Many consumers want to know if credit repair really works.
Does credit repair work? Yes, it does. Or, more correctly stated, credit repair can work depending on many factors regarding the specific account(s) on a consumer credit report. In fact, the process of credit repair is dictated by the Federal Trade Commission in a law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The premise of this law is that creditors must verify the accuracy of the information they’ve previously placed on a consumer credit report.
Because this is a federal law, credit repair works for consumers in all 50 states. Therefore a consumer seeking credit repair in Tampa has the same rights under federal law as a consumer seeking credit repair in San Diego.
To learn the answer to the question, “does credit repair work?”, it’s vital to understand how credit repair works.
When a creditor places information on a consumer credit report there’s a chance the information is incorrect or will become outdated and incorrect over time as the status of the account changes. If the creditor doesn’t fix or update the information there must be a mechanism for the consumer to challenge that information and have it corrected. One of the main purposes of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is to give the consumer a resource and process to follow to have the information corrected.
In this process the creditor is under obligation by federal law to validate the information they have previously placed on a consumer credit report. If the account listed is erroneous or inaccurate the creditor must correct it. If the account is obsolete (more than 7 years from the date of the last activity or 10 years in the case of a bankruptcy) the item must be removed by the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion).
Here’s the key to understanding that consumers can potentially have items reported within 7 years removed as well.
If the creditor cannot or does not verify the information previously reported on that account within a 30 day period, the federal law requires that the credit reporting agency remove that account from the consumer’s credit report regardless of the age or status of that account.
What are some scenarios where the creditor cannot or does not verify the information previously reported?
– The creditor no longer is in business
– The creditor has sold the account to a collection agency and that collection agency does not have the complete or accurate information on the account
– The account is old (even if not yet 7 years old) and the creditor cannot locate the information or chooses not to
– The outstanding balance has since been paid, and therefore the creditor has no incentive to respond to the inquiry from the credit reporting agency
Does this mean that all derogatory or negative items will be deleted from a consumer credit report through the credit repair process? Certainly not. Here’s what will be:
1- Erroneous accounts
2- Obsolete accounts
3- Those accounts that the creditor does not verify as accurate when contacted by the credit reporting agency when that item is challenged
Credit repair is not a panacea or fix for all past credit problems of a consumer. But by going through this process it can clean up a consumers report and increase their score. It may give them enough of a credit score increase to qualify for a purchase and simply look more credit worthy to a future creditor.
Consumers considering this process should consult a professional company that has a successful track record and an A+ Better Business Bureau consumer rating. They should also seek a company that will educate them and make specific recommendations on what they can do to increase their score and keep that score as high as possible in the future.
Dale & Shirley Guiducci are credit repair professionals and owners of ERA Credit Services. ERA Credit Services is an independent agent for United Credit Educations Services and Financial Education Services headquartered in Farmington, MI.