating or a deletion of the negative account. This can be very effective in wiping out negative credit. A collection agency is more interested in getting your money than reporting the debt. They only report it as a tool to get you to contact them because they know eventually that bad mark will be in your way of getting a car, home loan or job.

            As always, Keep Everything! Get everything in writing especially settlement offers. If you don't they may cash your check and leave the nasty mark on your credit. Move onto someone else within the agency if the person you are dealing with is impossible. Ask for a superior. Never let the debt collector know that you are paying off the bill because you are trying to get a loan. They will have you right where they want you if you do.

            DIY Credit Repair

            Tags: debt settlement, debt validation, diy credit repair

            The Importance of Debt Validation

            Debt relief programs are rapidly increasing in popularity. When creditors are breathing down your back, you need someone to help you take care of the problem.  However, you want to make sure that you actually owe those debts before you pay them. This is when the process of Debt Validation becomes extremely important. Debt validation, in simple terms, is the process where a debt collector proves that you owe the debt they are trying to collect.

            When a creditor is unable to collect the money owed to them, they will usually hire a collection agency to collect the money for them.  Often, the debt is actually sold to agencies and is considered “junk debt.” Junk debt is purchased by third parties for pennies on the dollar. These collectors often do not have the correct documentation to prove that the debt is really owed. This is why debt validation is important.

            If these collection agencies cannot prove that you owe the debt, then you don't have to pay it.  You may have already paid off the debt, but the orriginal creditor did not notify the collection agency. Other times, the orriginal creditor has simply charged the debt off.

            To complete a validation, you must ask a debt collector for proof of debt. This is done after a collector informs you of the debt. You have 30 days to request proof of the debt or the collection agency will assume that it is valid and continue in their collection efforts.  However, you can request a validation of the debt at any time. This process is designed to keep honesty in the debt collection industry.

            Before you pay a debt that you are unsure of, complete the debt validation proccess. If the collection agency cannot provide proof that the debt is yours, you will not have to pay it! 

            The proccess of Debt Validation is simple, and you can definitely do it yourself.  Use our FREE GUIDE to DIY Debt Validation by clicking on the link below, and get started today!


            Tags: debt relief programs, debt validation, dealing with debt collectors

            Debt Validation

            debt validationIf a debt collector contacts you and claims you owe a debt, how can you make them prove that you still owe it?

            Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the legal right to make the debt collector prove the validity of the debt.

            Every collector must send you a written “Validation Notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.

            When you receive a letter from a debt collector, it basically states that you have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt and that if you do not, then the debt will deemed to be valid. If you don't think you owe the debt, then you must send a WRITTEN REQUEST to the collector within 30 days of receiving the validation request.

            Your Debt Validation letter should say something like:

            Dear XYZ Collections:

            I am sending this letter in response to a letter (or phone call) I received on (date).

            Your reference number is 123456789.

            I am requesting that you provide validation of this debt according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

            If you do not provide validation, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and your state's Attorney General for Civil and/or Criminal claims.


            Your Name
            Your Address

            It is best that you send the request via certified mail with a return receipt request.  This way, you can prove that they received it.As soon as the collector receives the written request, they cannot contact you unless it is to provide you with proof that the debt is valid.

            After receiving your request, the collection agency must send you proof that it owns or has been assigned the debt by the original creditor. It is not considered validation for the collection agency to state that you owe the debt. They must provide documentation from original creditor. 

            If the debt collector does not respond to your request within 30 days, they may not continue to attempt to collect the debt from you nor can they list the debt on your credit report. However, if the debt collector does list the debt on your credit report, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureau.

            Key Debt Validation Takeaways:

            1. You have the legal right to make any debt collector prove the validity of the debt they are trying to collect.
            2. Once you receive a collections letter, send them a Debt Validation Letter via Certified Mail.  The creditor mus receive this letter within 30 days.
            3. If a creditor falsely reports a debt to your credit report, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureau.


            Tired of Collection Calls? Click the link below for a Free Report:

            debt validation

            phot by: Eleaf

            Tags: debt collection, fdcpa, debt validation