Most people have some sort of debt. Almost everyone has a credit card balance, an outstanding student loan, or mortgage and car payments. All these loans and their payments result in a credit history, which most people don’t usually give too much thought too until it’s too late. Your credit history can have a major influence on your life, and once you credit history becomes poor you will find yourself unable to rent cars, obtain services without deposits, or get a credit card. This is why, if you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you take steps towards credit repair as soon as possible.
Many people will find their poor credit history to be overwhelming, and will be tempted by one of the many companies online that offer to “fix bad credit” for a fee. Although there are some situations where these companies may of use, for most people they are not necessary, and should be avoided.
The reason credit repair companies aren’t useful for most people are because they rarely do anything that you can’t do yourself. These companies will give the impression that they are doing things you wouldn’t normally be able to do on your behalf, but it most cases they are not.
The general strategy of many of these companies will be to have you first request your credit report from the credit reporting agency, and then to launch numerous challenges to the report in writing. The idea here is not that there are necessarily many (or any) mistakes on your credit report, rather you are trying to take advantage of a legal obligation on the part of the credit reporting agency: namely, that all requests for investigations must be responded to in 30 days. If the agency doesn’t respond to you in that time (and it’s unlikely they will if you challenge multiple items) they must remove the item in question from your credit report.
While this may initially seem like a clever strategy, it’s important to understand that there is nothing to prevent the credit reporting agency from putting the removed items back onto your credit report once they find the proper documentation. In other words: they may not be able to produce the documentation in 30 days and have to remove something, but they will keep investigating, and once they find the documentation the item will be restored to your credit report.
Besides the somewhat dubious strategy that most credit repair companies employ, you should also be careful to avoid any scams. Be advised that these companies are legally bound to render all promised services before accepting any payment from you. They are also obligated to clearly outline all fees and services that will be provided. If you do decide to use the services of a credit repair company, make sure you look over all the paperwork and fine print provided.
In most cases for most people, a credit repair company shouldn’t be necessary. The only time you should use one is if they are truly able to perform services you can’t do, or don’t have time to do, on your own.