What Does A Credit Repair Attorney Do
Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated June 20, 2016
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission released the results of a study that found that 5% of consumers had errors on at least one of their three major credit reports. Error or not, these mistakes lower your , which can lead to higher interest rates, paying more over the life of a loan, or being denied credit altogether.
In simpler times, correcting one of these errors entailed little more than spinning the rotary dial on your telephone, chatting with someone at a local call center, and thanking them for the help. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to read horror stories about just how hard it is to get inaccuracies removed from your credit reports. For instance, in 2013, an Oregon woman won a lawsuit against a credit bureau after trying unsuccessfully for two years to have inaccuracies corrected, including her birthday and social security number.
While it should be easy to do, correcting your credit report or repairing the damage errors have caused is often a time-consuming and complex lesson in frustration. But given the importance of your credit score , you can’t afford to ignore it. In situations like these, you may need the help of a qualified credit repair attorney.
Resolve Incorrect Information On Your Report
Incorrect information can appear on your report for the following five reasons:
- Someone stole your identity and opened new accounts in your name.
- Someone stole one of your existing accounts, and started using it.
- The bank made an error and reported a late payment or non-payment that never happened.
- A collection agency made an error and reported a collection item on debt that was never yours.
- Your name and identifying information has been mixed up with someone else .
If someone stole your identity
Incorrect information due to identity theft is a serious issue that you need to resolve as soon as possible. These are some common signs of identity theft:
- You dont get your bills or other mail because someone has changed the mailing address on your accounts.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that arent yours.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didnt use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claims because records show youve reached your benefits limit.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name.
- You are arrested for a crime someone else allegedly committed in your name.
Warning: A common form of identity theft is when a family member steals your Social Security Number and uses it to apply for credit.
Below we detail some important action items you can take.
Customer Education: Amb Credit Consultants
AMB Credit Consultants focuses on empowering customers through better financial education through its financial literacy courses. According to the companys website, they hope to influence good credit decisions that last a lifetime.
Six- to nine-month commitment
AMB Credit Consultants has been helping Americans improve their credit since 2007. The Dallas, Texas-based company focuses not only on improving credit reports but also on empowering customers through client advocacy and advisement. AMB Credit Consultants can help enable their clients to recognize and correct the negative financial habits that lead to poor credit in the first place.
AMB Credit Consultants offers two credit repair service options:
|$149 enrollment fee, $99 per monthUnlimited case reviewsImmediate responses to new collection lettersCease and desist letters||$198 enrollment fee, $198 per monthUnlimited case reviewsImmediate responses to new collection lettersCease and desist letters|
You are obligated to commit to at least six to nine months of service.
The company offers a money-back guarantee. If AMB Credit Consultants doesnt remove at least one negative mark from your credit reports within six months, the company will offer a refund. We were unable to reach AMB Credit Consultants team by phone during business hours to confirm where the company does business.
Read the full AMB Credit Consultants review
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How Credit Repair Companies Work
If you dont want to fix your credit reports yourself, a legitimate credit repair company can do the job at reasonably affordable prices. Most of these companies provide a free consultation with a credit expert to explain what the company will do and how it can help you.
If you want to proceed, you can sign up for a monthly subscription that you can extend or cancel at any time. Many credit repair companies offer different service levels, so your credit expert will review which one makes the most sense for you.
You should understand the cost of each alternative, including any one-time signup fee. Make sure you understand what services are included in the subscription fee and which are extra-cost items. Standard services include:
- Examining and summarizing your credit reports
- Sending formal dispute letters to the credit bureaus and creditors on your behalf
- Following through on each challenged item until it is resolved
- Providing customers with educational materials and financial tools to help them manage their credit
Naturally, each company will have its own set of services and prices. In some cases, you will have to order and forward your three credit reports to the credit repair company. However, most of these companies will order them on your behalf, although you may have to pay a fee.
