If you are one of those less fortunate souls with a bad credit, you have probably come across advertisements in newspapers, TV, radio and on the Internet, claiming efficient credit repair services, including removal of bankruptcies, creation of new identities and deletion of all records of bad credit.
But the truth of the matter is that these credit repair companies over claim but can not deliver. They simply cheat their clients and do the vanishing trick with their money.
There are some warning signs to check if a credit repair company is following legal norms or not. Firstly, they can not charge you any upfront fee before providing any service. You should be alarmed if the credit repair company dissuades you to contact the credit bureau directly or avoids answering any query you may have on your legal rights as a debtor.
There are some disreputable credit repair companies who will advise you to start disputing ALL the credit information contained in your report. There are some who will advise you something illegal – apply for a new Employer Identification Number instead of a Social Security Number to create a new identity. Since these are illegal and fraudulent activities, you stand a chance to be prosecuted. It is considered to be a federal crime if you submit false information when applying for credit, if you wrongly represent your Social Security Number or get a new Employer Identification Number from the IRS with false information.
While negative information is reported in your credit report for seven years, reports on bankruptcy is reported for ten years. Payment defaulters of US Government insured loans or student loans is reported for seven years.
While nobody can delete the correct information contained in your credit report, you can however request for a reassessment or re-investigation of any credit, which you think is inaccurate or not complete in some way. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to dispute any mistake or old items free of charge. All you have to do is to ask the credit reporting agency for a dispute filing form or submit your points of dispute in writing. Be clear in identifying the item or items which you wish to dispute, give reasons why you wish to dispute and request for a re-investigation. Always remember to keep a copy of your points of dispute with you. If the investigation discovers an error, you may request that the corrected form be circulated to all who received your credit report in the past six months. You may also request the credit bureau to include your dispute reporting in all their future reports, if the re-investigation does not solve your dispute and the problem continues.
Every state has their own laws which regulate the functioning of credit repairing companies. If you ever get taken for a ride by any fraudulent credit repair company, report the matter immediately to your local consumer affairs office or your attorney general’s office.