Credit Repair Services – 5 Ideas to Get the Best
The first thing you should look out for when in need of good credit repair services is the affiliations of the firm you are considering. All ethical credit repair businesses will be eager to provide you with their references on request. These are some important issues you should check out in order to steer clear of deceitful credit repair companies.
1. The agency you’re considering should have membership in the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance (ECRA) or a similar regulatory organization. You are often advised to choose businesses that are subscribed to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) when you are looking for any type of service. When you’re searching for good credit repair organizations, companies who are ECRA members are an excellent choice.
This body has its own stringent codes of conduct and any business that gets their approval will give you their best services. The members of this organization are required to maintain the highest ethical standards in dealing with their clients. This helps to protect you, the consumer, from any type of unethical and sub-standard practices.
2. Before looking for help, educate yourself as to what credit repair is all about. Most people who are cheated out of their hard earned money while they are seeking ways out of a financial jam, do not know anything about what repair of credit involves. You need to learn what these services can do for you and what they cannot do.
You can identify agencies who offer false promises only when you clearly understand this difference. For example, no one can remove negative remarks entered on your credit report if these can be verified. You will find many such credit repair companies telling you that they can give you a clean credit report within a month or less. Think carefully; is this legally possible? If not – and it clearly is not – would you still want to pursue such unethical methods?
3. Avoid unsolicited offers you receive through email. It’s not fate that sent you an email offering to repair your credit at a time when you are desperately looking for help. These are fraudulent companies who obtain your email address through various unethical methods, and are sending out millions of spam emails in the hope that they will “catch” some needy soul whom they can milk dry!
Beware of such emails. In 99.9 percent of cases these are fraudulent companies looking for their next victim. Proper credit repair companies will send their offers through newsletters or emails only after you have opted in to receive them.
4. It is illegal to create a “new identity”.” This is one huge fallacy that many people choose to believe, mainly because it would seem to solve all their problems. This belief is due primarily to a lack of knowledge about credit repair. However, this practice – called “File segregation” – is illegal!
Your credit score is a reflection of your entire financial history up to the present time. How is it possible to acquire a “new” credit history? And if you do, would you not have some questions about legality? Do you realize now that the credit repair companies that offer you such a way out of your problems are fraudulent?
5. Demanding complete payment upfront should raise a “red flag.” According to Federal Law, you need to have a detailed written contract from the agency beforehand and the payment is to be after services have been completed. In addition you have the right to cancel within three days.
There are agencies that do charge an initial fee for a credit analysis, and thereafter charge monthly fees as they continue the job of following up with disputes regarding erroneous information in your credit report. But if a company demands their entire fee be paid in advance, they are likely doing so because they realize you will not be inclined to pay later when you discover that they cannot deliver on their promises. Such companies are fraudulent and you would do well to avoid them!
6. Repairing your credit score and credit report takes time. As discussed before, a credit company cannot repair your credit overnight by any legal means, nor remove anything in your credit history if it is verified by the credit bureaus.
Best case scenario: it will take about two, maybe three months to solve the less serious issues, by having inaccurate information deleted from your credit report, and by changing your financial habits by consistently paying bills and debts in a timely manner. More significant items ( for example, repossessions, foreclosures etc.) well, even given the very best financial management, remain on the report for seven years. Bankruptcies will stay on the report for 10 years. “Guarantees” that these can be removed overnight indicate fraud.
7. No contract, no pay! A lot of people could avoid being defrauded if they were to insist that there be a contract in writing; and according with the law, this is your right. Fraudulent companies prefer there to be no contract, and if there is one you can expect that information (such as the fees etc.) will be incomplete. You can learn a lot about these agencies by looking at their contract. If they do not offer a contract for any reason whatsoever, stop your dealings with them instantly.
8. If guarantees are offered, look out! Not even the best and most experienced agencies can guarantee the results of their credit repair services. They can assure you – after they study your report – that they will improve your score by any available legal means. But in the business of credit repair results can never be guaranteed.
Unfortunately, it’s the nature of people to be attracted to the company that tells them what they prefer to hear, and hire them rather than a company who is being truthful. Do not fall into this trap! Even though you may prefer to be told that positive results are guaranteed, any company that does guarantee such results is not trustworthy.
9. Look for counseling services. Most reputable credit repair companies will offer free counseling services.
If the company that you are considering to engage does not, try looking a little deeper. It might not be a trustworthy agency. A good and trustworthy company will encourage its clients to become knowledgeable about credit repair. The services they offer are regarding those issues that require continued and painstaking follow-up to make sure the mistakes on your credit report have all been removed.
10. Wrong advice is a red flag! Some agencies will tell you to dispute every derogatory account on your report by saying “this account is not mine.” Although the results may be a higher credit score right now, the creditor whose loan had been disputed may counter it at a later date, and the bureau will subsequently investigate and verify it.
Given the appallingly poor record keeping habits of the credit bureaus, there is a very high probability that all the details of any item on your credit report may not be accurate. But credit repair companies that advise you to claim “this is not my account” if you are certain that it is, are not to be trusted.
As you can see, there are enough red flags along the way to warn against possible fraud. Prior to seeking help from a credit repair company, you should educate yourself in matters pertaining to credit, including learning the meaning of the terms “credit report” and “credit score”. You also need to know the minimum applicable laws before you go for any type of credit repair help. A good start is to check out the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance.
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