You may already know that attempting to clear derogatory items from your credit report is not only possible, but it’s your right as a consumer through the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Erroneous, inaccurate and outdated items can cause your credit score to plummet which can keep you from getting a home loan, car loan or even a credit card. Even items that are more recent and are accurate can be removed if the creditor does not respond to your dispute. But how do you choose a credit repair company to help you?
Consumer Disputes Have Very Low Success Rates
In theory a consumer can dispute these items without any assistance from a credit repair company. The chances of success are very low however. There are several reasons why. You must know the process, know what to put in the letter, know the correct dispute code, and know what to do if the creditor and credit bureau responds stating there will be no change on your credit report. Most often an individual doesn’t have the time to learn the process and continue it through to a successful conclusion.
That is why it’s important to choose a credit repair company that is reputable. They will draft letters on your behalf with the correct dispute code and continue the dispute process for up to a year. They have the expertise and experience to overcome difficulties a creditor may present in the process. And, they will follow through on the process as they have professionals overseeing your account.
How to Choose a Credit Repair Company
However, because of the number of people in need of credit repair a myriad of companies have popped up in the last year or two. Some of these companies may have the ability to successfully help a client but some are run by individuals who have purchased a software program and are suddenly in the credit repair business. There are also stories of consumers getting charged a significant fee only to never hear from the company again.
If you are looking to choose a credit repair company, follow these simple tips. And remember, success leaves clues. If the company or individual you are talking to doesn’t seem legitimate follow your instinct.
- The company should be in business for 2 to 3 years or longer. If not, that could mean they just recently started in order to take advantage of the need in the marketplace.
- They should have a Better Business Bureau rating. And that rating should be at least an A.
- They should have accreditation from a third party national credit services organization. One such agency is the National Association of Credit Services Organizations.
- The person selling you the service shouldn’t be the person handling the dispute process. If they are that means they are a very small, perhaps one woman/man operation and your account may get buried if they get busy. Also, there is no accountability if something happens to this person.
Fees for Credit Repair Should Be Reasonable
- You should not have to pay more than a nominal account set up fee and a monthly fee under $100. Note- some credit repair services seem reasonable because they charge a low fee to remove each derogatory item. However, what they may not tell you is that each item must be removed from each of the 3 major credit bureaus. So, if someone has 6 derogatory items on each of the 3 credit bureau reports, and the company is charging $50 per item, that’s going to cost $900.
- The company should offer a customer satisfaction guarantee.
- The individual or company should explain that some items will not be deleted from your credit report on the first dispute. In some cases it takes several attempts. They should commit to at least 3 attempts. 5 is optimum.
- The individual or company should be able to show you examples of success they have had with other clients.
- There should be a way for you to monitor the progress of your credit repair process online.
- The individual or company should draft the dispute letters on your behalf but the letters should be sent to the credit bureau by you. You are the one that needs to dispute your items. It becomes far less effective if the letters are not signed by, and sent by you.