Credit Repair Roadblocks
The following is advice on effectively dealing with credit bureaus and creditors while you try to improve your credit rating.
You might be told by a credit bureau that some or all of the information offered here is not correct or that it will not work, or that it is illegal. This is false. The information in this section has helped thousands of people improve their credit ratings and all of it is perfectly legal.
You should be aware that credit bureaus earn the vast majority of their money from subscribers (your creditors). Every time a consumer disputes his credit report it eats into their profit. The more consumers that bother them, the more clerks they have to hire to deal with the phone calls and paperwork, which lower their profits even more. So, when you phone them, their number one goal is to try and get rid of you as quickly as possible. They might tell you that there is nothing you can do to get that negative information removed from your credit report and that you should just accept this fact.
When a consumer phones a credit bureau and is told that he does not have the right to dispute incorrect, false, inaccurate or obsolete information in his credit report, it is a violation of federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under the provisions of this federal law, as long as the information in your file is not stated fairly, you have the right to dispute it. Too many consumers are not aware of this fact. Consumer ignorance is why credit bureaus violate this law so often. They know that they can get away with doing so. Credit bureaus are regulated by the FTC. The FTC sues them and slaps their hands only occasionally. For the most part, they are allowed to continue operating in a manner that is most profitable for them.
This does not mean that credit bureaus are solely to blame for your failure to get information removed from your credit report as illustrated by this true story: A 23 year old, newly married and just out of college was trying to get a mortgage loan. He was turned down because a credit card account that had been charged-off appeared on his credit report. The name on the account was the same as his, but the account wasn't his, and it couldn't have possibly been his, since it was opened when he was just 12 years old. Since credit card companies don't give $5,000 lines of credit to 12 year olds, one would think it would be easy to have this account removed from his credit report. Wrong! Numerous calls and two dispute forms sent along with proof of his age to Experian and the creditor reporting the information over a period of several months could not get this information removed from his credit report. He was told by Experian that the information absolutely positively would not be removed from his credit report since the subscriber was reporting it as accurate. Despite the fact that the account obviously was not his and its appearance on his credit report was a violation of the FCRA, he could not get it removed. He purchased our credit kit, send a certified letter return receipt requested and got the issue resolved.
The above story illustrates the point that when you stand up for your rights and refuse to accept defeat, you can get better results. Below are tips on getting better results when dealing with credit bureaus and the companies who report information to your credit report:
(1) When communicating with creditors / credit bureaus, you will get better results if you adopt a firm, but polite and professional manner. In other words, don't use vulgar language, make threats or insulting remarks, yell, scream, or act like a jerk. Do not threaten to sue them or claim that you have an attorney. Each of the three credit bureaus and most of your creditors has large, very informed legal departments who are extremely knowledgeable about their rights and obligations. They aren't afraid of you or your attorney. So claiming that "my attorney is going to sue you" is a dead give away that you do not have an attorney, and it makes you sound amateurish and uneducated. Also, there is the fact that if you did indeed have an attorney, she would be the one communicating with the creditor / credit bureau, and not you. Secondly, do not lie or exaggerate your claims when communicating with creditors / credit bureaus. If you want to be compensated, make a demand for a reasonable amount of money. A good rule of thumb is to never put anything in a letter sent to a creditor or credit bureau that would embarrass you if it were read in court.
(2) Be informed. There are several federal laws regulating credit bureaus, your creditors, and debt collectors. The full texts of these laws are available at the FTC website (www.ftc.gov). Quote provisions in these laws that support your argument when communicating with credit bureaus and creditors. You should familiarize yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is the federal law regulating credit bureaus and credit reports.
(3) When you realize that it's going to be tough to get a dispute resolved, start communicating only in writing and send everything certified mail, return receipt requested. Sending all correspondence from the beginning by certified mail will get you much better results. Certified letters are much more powerful than a telephone call or a letter sent by regular mail because you have proof of receipt. Secondly, a certified letter tells them you're serious. If you should decide to sue, you have documented proof to give to your attorney.