Hey Veterans: Here’s A Simple Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair Guide
Hey Veterans: You might be aware that there are many options available on the market if you find that you need to repair your credit. It’s not a fun job, but there are many companies ready to take on the task for you if you don’t already know which loans to pay off first.
However, most credit repair companies will not help you until you hand over their fee. Some credit repair companies do a really good job, but too many customers claim that many do not.
You must remember that these companies are mostly only out for your money, so you should be on guard.
Repairing your own credit, however, is quite possible, if you want to take the time to learn to do it. But you’ll need persistence and organization. Get those two things going for you and you can do your own repair as well as any company who charges for the service.
Before we get started, just realize that this process cannot force a company to take off any information that is UNTRUE. But there is still always a little room for improvement on most credit reports.
Follow these steps to begin to successfully repair your credit on your own:
1. Get copies of all your credit reports.
Experian, TransUnion, and yes, even Equifax are the big 3 credit reporting firms. You should get your reports from all three sources so you know what you’re dealing with.
• You can easily get a free copy of your credit report once a year from all three companies by visiting https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
• OR if you’ve recently been denied credit or a job (yikes!) for having poor credit, you are also entitled to free copies of your reports, as long as it has been less than a year since you got copies.
• Sit down and carefully read the reports to figure out what these companies are saying about you and your beloved creditworthiness.
2. Determine if there any errors in those reports.
Once you obtain your credit reports, be sure to list any negative information, even if it’s true. Due to the nature of the beast, almost all people will have at least one error on their credit report.
• Remember that the credit bureaus are just machines designed to spew any information that gets posted to them. They simply can’t take the time to verify it, so it’s up to you.
• Make a concise list of every item you’ll want to dispute.
3. Dispute all the negative items.
It won’t do any good to dispute true items still carrying a balance because the lender still has a vested interest in making you pay up. However, everything else is fair game. Items with a balance will just reappear the following month anyway.
• All disputed items should be documented in writing from your own Word doc or Google doc. Don’t use forms that are available online on the credit bureau’s website. They need to do some work anyway.
• Do a search. There are many form letters online that you can use for your dispute. You basically just want to say that you don’t agree with the items and wish to have them verified.
• The credit bureau now has 30 days to go back to the creditor and try to verify the accuracy of the item or else it must be removed from your credit report. This also works if they fail to accomplish the ask in a timely fashion, for any reason. It’s the law! Boom!
• Make certain to send all business correspondence via registered mail, FedEx, or their equivalent. You’ll want to be able to prove that the item was indeed received by the credit bureau and when.
• Then, if they don’t verify the disputed items in time, you can then remind them of the law and demand that the items in question be removed from your credit report.
4. Don’t give up. Queue the Rocky Theme Music!
Patience, persistence, and organization (ok, so I couldn’t come up with that third “P” word) are going to be the keys to success. That, and the fact that the bureaus have no real vested interest in keeping items on your report. However, you must send and resend your letters if necessary, then follow up, and document everything. Be sure to keep copies of your letters in a folder along with the company responses. You might need this information later to make some things happen.
5. Remind yourself of the basic truth.
The truth is that credit bureaus make money by selling credit reports and not by responding to your nit-picking inquiries. The last thing they prefer to do is waste time and resources on helping you fix your reports. However, if you can prove to be a bit of a pain in the neck, you will eventually get what you desire.
6. I’ll see you in court!
Threatening to take or even going through with taking the credit bureaus to court and suing them to change your information can be thought of as a last resort, scorched earth solution. For monetary reasons, though, it really shouldn’t make it that far. Why? Because:
• Anytime there’s a mistake on your credit report and the credit bureau refuses to remove it, they’re subject to a $1,000 fine. The same $1,000 fine applies for each item they fail to verify and/or refuse to remove. Talk about a big stick!
• Credit bureaus have a long and glorious history of caving-in at the last minute and giving the consumer everything they want. It’s just smart business. Why subject yourself to all those fines plus the potential bad PR?
• They don’t even want to show up for the People’s Court. Don’t hesitate to file a lawsuit with your local small claims court to get “satisfaction”.
• Of course, there may be the odd case when you might have to actually show up to court before they are willing to deal. So be it. Just remember that these credit agencies simply don’t want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in fines, especially when they have nothing to gain. If some manager lets it get this far, their job is surely on the line. Remind them of that.
Summing It All Up!
Free (Ok – mostly free in money, but not time) DIY credit repair is something that anyone with some patience and perseverance (Oooohhh, I found that third “P” word!) can do. It is super simple but brutally effective. Be prepared, though, because it can take months to see any real improvement. Just remind yourself that it’s much faster than just waiting out ten or so years it will take for the items to fall out of the database and off their lists naturally.
Boost your credit, fix your good name, and take control of your life. You’ll be very happy you learned how to be these bureaucracies at their own game!