The company, usually with your help, will examine issues with your credit history. Items of interest may include:
Top Credit Repair Companies
- More than 500,000 clients helped
- More than 10,000,000 negative items removed in 2017
- Fraud alert and identity theft protection included
- Best value at $49.95 per month
- More than 1.5 million negative items removed in 2017
- ID theft protection available
- Free consultation with a credit report
- A+ Better Business Bureau accredited
- Only $19 to get started
- More than 200,000 satisfied clients
- 6-month satisfaction guarantee
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Consider A Debt Consolidation Loan
A debt consolidation loan or balance transfer takes all of your outstanding debts on different accounts and combines them into a single monthly payment. They may help improve your credit utilization rates and can help you avoid missed payments. A debt consolidation loan or balance transfer can be a great option for you if you have multiple lines of credit that you have trouble keeping up with.
You make a hard inquiry on your credit report when you apply for a debt consolidation loan. This means that your credit score will usually drop by a few points immediately after your inquiry. Focus on making on-time payments above the minimum required amount after you get your debt consolidation loan.
Focus On Small Regular Payments
Your payment history is the biggest single factor that makes up your credit score because it comprises about 35% of your scores calculation. This means that one of the quickest ways you can raise your score is to make minimum payments on all of your accounts every month. Ideally, you should also pay off each of your outstanding credit card balances before theyre due. This lowers your revolving utilization and helps you save on interest in the long-term.
Take control of your credit cards and create a plan to make minimum payments on all of your accounts every month. Most credit card companies allow you to set email or SMS alerts to get a notification when a minimum payment is due soon, and you can even schedule auto-payments in advance with most cards so you never miss a payment date again.
If you have cards open but you dont use them, resist the temptation to close them. Closing credit lines lowers your available credit and increases your revolving utilization percentage. Instead, charge a small item like a cup of coffee or a pizza dinner once a month and pay your bill off immediately.
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Is It Worth Paying Someone To Fix Your Credit
Typically, credit repair companies offer you cancellable monthly subscriptions at a fixed rate. Some charge a one-time work products fee, usually around $100, more or less. Many companies promote a six-month subscription that can end up costing upwards of $700.
What you get for the money is the expertise and aggressive efforts of a credit repair company. The good ones have been around for a decade or more and know all the little tricks to increase their effectiveness. These companies also offer other benefits, including credit education and financial tools.
If youd rather not spend money on credit repair, here are three alternatives:
Sending Or Filing Disputes
Did you know that former employers are able to report a variety of details to credit report agencies which can ultimately end up on your credit report? This means old addresses and phone numbers, temporary addresses, and even P.O. boxes may still appear on your credit report. However, in order to have them removed, the process is simple.
- Send a Letter One method is to send a letter to the agency or agencies that have this false information. These letters can be sent via snail mail, fax, or email. Just be sure to follow up to make sure it has been received.
- Provide Proof Once you prove you are not associated with the address or phone number, they will gladly remove it from the report. There are plenty of ways to prove your present residence and/or phone number. Be sure to ask the agency which methods they are requesting.
- Fill Out a Dispute Form On the other hand, many companies have dispute forms on their website. In these cases, simply fill out the form and follow up as requested.
- Follow Up No matter what method you choose, be sure to contact the company to make sure they have removed the false information from your credit report.
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Can A Collection Agency Report An Old Debt As New
Collection agencies cannot report old debt as new. If a debt is sold or put into collections, that is legally considered a continuation of the original date. It may show up multiple times on your credit report with different open dates, but they must all retain the same delinquency date. They should also all be discharged on the same date seven years after the original open date.
Is Credit Repair Legal In All 50 States
Yes, indeed, federal law guarantees your right to repair your credit in all 50 states. Two laws in particular apply to credit repair: The Fair Credit Reporting Act and the .
The FCRA ensures that disputed information must be investigated unless it is trivial or you flood the credit reporting agency with nuisance complaints. The FCRA secures you several rights, including:
- The right to inspect your credit files. Under many circumstances, you have the right to see the files for free, such as when the information was used against you, your identity was stolen, youve been victimized by fraud, you are receiving public assistance, or you are out of work but plan to seek employment in the next two months.
