Credit Restoration- Does It Work?

Most people when they learn about credit restoration, or what most people call credit repair, are skeptical that it is possible to have derogatory items removed from their credit report regardless of the reason those items are on their report. It simply comes down to understanding the law and perhaps using logic as well.

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What Can Be Removed From a Consumer Credit Report?

There are 3 general types of accounts or trade lines that can potentially be removed from a consumer credit report with credit restoration. Obsolete items are those items that have a date of last activity older than 7 years, or 10 years in the case of a bankruptcy. Erroneous items have incorrect information that either must be updated or deleted due to the inaccuracy. And, items that can legally be reported but cannot or simply are not verified for accuracy by the creditor.

Understanding Credit Laws

The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1971. Basically, it gives consumers the right to dispute any item on their credit report. If the creditor does not respond to that dispute or cannot verify the accuracy of the specific trade line, the law says the item must be deleted from the consumer’s credit report. What is happening here is that by not responding to the dispute the creditor is not verifying the accuracy of that reported item. Therefore, consumer protection kicks in and the item must be deleted. That part is pretty simple.

But why would a creditor not respond to a dispute, especially if the debt did not get paid and the date of the last activity on the account is within the last 7 years? This largely depends on the age and type of account, and if the creditor has a certain amount of debt owed to them.

Regarding items that are not obsolete or erroneous, there are those that have a higher probability of the creditor not responding, and those that have a lower probability. Nothing in this category is a sure thing that a creditor won’t respond, and therefore the item will remain. Yet, there is always a possibility.

Other Factors to Consider with Credit Restoration

In my experience as a professional in credit restoration it usually, but not always, comes down to the age of the account and the debt amount. An older account, at least 2 years but better when it is 4+ years, has a higher probability even if money is still owed by the consumer. The reason is that the account was charged off years ago by the creditor. In many cases the creditor wrote the unpaid debt off against income in a particular tax year recovering a significant portion of the debt. Then they perhaps sold the account to a collection agency recovering even more. Why would they, several years later, spend the time, energy, effort and money to respond to a dispute to all three major bureaus? Of course, an account that has a zero balance because the consumer eventually paid it but still shows up as a derogatory trade line, has a much better chance of the creditor not responding because there is no monetary incentive to respond.

However, an account that is less than 2 years old has a lower probability that the creditor won’t respond. Or, the collection agency that purchased the account from the original creditor may now be the creditor of record and they may respond.

Accounts that are still open but have late payments which is the reason they are showing as derogatory will not be deleted because the creditor is reporting on that account on a regular basis. The hope here is that the consumer has a recent history of paying the account on time and that the creditor will update the account to a “paid as agreed” status.

Consider the Value of a Higher Credit Score

What is stated above are generalities. There are no steadfast rules as to why a creditor will and will not respond to a particular item that can legally be reported for 7 years. Credit restoration is an attempt to restore credit regarding these type items. Given the disposition of the item and the creditor it works a significant amount of the time and therefore, is very much worth the attempt especially considering the value of a higher credit score.

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