There’s a lot of bad credit repair offers on the web today making bold claims to “increase your credit score by 100 points in 30 days! Guaranteed!” Or something like that. But beware! These bad credit repair systems can end up making your credit worse in the long run.
So what do you do if you’re faced with extreme errors?
For instance, a mortgage or car company that keeps reporting your payments as late, even though you’ve caught up (this happened to a friend of mine). These types of dings on your credit can keep you from getting good interest rates, and may even cause you to be turned down flat by lenders! It is estimated that 79% of all credit reports contain errors. That’s a lot of errors and these errors cost Americans millions of dollars in interest every year.
But going head on with a mortgage or auto lender is like the proverbial “tilting at windmills.” Once they ding your credit – they won’t write a letter to the credit bureau retracting it! That would open them up to all kinds of liability issues. This is when you need to seek credit repair legal advice.
But before you seek bad credit repair advice (from an attorney or any other company) we wanted to give you some helpful information so that you can make a more informed decision about what to do.
What Exactly is Credit Repair?
Credit repair is the term that refers to challenging inaccurate, misleading, or unverifiable information on credit reports to improve the credit score.
Is Credit Repair Legal?
Yes, but there are illegal credit repair programs you should be aware of! For example, while it is legal to challenge negative items on your credit reports that you believe to be inaccurate, misleading or unverifiable, the accurate information is supposed to remain on your credit report. It is also entirely illegal to create a “new” identity by applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to use instead of your own Social Security Number. An EIN number is the number that the IRS gives to a corporation for tax purposes. To use this for credit repair is called file segregation – in order to escape responsibility by hiding one’s credit history. The use of File Segregation is a crime and can result in fines or serious jail time. This is a road you don’t want to go down.
Why Should I See A Credit Repair Law Firm And Not Just Get One Of Those “Do It Yourself” Credit Repair Systems?
First off – major errors are very hard to remove on your own.
A TRUE STORY: I have a friend who filed for bankruptcy in New York. She paid off all her debts and the bankruptcy was discharged. About 6 months later a SECOND bankruptcy filing appeared on her credit, along with a discharge. Then a THIRD one! This made her look like someone who abuses the system (filing for bankruptcy to stop collections, then canceling it without paying her bills). Needless to say her score was absolutely tanked! It took her over 18 months to get just ONE of the mistaken bankruptcies removed. She’s still working on the second one today.
Secondly – these supposed “sure-fire” credit repair systems might ruin your credit! Many of them encourage you to (or claim they will do it for you) challenge everything on your credit (good AND bad). Unfortunately this can result in removing the “good stuff” also. And as any lender will tell you, NO credit history is often times worse than BAD credit history!
A TRUE STORY: I sell cars in Phoenix Arizona and imagine my surprise when I pulled a 52-year old customers credit one day and all that was there was his name! ZERO credit score, ZERO open loans (or closed loans for that matter). He might as well been born yesterday. The thing was, he had an open car loan! So the banks knew he had “washed” his credit, which made him look suspicious. Unfortunately no bank would touch him at any rate of interest so he went home without a new vehicle that day.
This type of credit repair is illegal! If an item is old and questionable, that can be challenged and removed. A good credit attorney will know the difference and keep you out of trouble and get these items removed, thus improving your credit score.
Aren’t There Laws Regulating The Credit Repair Industry?
There are indeed. The most prominent one is theCredit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). This became law in 1996 to protect the public from unfair and deceptive advertising practices in the credit repair industry. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates complaints about credit repair organizations and takes appropriate legal action. Unfortunately it takes them a long time to operate and you could have your credit damaged further by using one of these companies.
Here Is How You Can Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Unscrupulous Credit Repair Companies.
· Avoid any credit repair company that will not tell you your legal rights and what you can do for free.
· Avoid any credit repair company that tells you to relax and let them do it all. In other words, don’t contact the credit bureaus yourself.
· Avoid any credit repair company that tells you they will dispute everything (good, bad or ugly).
· Avoid any credit company that suggests creating a “new” credit identity – and then get a new credit report by applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to use instead of your Social Security Number. Remember – This is illegal and can have serious consequences.
If you’re having financial troubles paying your bills, it doesn’t take long before problems can begin to mount up. It’s not uncommon, for example, to be turned down for credit cards, loans and mortgages. At Credit Innovation Group of Houston, our goal is to help you repair your credit. We understand how difficult it is getting into trouble with debt and now we want to help you get out of that same debt. Give us a visit today.
Credit Innovation Group of Houston
1010 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002