- The right to know whether information on your credit reports was used against you to deny you credit, a loan, a job, an apartment, insurance, or something else of value. You also have the right to know where the information came from.
The CROA authorizes you to use a third party to dispute items on your credit reports. It prohibits credit repair companies from making misleading or untrue representations, bans payments in advance, requires written contracts, and ensures cancellation rights for consumers. The CROA is instrumental in preventing repair companies from making misleading claims or using abusive practices.
Specifically, the CROA prohibits credit repair companies from the following business practices:
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How To Clean Up Your Credit Report Yourself
To clean up your credit, start by reviewing your credit reports. You can get yours for free once every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also access your free Experian credit report directly on Experian’s website.
Look through all three of your credit reports thoroughly. That means checking to ensure your name is spelled correctly and all your account details are up to date.
If you see any information you believe to be in error, you can begin the dispute process. At Experian, here’s how:
Writing Your Credit Dispute Letter
Now that you have your freshly pulled credit report in front of you score and all its time to look for the items listed on the report.
Youre going to need to write letters to each bureau that lists problematic items. So, if all 3 bureaus show issues you want to resolve, then you need to write to each one, individually.
The best advice that I can give you is to hand write these letters so that it looks personal, and not like every other downloaded template that these bureaus see each and every day.
They receive thousands of these each day, so if you think that the template will slip by without a thought, youre probably wrong.
eOSCAR: The credit bureaus use an automated dispute processing system called eOSCAR. This system scans each letter utilizing OCR scanning technology.
From their website:
So, what does this all mean? It basically means that you cant simply send in the same letter everyone else is sending and expect different results .
Lets construct a sample letter that you can use to dispute the credit report errors on your report.
Now, continue reading this before sending them out!
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Gather Materials To Dispute Errors
Your goal is to make it as easy and quick as possible for investigators to confirm that your complaint is valid. Depending on the error, the things you gather to support your case could include:
Copies of credit card statements or loan documents
Copies of bank statements
Copies of birth or death certificates, or a divorce decree
If you’ve reported identity theft, include a copy of your FTC complaint or police report.
Experian Best Credit Repair Services For An Instant Boost
What was disappointing
- Improves Experian report only
While not your typical credit repair company, Experian offers a completely free boost to your FICO score. Thats why we felt it was a great option for anyone looking for quick, instant improvement to their score. But just so youre aware, it might not be the best credit repair service if your report is packed with inaccuracies.
That said, Experian is still one of the oldest credit bureaus in the United States, with over 125 years worth of experience. They provide clients with a detailed credit report, score, monitoring, and boost, all for free.
Whats more, unlike other credit repair companies that might overlook the smaller positives in your credit history, Experian Boost makes sure all on-time payments count towards boosting your score. This includes those easier monthly payments like your phone, utilities, and even subscriptions to popular streaming services.
My credit has always been bad, thanks to no one actually telling me how it worked. But thanks to Experian, I am finally making it better! Thank you so much. Savanna, Trustpilot
Helped me raise my score fast I am impressed! Thank you. Hazel, Trustpilot
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Best Credit Repair Companies That Work First Look
- Among the top credit repair companies
What was disappointing
- Initial work fee
If youre looking for a company with a comprehensive credit repair process to dispute inaccurate data in your credit report, Credit Saint is arguably one of the best options on the market.
Not only does this repair company have over 15 years of experience and an A+ BBB rating, but you can also review your credit score for free just by creating an account.
Afterward, this company will analyze your credit history, provide an updated FICO score and identify negative items, such as late payments, student loans, etc., that damage your credit score.
Whats more, Credit Saint believes What you dont know will hurt you, so clients are provided with regular up-to-date information to help them understand their credit score better.
And like most legitimate credit repair companies, their team offers a free consultation so you can learn more about their credit repair service before making a commitment. Youll be able to see your credit scores from all three credit bureaus and find out straight away what steps Credit Saints team believes you should take.
Best of all, you can track everything online via a private dashboard. Your account page includes progress reports, a credit score tracker, and a complete analysis of your case, so youre always kept in the loop.