Possibly one of the most misleading industries in the US today are credit repair companies. There are many sources for credit counseling that mislead consumers into believing that by filling out various credit repair forms they can repair their credit and/or eliminate their debt. The truth is that most companies seldom, if ever, can do anything more than you can do to repair your credit, and the FTC has spent a great deal of time investigating companies who mislead consumers to file bankruptcy under the guise of being a credit repair bureau.
While there are a few legal credit repair forms consumers can use, credit repair takes self-discipline and time. There are two basic underlying definitions of credit repair. The first is to correct any discrepancies on your credit report. Now that consumers can obtain their credit report for free once a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, it is easier than ever to search for discrepancies or disputes.
In some cases, no credit repair forms are necessary. For example, if your credit report contains incorrect personal information such as former or current addresses, or in the case of women, former or current married names, or other incorrect contact information, you can simply contact the reporting agency and provide them with the correct information. However, be sure to also follow up with all three agencies.
In other cases, such as fraudulent charges, unreported resolutions, or a debt that has been reported that isn't yours, you will need to file a dispute with the reporting agency. Disputes can be filed through online forms available from all three agencies, Equifax, Experion, and TransUnion. However, it is best to follow up by mail and preferably even registered mail. If the dispute is large or you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, you should hire an attorney or check with your insurance agent for direction.
In the case of bad credit, there are no magic credit repair forms. There are however, formats you can follow that enable you to provide specific information by mail to your creditors that will jumpstart credit repair. Be leery of agencies offering their help with debt consolidation, credit counseling, etc. Thoroughly investigate any company with the FTC before signing up and providing personal information. The best way to repair credit is to outline your repayment plan in writing and document your plan by sending a letter to each of your creditors and to the credit reporting agencies as well. This way, in the event of legal action on either you or your creditor's behalf, you have proof of your intentions in writing.
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