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Credit Repair or Root Canal?

Credit Repair or Root Canal?

Eh…what’s the difference?  Truth is that there are businesses and individuals out there who make millions every year doing either digging around in peoples’ gums or digging around in peoples’ credit reports and if the idea of being involved in either makes you cringe, you are not alone.   Going in to do either requires internal fortitude and a desire for relief of some discomfort or pain.

The first step in approaching credit repair is to determine whether or not repair is actually needed, and if it is, why it is needed.  This is usually done by getting your score from the three major reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  You can request your report either in writing or online and in most states are entitled to one free report per year.

Once you have your report in hand, there will usually be two reasons to decide you need to repair your report, either you realize you’ve done some things that were not quite favorable to your score, or you see some items on your report that are errors and you want removed.  Repairing your credit is a process that can be broken down into 3 steps:

  1. Identify the agency that has something on your report you wish to change.  You will need to determine their phone number and mailing address which is usually right on the report as well.
  2. Write to the Credit Reporting Agency that has the item on your report.  You must detail what the item is you wish to dispute in detail, usually including the account number and amount of the item.  The Agency will then notify the business that has the item on your credit that you are disputing the charge and that they must, within 30 days provide written proof of the debt.
  3. Wait the 30 days (make it 45 from the time you first contact the reporting agency to be safe), and if you have received nothing, send a second letter to the Credit Reporting Agency again with all of the pertinent information notifying them that they must now remove the offending item from your report.  If the business does send you proof of the debt, it then becomes a matter to settle between you and them if it is legitimate.

These steps can easily take three months or more to get a satisfactory result from.  The results from checking and cleaning up your credit, however, can be extraordinary and yield very positive things like a bigger house, better car or higher limits on your cards with lower interest rates. Undoubtedly credit drives our society, and taking the time and careful attention to watch your own reports and keep them spotless will go a long way toward benefiting you and your family.

Alternatively, if the idea of sitting and writing and sitting and waiting to repair your finances does not appeal to you, as mentioned earlier, there are businesses who make a tidy living off of doing that work for others like you. Be careful to research carefully any company before engaging their services, however. Just like buying a car, it is possible to get stuck with a “lemon” of a credit-repair agency.

Useful Links
Federal Trade Commission
Sample Credit Repair Letters
Tips for Avoiding Credit Repair Scams

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