There is no such thing as a quick fix in consumer credit; it takes time and knowledge of how the consumer credit world works to become creditworthy. You can do your own credit repair with a little effort and planning.
A credit repair agency cannot improve your credit score if it is based on your accurate credit information. Your credit report should include items permitted under the law, if the information reported is correct then there is nothing a credit repair agency can do to improve your credit report. Credit repair agencies cannot remove unfavorable but accurate information from your report.
Credit repair agencies do not have any special powers to do anything you cannot do yourself for FREE.
Watch out for companies that say they’ll “fix” bad credit for a fee — often substantial, usually payable in advance. So-called credit repair clinics say they will arrange to have negative credit information removed from your record — including information about bankruptcies and default judgments.
If you do decide to hire a credit repair agency, they must give you a written agreement that itemizes the services and goods they will supply, when they are going to start and when they are going to complete their services and the total amount you will be charged. A credit repair agency may not demand advance payment, or any payment at all unless its services result in a material improvement to your credit report.
According to the Federal Trade Commission
The Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA) makes it illegal for credit repair companies to lie about what they can do for you, and to charge you before they’ve performed their services. The CROA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and requires credit repair companies to explain:
- your legal rights in a written contract that also details the services they’ll perform
- your three day right to cancel without any charge
- how long it will take to get results
- the total cost you will pay
- any guarantees
What if a credit repair company you hired doesn’t live up to its promises? You have some options. You can:
- sue them in federal court for your actual losses or for what you paid them, whichever is more
- seek punitive damages — money to punish the company for violating the law
- join other people in a class action lawsuit against the company, and if you win, the company has to pay your attorney’s fees
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Be Credit Wise! It is far smarter to take the time to deal with the problem than hoping for the best or try to deal with the issue when buying a big ticket item.