Credit Repair Organizations

By: Bob Guy

You may have bad credit due to some irresponsible moves or some unforeseen events in your life. You should never pay a credit card late, even if you need to get a quick advance or to get you through to your next paycheck. Protecting your credit score could prove to be very important to your future. There are lots of ways to keep your credit good, but if it's already looking pretty bad, consider some other options. One way, which we'll talk about here, is to go through a credit repair organization.

If you are tempted to use a credit repair company to fix your problems, please read this first. Credit repair companies can make a lot of promises, but be careful who you give your information to. There is a lot of deception going on in this industry and there are a few signs that you should look for.

First, if they ask you for any money up front, then it isn't a legitimate or ethical company. The Credit Repair Organizations Act says that companies aren't allowed to ask you for any money until everything that they have promised has been completed. So this should be your first big red flag.

Secondly, they should always inform you of your legal rights and the means that you can go through yourself to repair your credit. Crazy promises to remove all bad things from your credit should be ignored. No one can do this. You can investigate your credit files to dispute any inaccurate or incomplete information, but you can't make negative information just vanish. If a credit repair organization tells you not to contact a credit reporting agency yourself, you should hang up the phone and do just that. Anything that a credit repair company can do for you, you can actually do for yourself, for free. Research a little online and find out what your rights are under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The Credit Repair Organizations Act is in place to protect you. If you decide to go with a credit repair company, then you should familiarize yourself with the basics of this act before you proceed. We've mentioned that they can't charge you until they've completed everything that they've promised, but you should also know that they must provide you with payment terms for their services. They must inform you of all fees and a final total amount that will be due. They must give you a detailed description in writing of everything that they plan to do. They have to give you a timeline in which the process will be completed. Any guarantees must be in writing and included in the contract. The company's name and address must also be included on the contract.

Before you sign anything, they must provide you with a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law. They can't start repairing your credit until they have a signed contract in hand and have completed a three day waiting period. Anytime during the waiting period you have the right to change your mind and cancel the contract, owing nothing. Keep your rights in mind throughout the process and educate yourself before you start. Remember, anything they can do for you, you can do yourself for free.

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