:: buyers :: credit repair|
I really fix my credit?|
Of course you can! Many of our readers, and even yours truly
has cleared up a few blemishes on their reports. And by the way
a credit repair clinic can do for you, you can do for yourself at little or no
The information provided on this page gives you the information to
help you fix ERRORS on your credit report and clean up those "questionable"
items. While no one can legally remove accurate negative information from a credit
report, the law does allow you to request a reinvestigation of information in
your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. On the other hand, it
is perfectly legal to challenge ANYTHING on your credit report.
no charge for requesting an investigation. The whole key to the credit repair
procedure is that if the credit bureaus cannot verify information on your credit
report they must remove it. For instance, if a credit bureau cannot contact a
collection agency which is reporting a collection on your report, they cannot
verify the information, and the credit bureau must delete the entry.
|Basic Credit Repair Strategy|
basic strategy to repairing your credit is as follows:
- Get and review
your credit report from all three agencies. (Equifax,
- Make a list of all items you consider to be questionable or
negative. Clearly identify each item in your report that you dispute, explain
why you dispute the information
- Write a dispute letter bureaus.
the letter to the credit bureaus. Make sure you send it registered or certified
- Document your efforts. Record when you sent your letters, and
- Wait for the bureaus to investigate your claims.
- Analyze the results.
- Was the item deleted or changed to
your satisfaction? You may continue steps 1, 2 and 3 above until you feel the
dispute is settled satisfactorily. Remember, there is no charge for a reinvestigation.
If you don't get the results you want, dispute the listing again.
all there is to it. Seems easy enough but you must have patience, because the
credit bureaus are not always very cooperative. They make their money by providing
credit reports to lenders not by fixing bad information in their databases.
- Get your credit report.
free copies of your report, please see Getting and reading
your credit report.
- Analyze your
After reviewing your credit reports, make copies,
then highlight everything you see as a negative listing. Most are easy to spot.
However, sometimes you will notice that a creditor is reporting you late on a
payment to credit cards.
- Rank questionable/negative
Step 2 covered how to identify items, both positive and
negative on your credit report. Now you have this list, you should rank each item
according to the amount of damage they are doing to your overall credit picture.
Rank the most damaging information first, followed by the next most damaging information,
followed by those items which are neutral. Do this for each credit report, as
remember, they may not all have the same information on them. They may even have
duplicate information. If this is the case, you will need to write to each credit
agency individually for each duplicate item.
The items here are listed
in order of descending importance with the first item being the "most damaging"
to your credit.
- Court Judgments
- Past due payments
- Credit Rejections
- Credit Inquiries
Corrections and Disputing Your Credit
What should you challenge?
Everything, and you should always shoot for a complete deletion. Don't bother
challenging the information within a collection listing, charge-off, court record,
repossession, foreclosure, or settled account. As the basic nature of these listings
is negative, changing the information within the listing will yield no improvement.
Severely negative listings, such as these, must be disputed on the basis of complete
deletion or not be disputed at all.
What items are the toughest to
get off your report?
You will have the toughest time getting bankruptcies
and foreclosures off of your credit report as these things are so easy for the
credit bureaus to verify. In the case of a bankruptcy, you most likely will have
a few trade lines saying "included in Bankruptcy". If you want to challenge
your bankruptcy, you need to clear off all credit lines mentioning a BK FIRST.
- Make sure
you send everything registered or certified mail.
This is important,
as you must be able to tell when letters were sent and received. It gives you
some leverage with the CRAs if they don't respond in the time frame required by
Document Your Credit Repair Efforts
As soon as you have ordered your
credit reports and photocopied your order letters and checks, you must create
a precise organizational system to track your correspondences with the credit
bureaus and your creditors.
Why is this necessary?
credit items you have worked so hard to remove mysteriously reappear. If this
happens, it is usually easy to have the items deleted permanently if you show
your complete records on the first removal.
Why take a chance?
As you proceed through these steps, keep copies and records of all correspondence
you send and receive. Copies of all correspondence are a must, as well as notes
on all telephone conversations! Also, if you should encounter any special difficulty
and would like help in repairing your credit, you will need these records to proceed.
Every time you have a telephone conversation with a creditor, you must
document the conversation by recording the name of the person to whom you spoke,
his or her position, the date and time of the conversation, what was said in the
conversation, and what was agreed upon.
Wait for the credit bureau to finishing investigating
Once the credit
reporting agency has received your dispute letter, they are obligated to investigate.
This obligation is not contingent upon you having been denied credit. According
to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1997, the credit bureaus must take the following
- The credit reporting agencies
must resolve consumers' disputes within 30 days limit
response to consumers' complaints that documentation in support of their disputes
was disregarded, the credit bureaus have to consider and transmit to the furnisher
all relevant evidence submitted by the consumer the first time.
will receive written notice of the results of the investigation within five days
of its completion, including a copy of the amended credit file if it changed based
on the dispute.
