Starting a new year is a fresh opportunity and most people typically go into it full of optimism. The idea of a new start means that virtually anything is possible. A new year, a new you, a new start. The elephant in this article, however, is “Should I trust someone else with my credit repair?”. This question is a difficult one to answer because it’s not completely black and white. Before you decide on the answer, here are the facts;
Fact #1 Credit repair companies cannot do anything for you that you cannot do for yourself
Fact #2 Any adverse items on your credit report that may be pulling your score down are, going to stay there if they are accurate.
So, if a credit repair company makes promises to such as, “We’ll remove all negative information including bankruptcies and judgements” consider yourself warned. Companies that make these types of promises in exchange for up front payment should be of particular concern and you should proceed with extreme caution. As credit professionals, and leaders in the credit repair industry, we can attest that the primary factors in improving ones credit are time, a good plan for debt reduction, and consistency.
Like any other industry, there are many unsavory credit repair organizations in operation. Unfortunately, consumers with a sincere and genuine desire to improve their credit worthiness and economic standing have lost thousands of dollars to underhanded and dishonest scammers who accept payment and offer nothing to improve their credit in exchange. For your safety, the Federal Trade Commission has published the following warning signs:
- The company recommends that you do not make direct contact with the credit bureau.
- The company fails to disclose your legal rights.
- The company advises you to create a “new credit identity”, dispute ALL the information in your credit report, even if it is correct, or any other action that seems illegal (Applying for credit using false information is considered mail or wire fraud and is punishable by Federal Law).
According to the Federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies are required to furnish a clearly written contract detailing the specific services they will be performing. This contract should include a statement of how long the services need to be in place before you can expect to see results, the total cost to you, an outline of any applicable guarantees, and a three-day right to cancel without charge.
The cold, hard truth is that accurate information, no matter how negative it may be, will stay on your credit report for seven years. Bankruptcies can be reported for up to ten years. Criminal information can stay on for a lifetime. Take this into consideration before you decide to pay for any help with your credit.
Where you will receive the most benefit from a legitimate credit repair company is with incorrect information on your credit report. While you can fix these items yourself most individuals don’t. Everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year with the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You can download your free report by clicking here. Additionally, if you have been denied insurance, credit, or employment due to your credit within the last 30 days, this also entitles you to a free copy of your credit report.
Once you receive your report, begin looking for mistakes or outdated items. Again, you can dispute these for free. However, the process in many cases can become cumbersome and overwhelming. You will need to explain why you are disputing, provide copies of documents, and request an investigation. These items should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate your dispute. Contacting the company that reported the inaccurate information is also a useful way to have incorrect items corrected.
If the dispute ends in your favor, the credit bureau will be required to make the appropriate corrections to your report. You are also free to request that they send the corrected credit report to anyone who was the recipient of your report in the past six months (two years retro for prospective employers).
If the dispute does not end in your favor, you may request that your credit report includes a statement from you detailing your dispute.
No credit is beyond repair. By remain consistent and committed to credit improvement you achieve LuxuriousCREDIT. Some creditors are even willing to consider your most recent credit history. As long as you show steady improvement, a strike or two on your credit report may not set you back.We are here to guide and assist you in the process in every way possible. Progress over perfection is the key.