A credit repair organization is a company that offers to repair your credit for a fee. These companies boost your credit score by cleaning up your credit reports by asking the bureaus to fix errors and remove erroneous charges. But, is a credit repair company essential for your credit's health? Read on to find out.
Tips for Using a Credit Repair Organization
If you plan on using a company to help you clean up your credit reports, make sure to put some safety measures in place and find a reputable company such as Lexington Law.
Credit repair companies often get a bad reputation, but that doesn't make all of them bad or unscrupulous. If you decide a credit repair company can help, there are a few things you should check out before you take the plunge:
- Don't sign a contract until you review it – You should always get a copy of the contract in writing before you sign. Review the fees the credit repair organization charges, look carefully at what they say they can do for you, and make sure you're not locked into a long-term contract. If a company doesn't let you have an agreement in writing or let you out of the agreement you're not happy with, you should reconsider.
- Research the company with the BBB – It's a best practice to always look at Better Business Bureau reviews, and pay attention to consumer reviews as well. If the company has too many complaints, you should proceed with caution. Also, beware of organizations that don't have any negative reviews. When researching, a good tip is to look at all of the middle-of-the-road comments first. You can also ask the company for information about satisfied customers.
- Make sure the company is bonded – A bonded company has posted money to protect its customers from fraud, or in the event they go out of business. Some states require credit repair organizations to be bonded. Using a bonded company is no guarantee, but it gives you an added layer of protection should something happen.
Protecting You Through Law
Because of the reputation of these organizations, and the tendency of some services to use fraudulent methods including scamming consumers, the government put the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) in place. The CROA is designed to protect consumers from dishonest companies. This law helps consumers be aware of their rights when using a credit repair company.
Under the CROA, a credit repair organization can't legally:
- Alter your identity, or advise you to do so – this includes applying for/using an employer identification number (EIN) to get a clean slate on your credit history.
- Tell you to lie about your credit history, or lie on your behalf – this goes for both current and future creditors.
- Lie about the services they can provide.
- Ask you to pay for any service before it's completed.
When you enter into business with a credit repair company, the CROA states that they must provide you with a contract and provide a three-day cancellation window. Only after this window passes can the company start the process.
Credit repair services are also not allowed to insist you sign any form which would waive your legal rights. If any organization disobeys these rules, you have the right to protect yourself by taking the company to court. This right extends for five years, either from the date the wrong occurred or the date you find out about it.
Save Money by Doing These Tasks Yourself
It doesn't take a credit repair organization to repair your credit. If you're considering doing some of the same things they can, all it's going to cost you is time.
For example, you can monitor your credit reports for free, check for problems, and write to the credit bureaus to fix these errors, or let them know if some of the items on your credit reports aren't yours. You can also create a better credit profile by paying all your bills on time each month, and by not carrying high credit card balances.
One downfall to the process of doing this yourself is that you have to regularly follow-up with the credit bureaus to ensure your reports get fixed, and that can be very time consuming. Also, you may not have the expertise that a trained credit counselor has, which could be a disadvantage.
Are You Ready to Take the Plunge?
If your credit needs repairing, you should know that it's something you can do yourself. In addition to fixing negative marks that show up on your credit reports, you can also improve your credit history by getting a car loan. This is an excellent way to make a positive impact on your credit.
Not only does an auto loan add a new line of installment credit to diversify your credit profile, making all your payments on time also helps to build a positive payment history. Payment history is the largest factor that contributes to your credit score.
If you fear you're not eligible for a car loan because you're looking into credit repair, think again. There are special finance dealerships across the country that have lenders ready to work with people who suffer from bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy. At Auto Credit Express, we can help point you in the right direction by matching you with a local dealer. Get the process started today by filling out our easy auto loan request form now.