Credit repair process

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Credit Repair

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What does the law say about repairing your credit?

How long can the credit bureaus keep a negative item on my credit report and what actions will restart that date?

How long do the credit bureaus have to respond to a dispute letter when credit repair is attempted?

How does a person’s Credit Score affect their credit?

How long does it take?

Is cleaning my report legal?

What kind of information will be on my credit report?

Can I see my credit report?

How much bad credit does it take to be denied credit?

Who looks at my credit report?

What is a public record?

What is a charge off?

Can a bad credit mark actually be deleted?

Does it matter which state I live in?

Is there anything that cannot be removed from a credit report?

How many items do you dispute at one time?

If I keep paying my bills will that raise my credit score?

 

What does the law say about repairing your credit?

As the credit bureaus computerized their processes and greatly expanded their reach and influence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, consumer complaints began to pile up at the FTC and state attorney generals’ offices. In theory, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) charges the credit bureaus with responsibility to the consumer as well as the credit grantor. In reality, the credit bureaus resist, resent, and reject consumer disputes.

Many consumers have the idea that the credit bureaus must complete their investigation within 30 days or be forced to remove all disputed information. They threaten to sue the credit bureaus if they don’t conclude their investigation in time and repair their credit.

In practice, such thinking is delusional. However, if you manage to submit a valid dispute letter, and the credit bureau investigates your dispute, the chances of success are good —whether or not the negative listings are accurate. If a credit bureau cannot verify an item before completing its investigation, that item will be removed. Many credit grantors are simply reluctant to take the time to verify the data. While the credit bureaus may be in the business of reporting credit histories, credit grantors are not.

 

 

How long can the credit bureaus keep a negative item on my credit report and what actions will restart that date?

Accurate negative information generally can be reported for seven years, but there are exceptions:

  • ■ Bankruptcy information can be reported for 10 years;
  • ■ Information reported because of an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000 has no time limitation;
  •  Information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limitation;
  • ■ Information concerning a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs  out, whichever is longer;
  • ■ Default information concerning U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student loans can be reported for seven years after certain  guarantor actions; and
  • ■ Tax liens stay on seven years from the date paid.

The Statute of Limitations has nothing to do with the length of time something can stay onyour credit report, they are two totallyseparate things.

The length of time a negative mark can stay on your credit report starts from the time you were late or the late payment went into collection, not from the last time you made a payment on the account. Some collection agencies update their reporting status on you to keep the account active with the bureaus, and therefore extend the time the account appears on your report. This is illegal! Challenge this! If you do, bureaus will correctly remove it seven years from origination. Period. In other words, paying a collectionwill not keep it on your credit report for a longer period of time.

 

How long do the credit bureaus have to respond to a dispute letter when credit repair is attempted?

Under the most recent version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus must complete a reinvestigation within 30 days of receiving a dispute letter from the consumer.However, the credit bureau still has the right to consider a dispute letter “frivolous and irrelevant” at their own discretion, if they feel that someone is attempting credit repair. While the credit bureaus are careful not to overuse this privilege, they may deem virtually any dispute frivolous or irrelevant without having to justify their decision or point to credit repair methods.

While the credit bureau is required to complete their reinvestigation in 30 days or less, the consumer has little recourse against them if they don’t. The credit bureau may take as long as it likes to repair the credit. The only real recourse a consumer might have would be to gather a class-action lawsuit to penalize the bureau for taking too long. At TransUnion, for example, it is common practice to receive the credit repair dispute letter, take a week or two to process it, then send the consumer a letter saying that the reinvestigation will begin on the date that the credit repair dispute was finally processed. This often gives them a total of six weeks from the date of receipt of the dispute to complete the reinvestigation.

 

How does a person’s credit score affect their credit?

A person’s credit rating is a numerical representation of how risky it is for a lender to give a person credit, which in most cases means a loan. A high credit score means a person is low risk, while a low credit score means a person is rated a high risk. A person with a good credit score will have more access to credit (such as more opportunities to take out a loan when purchasing a high priced item like a home or car) than a person with a low credit score. The person with a low credit score may need to pay higher interest rates on a loan or may even be denied a loan due to their credit score. A person’s credit score is very important in determining the credit, or cost of credit, available to him or her.

 

How long does it take if you are using a credit repair software?

Most consumers will begin seeing positive results within 90 days after their credit reports are sent to us.Obviously, everyone’s credit situation is completely different, so how long it takes for you to achieve your expected results depends on the nature of your case, the number of bad credit items on your reports, your participation in reviewing credit reports, and the level of credit bureau and/or creditor cooperation. Most of the wait-time after that is usually spent waiting for the credit bureaus or creditors to respond.On average, most consumers have obtained the desired result by the third month. 

