Everyone by now has probably gotten at least one email, junk mail, or other type of solicitation concerning Credit Repair. The truth is that around 80% of Americans have credit issues they need to deal with so there is a huge market for credit repair services.
But with every large market there is one thing you can be sure of. It will also draw out the unethical people and the scammers and thieves as well. In this article I will tell you about some of the scams and offer you a little free advice on how to avoid credit repair scams and rip-offs.
The first thing that should be discussed is that anytime something sounds too good to be true it most likely is. When you hear or read the words, “Free”, you should beware. My own website has the word free in it because I actually provide free information. However, if you were to want me to do all that is necessary to repair your credit, you can bet you’d have to pay me for the service.
So, when you see someone offering to fix your credit for free, ask yourself, “How can anyone work for me for free?” Some claim to be a nonprofit organization only there because they are interested in helping people fix their credit.
There may actually be one out there that does this and if you ever dig them up email me a link. For the most part I would be even more leery of those that claim to be a nonprofit. Even the federal government is now looking into credit repair organizations that claim to be nonprofit.
What these companies or credit repair clinics do is something you can do for yourself. They dispute claims by creditors. You can do this by going to the big three, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion Corporation. If the creditors fail to respond within 30 days, then the item is removed from your credit report.
Sounds great right? Well, not exactly. Even if the creditor fails to respond in the 30 day time period, they can still add the item back onto your credit report. That means that the money you paid for someone to do that for you was wasted. You can get a free credit report from each of these companies once per year. So that is three times per year that you can check up on your credit report.
According to the Federal Trade Commission Website, “A federal judge has ruled that a bogus credit repair company and its owner violated the law by making false and misleading claims, and billing in advance for its services, and has ordered them to pay more than $322,000. This action was a result of “Project Credit Despair,” a crackdown on 20 operations that deceptively claimed they could remove negative information from consumers’ credit reports – even if that information was accurate and timely.”
If the information on your credit report is accurate and timely, there is no one that can get that removed for you. The best thing you can do in that case is to contact the company and make some type of arrangements to pay off the debt. Offer a cash settlement that is less than the total amount owed and sometimes they will help you and take the offer. You have nothing to lose by making that offer and everything to gain.
The FTC advises that only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan can improve your credit report. The first step is to learn what information is in your credit report. If you find errors or mistakes, federal law gives you the right to have them corrected – free of charge. Federal law requires that the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, if you ask for it. To order your free report, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete and mail the Annual Credit Report Request Form. Other credit repair information is available on the FTC’s Web site, http://www.ftc.gov.
I hope this article has helped you to understand about credit repair. There are some legitimate companies out there. Just beware of any that tell you that they can remove items from your credit report that are legitimate debts. If they offer to negotiate directly with creditors or help you consolidate your debt, then you may benefit from using professionals. However, on the debt consolidation part, watch that you do not end up paying a higher percentage for interest than you are currently.