Your credit is the most important tool you have to manage your lifestyle. In fact, your home, car and job are often determined by your credit score. When your credit gets damaged, many people wonder how much should it cost you to fix your credit? The answer, like most things is…it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
If your credit was legitimately damaged, you should not have to pay anything to fix it.
Many times, peoples’ credit reports get damaged for reasons beyond their control such as identity theft, mismerge or a creditor reporting information that is just plain inaccurate. In situations such as these, here are the steps you should take to fix your own credit.
- Write a dispute letter to the credit bureau that is reporting the incorrect information. Writing a letter to the creditor itself, does not trigger your legal rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Your rights under the FCRA allow you to sue the credit bureau and the creditor for damages, costs and attorneys fees. (more on this later).
Your letter should include your name, address and the last 4 digits of your social security number. It should also include the name of the creditor and the account number associated with that creditor. Your letter should also explain why the creditor is reporting incorrect information about you to the credit bureau and how the account should be reporting.
2. Be sure to get a response to your dispute letter from the credit bureau. This is your proof that your dispute letter was received. Many times, the credit bureaus will ignore dispute letters and fail to send dispute responses. In our office, we send these by certified mail so when they deny that they received our dispute letters for our clients, we have proof that we sent them and that they received them.
- If the credit bureau does not fix the problem, you will have to sue it along with the creditor or debt collector that is reporting the false information. Because the FCRA provides that in a successful action, you have the right to damages and attorneys’ fees, you should hire a credit repair law firm that will take your case on without charging you any up front our out of pocket costs and fees. We handle cases like this every day at Credit Repair Lawyers of America. If the firm you are considering does not sue credit bureaus or wants to charge you fees up front, you should not hire them. In cases where your credit is damaged by fraud, identity theft or a creditor error, you should not have to pay anything out of pocket to have your credit report fixed.
Note, that you have a very short 2 year statute of limitations to sue the credit bureaus starting from the date that they failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into your dispute.
If your credit report has been damages because of your actions or inactions, then there are credit repair companies that may be able to advise you on how you can improve your credit score.
There are far more bad credit repair companies than legitimate ones. A legitimate credit repair company is not allowed to charge you anything in advance before fixing your credit. Indeed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has recently sued a lot of credit repair companies of charging consumers money before fixing their credit.
The CFPB and FTC have taken a very dim view of credit repair companies in general. Their position is that you can fix your credit damage yourself. We don’t completely agree. Many times, the credit bureaus and creditors will simply refuse to fix their mistakes and unless you sue them, you will be stuck with the negative information for up to 7 years on your credit report. Moreover, a decent credit repair company will be able to advise you on actions you can take to improve your credit score such as how to manage your credit utilization, get the right kind of credit mix and how to manage your payments.
If you hire a credit repair company, be sure to hire one that is going to spend time with you advising you, personally, on your credit situation.
Let us help you fix your credit at no out of pocket charge to you
Call us at Credit Repair Lawyers of America. We have been fixing credit reports since 2008. Visit us at www.crlam.com or call us at (404) 528-2058 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to look at your credit reports for free and give you our opinion as to how we can help.
Join our 3 for Free program and we will send out up to 3 dispute letters for you for free. You can also join our Auto Pilot program and we will pull your credit reports for free every two months to make sure that they stay free of inaccurately reporting information. Contact us today for your free, no obligation consultation.