- Once information is deleted from
a credit file, the credit bureaus can not reinsert it unless the entity supplying
the information certifies that the item is complete and accurate and the credit
bureau notifies the consumer within five days.
The Federal Trade Commission says that inaccurate credit reports are the number-one
source of consumer complaints, and that it is quite common for problems to take
six or more months to be resolved. All of the big-three agencies are working on
making sure that all disputes are handled within 30 days.
If the new
investigation reveals an error, you may ask that a corrected version of the report
be sent to anyone who received your report within the past six months. Job applicants
can have corrected reports sent to anyone who received a report for employment
purposes during the past two years. However, this is unlikely to repair any damage
done when your credit report was first pulled, so don't waste your time or energy
on this approach.
- Evaluate the results
of your repair efforts.
You did save the original credit report your
ordered, didn't you? And each item you challenged? Good, you will need them to
evaluate how well you did. It's all part of Step 5 above, documenting your efforts.
When you get your "repaired" credit report back from the credit bureaus,
they will summarize what changed on your credit report due to your challenges.
You can compare this list to your own notes or just to the previous credit report
- Specialized techniques:
on the type of listing, you may also want to try these separate techniques:
- Collections - you should always
try to use the debt validation technique on collections. This should be in addition
to your credit repair efforts with the credit bureaus.
- Charge-offs. Try
disputing the information within the listing, like the date the account was opened,
the high balance, the amount owed, etc. If any of the information is incorrect,
you have a good chance of getting the whole thing deleted off of your report.
- Judgments. If you were never served for a judgment, you may have a chance
of getting it vacated (voided). Call your county courthouse for information on
judgment serving requirements in your state and how to file a motion to vacate
|The results of each item will
have been resolved in one of several different ways: |
If the listing is not mentioned
in the results list, you must have forgotten to include it, or your request was
not sufficiently clear. You will need to dispute the item again in your next dispute
letter. The bureaus are legally obligated to respond in writing within 30 days,
so if they don't, it is highly unlike they are ignoring you.
The disputed item was investigated but verified.
If you don't get the item removed, most likely, the credit bureaus will have just
given you a cryptic reason as to why like "item verified".The creditor
may have responded to the credit bureau's request for re-verification. They may
have simply said that the listing was correct, and in this case, the bureau will
take their word for it. Now it is up to you to prove to the bureau that the item
is not correct. The law required that the bureaus accept any proof you may submit,
as well as to pass any documentation you provide on to your creditor for consideration,
so be sure to send any documentation you can, if you didn't do it the first time.
You could also try disputing the listing again at a future time. Who knows, you
may get lucky, and a different employee of the creditor may not be able to verify
disputed listing was investigated as to the correctness of the information within
the listing (such as late pay notations) and the listing was found to be inaccurate
or unverifiable. Remember, if the creditor doesn't respond to the bureau at all,
this is the same as the listing being unverifiable. In this case, the negative
listing will now show up as a positive listing, or it will be deleted from your
report all together. This is the best possible outcome.
If you are not getting the desired results from the credit bureaus
Credit bureau disputes are not handled by computers, but by people, so the possibility
that your claims was misunderstood, overlooked or mishandled is good. Fixing your
credit takes time, and there is nothing you can do to expedite the process. However,
you can always resubmit your claims.
|Tips for resubmitting your credit
- Be persistent! Become more insistent, but not more threatening, with
each dispute. As you submit one dispute after another, it may become increasingly
difficult to get the checker to initiate an investigation. Your first one or two
disputes should be friendly and polite. Just like any other consumer, you can
become frustrated and threatening as time passes. You may threaten to hire an
attorney, you may threaten to complain to the FTC and your state's attorney general,
etc. But don't overdo it.
- Be creative - Create and utilize other
techniques that help further the idea that the dispute letter is from a truly
wronged and disadvantaged consumer. The checker is only interested in investigating
disputes that truly are erroneous and damaging. Again, because the agencies are
flooded with requests, they tend to give priority to those that seem most urgent.
- Do not bombard the credit bureaus with disputes (about the same
listings, that is) - Do not bombard the credit bureaus with disputes. Sending
one dispute right after another is wasteful and counterproductive. You may wind
up alienating the credit agency so that they hold up your progress. (Remember,
they cannot legally stop you from restoring accurate information but the people
who run the agencies, like anyone else, probably do not respond well to harassment.)
Also remember, that credit repair is a time-consuming operation requiring great
patience. The rule of thumb is to wait 60 days between disputes of the same listing.
Credit Info Center