The Process of Credit Repair and The Truth Behind It
Let us start with the basic truth first -there is absolutely no way to remove any negative items from your credit report. All the promises that you have heard from these credit repair agencies, that you can have a clean slate when it comes to your credit report are false.
So what else can you do?
The truth is you can ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. And, it is free, no fees, no charges but FREE. To your surprise another truth that you should know is everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost.
Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): If your company is planning to seek an unfavorable action against you e.g denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, you can ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. Additionally, you can also get a free report if you are actively looking for employment within 60 days, if you are on welfare or if your report is deemed inaccurate because of fraud. You can request this report through these reporting companies- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You are entitled to one free report annually.
Any mistakes or obsolete information can be disputed for free and the disputes should be resolved by the consumer reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) according to FCRA. You can use this free and legally available means to start your credit repair process.
So what should you do next?
Report any mistakes or inaccuracies through a letter including all copies of proofs or evidence to support your claim. You should clearly state your name, address and provide all items that you are planning to dispute and include the details of each dispute as well. You can circle all the items in question and you can send your letter by certified mail “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the consumer reporting company received. Make sure to keep a copy of all your letters and enclosures. The law requires the credit bureaus to give a response within 30 days. All the relevant data that you have sent should be forwarded to the information provider.
The information provider then shall start an investigation and will report back the result to the consumer reporting company. If indeed the disputed information is found to be inaccurate, the three credit bureaus are required to make corrections right away. If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. You should also receive a written notice that includes the name, address and phone number of the information provider.
Upon your request, the reporting companies can send the updated report to anyone who received your report for the past 6 months and to any employers or companies who received the same within the past two years for employment purposes. If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the consumer reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and future reports. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.
The next step that you should be taking is to inform your creditor or other information providers, through a letter, that there is or are disputed items. Include all copies of proofs that you have as well. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute.