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Overview of Credit Repair
In the modern world, your credit is how much the credit reporting agencies trust you to return the money that you borrow. They assign your level of trustworthiness based upon timely prior loan repayment and other factors. The higher your “credit score,” the more credit you have and the greater likelihood of receiving a loan. Having good credit is critical if you need to take out a loan to buy a car, get a mortgage on your home, or even sign up for a payment plan to get that nifty new smartphone you really want. Of course, if you choose to pay for everything up front in cash, you need not care what your credit score is. However, for most individuals, this simply isn’t a viable solution. Thus, when your credit score falls below an acceptable range, many seek information about and help with credit repair so that their credit score will rebound.
If your credit isn’t where it should be or isn’t where you want it to be, you can either rebuild or fix your credit score with credit repair. People who need credit repair will often turn to a credit repair organization or law firm specializing in credit repair. That said, anything a credit repair organization can legally do for you, you can do for yourself at little to no cost.
How to Fix Credit Errors and Credit Repair Organizations
Sometimes the problem with your credit score isn’t self-induced through late payment or delinquency, but rather credit errors on your credit report. A study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission found that 1-in-5 consumers have an error on at least one of their credit reports. You can determine whether you have credit errors by obtaining a copy of your credit report. By law, each of the nationwide credit reporting companies are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months if you request it.
Fixing the credit errors in your report requires a formal dispute with the credit bureau(s) that is reporting the error. The FTC website offers steps on how to fix credit errors on your own for those who wish to pursue a do-it-yourself approach. The other option is to engage the services of a credit repair organization. However, due to the desperate need of many people to secure good credit combined with the general lack of understanding of the credit system, a proliferation of scams existed in the credit repair industry.
Congress came down hard on disreputable credit repair organizations with the passage of the Credit Repair Organizations Act. This federal law made it illegal for credit repair organizations to make knowingly deceptive or false claims on the services they’re capable of providing, such as guarantees of instant credit repair. The law further required that credit repair service companies:
- Cannot receive payment from clients until full completion of the services they promised.
- Are forbidden from asking or suggesting that a client alter their identity to change their credit history or mislead credit reporting agencies about their credit accounts.
- Are not allowed to ask a client to sign any waiver that forfeits their consumer rights under the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Any such waiver is illegal and unenforceable.
There are legitimate credit repair organizations that can help you fix credit errors and offer counseling on building back your credit score. Many law firms specialize in helping people repair their credit. Let’s see what a credit repair lawyer can do for you.
What a Credit Repair Attorney Can Do
Credit repair lawyers are advocates for consumers in the area of credit improvement and credit repair. Lawyers who work in credit repair are experts in the applicable laws governing this topic. As such, they can provide useful knowledge, experience, and insight into the best solution to your credit problems. A credit repair lawyer can help you legally dispute questionable negative items on your credit report.
Why Should I Hire a Credit Repair Attorney?
Just as an individual is perfectly within their rights to change the spark plugs in their car, calculate their own taxes, and do all the landscaping work on their yard, it is entirely possible, legal, and cost-effective to fix credit errors and repair your credit on your own. That said, we often hire mechanics to work on our car, accountants to do our taxes, and landscapers to work on our yard because these individuals have the expertise to get the specific task done better, faster, and with less potential for costly errors and mistakes. In a similar vein, a credit repair lawyer has the expertise and experience to help you fix your credit errors in a manner that is likely to be faster and more comprehensive than if you were to undertake the task on your own.