 

Is cleaning my report legal?

Absolutely! It is because it is legal that you are able to do that, for you can use the laws that protect you, the consumer, and that regulate the credit bureaus and the companies that furnish information to them to accomplish your work. You are given certain rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Fair DebtCollection Practices Act, Fair Billing Act, HIPPA and other laws, to help you assert these rights.

The Credit bureaus would like to have you think otherwise, but the truth is that the Congress, when enacting the Credit Repair Organization Act, stated that consumers have a “right to seek help from Credit Repair Organizations”.

 

What kind of information will be on my credit report?

Credit reports contain a listing of some or all of your credit accounts that have been active at some time within the last seven years. They also contain any public records (Chapter 7 bankruptcies are reported for 10 years), current and previous addresses, current and previous names, a listing of potential creditors who have received your credit file, and other miscellaneous information the credit bureau has about you. Each account listing generally has your account number, the credit limit, your current balance and your previous payment history. This payment history can contain notes of late payments, any collection or transfer history whether the account was included in bankruptcy, and the current payment status of the account.

 

Can I see my credit report?

Most credit grantors are not allowed by the credit bureaus to show you your own credit report. In addition, under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, you may be entitled to receive a free credit report. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check availability. However, if you want to see your credit score, you will have to purchase it. We recommend you purchase your FICO credit score, as this is the score that most lenders will see.

 

How much bad credit does it take to be denied credit?

Even one small late pay listing may result in credit denials. Any negative credit whatsoever can become a substantial credit obstacle. There are also other factors that will play into the decision of the lender. What is your debt to income ratio? How long have you been with your current employer? The exact criteria used for granting or denying credit varies from lender to lender, but any negative/bad credit remark on your credit report may be enough to deny you credit.

 

Who looks at my credit report?

Lenders, property managers, insurance companies, prospective employers, companies which you presently have a credit relationship with, and anybody with a permissible purpose who wants to know who you are, can get access to your credit file. In many situations, your credit report will actually become your identity. People will know you not by who you are, but by what is reported about you from the credit bureaus. Obviously, those reports can be extremely damaging especially if they contain incorrect, misleading or obsolete information.

 

What is a public record?

A public record is a file such as a bankruptcy, tax lien or judgment that is filed at the courthouse. Unlike your creditors, the courthouse does not report public record information to the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus must therefore rely on third parties or smaller local affiliated bureaus to go out and research this information. For purpose of fixing your credit, the laws that regulate the reporting of these public records are the same as any other item and are treated no differently in that regard.

 

What is a charge off?

When you become very delinquent on an account then the creditor will probably “charge it off” against their profit and loss. A “charge-off” is basically an accounting term used in accrual accounting that says the amount is now a loss. In a short period of time, the creditor determines that the account will not be paid, and they will write it off for tax purposes. Once they minimize their loss from that account they will sell that file to a collection agency to decrease the loss even further. The collection agency will then use a wide variety of means to collect on the debt. Charge-offs are very negative listings.

 

Can a bad credit mark actually be deleted?

Yes, they most definitely can be when they are found to be inaccurate, outdated, unverifiable, misleading, obsolete, or legally lacking in some other way. Although the credit bureaus would have you think otherwise, we have seen many deletions ranging from bankruptcies to late payments.Just take a look at our testimonials and see actual credit reports and bad credit marks that have been deleted.

 

Does it matter which state I live in?

No. The laws that regulate the credit bureaus and your creditors are mostly federal law. Your rights are the same whether you are in Alaska or Alabama.

 

Is there anything that cannot be removed from a credit report?

All information reported by the credit bureaus are subject to the same laws and criteria. Youmay challenge, any items you feel that are inaccurate, and the credit bureaus must investigate these items.

 

How many items do you dispute at one time?

Experience has shown that investigating too many items at one time can actually slow down the process because the credit bureau may deem our request frivolous. Therefore, only submit investigations for the number of items that you deem appropriate for your case. Challenge as many items as possible—around 3 items per dispute letter, without jeopardizing a slowdown of the process.

 

If I keep paying my bills, will that raise my credit score?

Paying your bills on time should do nothing but help your credit score. Many of our clients are trying to buy a home, refinance a home, or qualify for new credit. Good payment history will help you do all of those things. We often tell people that while we work on the past credit, you should be working on the future. If you are having trouble paying your bills, you may want to talk to a professional debt counselor.