Credit Repair: Does It Work?

You may have seen advertisments on the internet or TV telling you about ways that you can repair your credit without paying off balances. After looking into this I found that the technique they use is to officially dispute each listing on your report. Federal law says that if the creditor does not send in proof of some kind within a certain time period that the debt is valid then it must be removed from your credit report. This sounds awfully tempting, and I’m having my doubts. Note that this is very different from credit consilodation agencies that offer to contact your creditors to consolidate your debt, with those guys you are paying off the balances a little at a time by paying them one lump sum that they divide amoung the people you owe. So has anyone used a service like that and does it really work? Thanks in advance for any info!

Almost forgot, here is a link to an example of the kind of service I mean:

No, I’ve never used them. I figure that the reason my credit is bad is that I really am pretty bad about paying on time and stuff like that. I could dispute it, but they’d have no problem finding the proof. So why should I waste the money, time, and effort?

Of course, if you really think that their info is wrong, that’s a whole nother story.

Credit repair: they just dispute stuff for you.

Total scam. Ranks up there with psychic readers.

I’ve repaired my own credit, all by myself.
1st, you research credit and credit scoring. Find out what makes your credit good, and what makes it bad. Most Americans don’t really understand what makes for good or bad credit scores.
2nd, you get your reports.
3rd, you figure out how you can most realistically and easily improve your score. Dispute bogus and negative items. Perform balance transfers in such a fashion as to maximize your score.
4th, if your conscience permits it, go ahead and dispute negative items that are inaccurate, but partially true. Most credit reporting agencies will proceed to delete entire entries, even though they’re only partly inaccurate.
If you do the above, you can basically get the same results that you’ll get from a credit repair organization.
Also, there are certain procedures that I left out.
These are… a little shaky from an ethical perspective, but all perfectly legal.
One is to send a “Request for validation” letter to any collection agencies involved. Once you do that, if the collection agency responds to your disputes on their items without providing you certain documents, they basically incur a $1000 penalty, enforceable in civil or small claims.
There are a few more options, but I don’t have time to write them all out.
I heard one horror story about Lexington Law Firm. In this one, they behaved very oddly, and they actually DISPUTED POSITIVE TRADELINES off of this poor client’s report. I’d be a wee bit wary of dealing with them.

References: -> discussion forums <— this site is commercial, but still has some interesting ideas.

Well, psychic readers achieve nothing at all…
Credit repair organizations are more like hiring a maid… who occasionally, but not usually, poors mud on the carpet.

Of course, there’s the ethical question, i.e. if you really do have poor credit then these items should show up on your credit report…

There’s the additional consideration that if you fix your credit before learning to actually manage your money, you can get yourself in a world of trouble.
However, let’s that Crafter_man’s statement:
“if you really do have poor credit then these items should show up on your credit report…”
Why? There’s no law indicating that all information about you should have be on your credit report.
I don’t remember any biblical prohibitions about having inaccurate credit reports, either.
If your banker asks you specific questions, then of course, you are obligated to disclose any and all information you have access to regarding your finances and history, as a matter of ethics and law.


go to Mexico, buy a fake American passport from this guy Pablo on the corner of 9th and main in Tijuana, come back to the states, go to the DMV, retake test, BOOM! you’re a new man!

You might have to fake your old you’s death though.

…If that doesn’t sound plausable there are a few places that will consolidate all your debt and charge you %30 interest to pay it all off

Hey Jonathon could you expand a bit more on how to go about this please?

I’ve been meaning to ask this in my own thread when I eventually have the time to pursue is (and I look forward to checking out your links) but I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to really take the time to do the necessary research.

My situation: I believe my credit has been majorly screwed up by a bogus claim. My credit was absolutely impeccable all my life until just recently. A physical therapist who I saw regularly for a few months (back about 6 years ago), began just last year sending me this ridiculus bill of around $1200. I was insured when I saw him (well, them. I saw many different people there) and as far as I knew everything was covered. So 5 years later they send me this bill???!!!

I don’t know where it came from, or even how to investigate it, but they sent it to a collection agency, and eventually reported it. For the first time ever a few months ago I got refused for a new credit card :mad: (or actually just accepted with a very low limit).

Anyway, it seemed like this thread might be a good place to inquire about it.

Moe: Well, get a copy of all 3 credit reports. Is the physical therapist reporting you, or is a collection agency reporting you?
If it’s all a collection agency reporting it, send them (the collection agency) a validation letter, certified and return receipt requested. Go to that site I mentioned and join (it’s free). They have a perfectly good sample letter there.
5 days after you get the return receipt for the letter, call all credit reporting agencies that list the collection account and dispute the tradeline as untrue.
Three things can happen:
A) The CA doesn’t verify when the credit reporting agencies ask “Is this a legit debt or not?”. In this case, your credit report(s) will be fixed at the end of 35 days.
B) The CA doesn’t respond to you, but does verify when the credit reporting agency(ies) ask “Is this legit?”. In this case, the collection agency just violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There’s a $1,000 (or damages, whichever is higher) penalty against them if they do this and it injures you, which it clearly has in this case. In this case, do something to prove damages (try to refinance your mortgage, get a lower rate credit card to balance transfer to and save interest, etc) and then use the savings you COULDN’T get as the basis for a lawsuit in your local small claims court, or the next court up.
Federal law also holds the original creditor responsible for the actions of the collection agency they hire. I reccomend suing both of them for damages, and letting the judge handle any complaints that either might have that you’re already suing the other.
C) The collection agency provides you with a full, detailed, and easily comprehensible piece of evidence proving to any reasonable person that you do in fact owe the $1200 in question. They then most likely verify with the Credit Reporting Agencies.
This will at least help you understand why this is on your credit report. If you are in fact contractually obligated to pay this money, I suggest calling up the original creditor and making arrangements to pay the entire bill just as soon as you can.
However, prior to paying them, make them sign a contract agreeing that neither they nor their agents shall be permitted to discuss said debt with any third parties, and that they shall immediately remove any notations indicating any and all indebtedness from you to them from any and all credit reporting agencies. Set a “damages” clause in the contract specifying that they acknowledge that if they or their agent fail to live up to any part of the non-disclosure agreement, they agree to pay $1200 in damages.

Thanks for all of the informative replies guys, this is all very helpful. I don’t want to resort to something shady to clean up my credit, but to be honest my past has been troubling at times and I’ve screwed my credit up royally. I don’t know any legitimate way to clear it all up in a reasonable time period other than to solicit a company like the one in my first post. I know it could be done myself, but its a big project and I think I may need some help geting organized. For an $80 one time fee and about $30 a month the law firm will take care of the details and it may just help some. If I do wind up trying it I’ll post back here and let everyone know how it goes. In the mean time if someone would care to share their personal experience with such a place I’d love to hear about it.

You remember the anecdote about them getting good items off of a lady’s credit report?
This lady had a totally empty report after they were done… the car she’d paid off, with no missed payments… GONE… the credit card she didn’t get delinquent on, that established a decent length of credit history for her (the #1 thing that matters on a credit report if you don’t have delinquencies… GONE.
You still wanna’ do this?

Well, if my choice was to blank out my credit vs what I have no then sure, I’d still do it. But at the same time I would think that no one in their right mind would dispute a positive report, why would they do that except in error? I’m sure that happens, but again I’d prefer a blank report to the one I have now.