Legal Credit Repair Methods
To better understand what legal credit repair is, it would be helpful to understand a few types of illegal credit repair:
Illegal: Changing your social security number to obtain a clean bill of credit.
If any company should suggest this type of credit repair, report them to the authorities.
Illegal: Disputing every item on your credit report, regardless of nature.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act specifically states that only items that are unverifiable, inaccurate or misleading should be disputed. Items that are clearly yours, and reflect your credit history should not be disputed.
Illegal: Charging for services that have not yet been completed.
This is to protect the consumer from fraudulent companies that charge for services that never get completed (charging to "repair your credit", then hitting the road...)
Can credit repair companies be trusted?
Many "credit repair" companies claim to remove negative credit with the flick of a wrist. Their advertisements make bold assertions and money-back guarantees: "Bankruptcy, tax liens, judgments... no problem!! One hundred percent guaranteed!! Credit report 100% cleared in 30 days!!" Can they really make such sweeping guarantees?
While some credit repair companies are outright frauds, others are not fraudulent and they use the dispute process to obtain impressive results. In fact, they delete thousands of negative credit listings every day.
Unfortunately, it is risky to trust anyone to help you restore your credit. It is estimated that fraudulent credit repair companies have bilked Americans out of more than fifty million dollars. The majority of credit repair companies were started by entrepreneurs with a penchant for marketing. Consumers have flocked to these "credit doctors" only to discover that their advertisements proved far more impressive than their results. Hiring a credit repair company is like playing Russian roulette. Many of them are effective and legitimate, but it is difficult to tell a rip-off from the real article.
So, can credit repair companies guarantee results?
Not a chance! No credit repair company is so good that it can guarantee a specific outcome. It would be like a defense lawyer guaranteeing that the jury will find his client innocent. Guarantees are a sure sign of credit repair fraud. A warranty, where the credit repair company promises a refund if certain results don't occur, is a better, more realistic claim.
Not surprisingly, the credit bureaus have declared war against the credit repair companies and those selling instruction on how to do-it-yourself. The bureaus lambaste credit repair companies in the media and send anti-credit repair literature to anyone whom they suspect of using credit repair services. The bureaus unflinchingly deny that accurate information can be removed from a credit report.
The simple truth is that you do not have to endure bad credit for seven to ten years as long as you feel comfortable challenging the accuracy or verifiability of your credit listings. If so, it is possible to restore creditworthiness within a much shorter time.
However you decide to address your credit challenges, realize that regardless of what you may hear in the news media, thousands before you have sought help and restored their credit. They can show you their homes, cars, and credit cards. Despite the newspaper articles, TV reports, and other credit bureau propaganda to the contrary, the simple truth remains: you can restore your credit.