Credit issues are like rats – they’re freak us out, they grow in number till they overwhelm us, and we’d just rather leave the hairy problem to a professional.
Similarly, I totally understand if one wants to use a credit repair specialist – I mean, who wants to spend nights and weekends getting lost in their own credit reports when there’s someone who is fully equipped to deal with it?
You might want to fix your credit alone
Still there are others that remain cautious about paying for such services. This is especially so if you consider that a person who desperately needs credit repair might still be in a precarious financial situation.
If this sounds like you, then dealing with it yourself would be the logical solution. In some cases it’s entirely manageable. For example, correcting errors or deleting late payments on you report can be relatively straightforward.
Straightforward yes, but still tedious nevertheless. Therefore, consider your options: if you have money to spend, then you might be keen to hire outside help to repair your credit. Be forewarned though, this opens a whole new can of worms.
Below, we’ll go through four things that you need to do when hiring a credit repair specialist.
1. Be wary of companies that promise you guaranteed results
Some credit repair companies have seen it all. They have years of experience behind them and can suggest the likelihood of improving your credit. This is fine.
However, you should be concerned if a company tries to guarantee you a clean state. As tough as it may be to accept, the truth is that there are no guarantees. You should be even more wary if the company makes promises without even assessing your credit report, or gone over your records!
In all likelihood, the company is trying to make promises to win your business or charge a higher rate. Just remember that no one can promise you certain results.
2. Run far away if you hear the term “Credit Privacy Number”
There’s a bit of word going around that credit repair companies are offering Credit Privacy Numbers (CPNs). These are basically numbers that can be used to apply for loans, credit cards etc. The claim is that these CPNs take the place of your social security number. Thus, you can effectively “replace” your credit history just by taking on a CPN. Sounds like a good idea right?
Hardly. Credit reporting companies are more on the ball than you think. If a creditor attempts to pull your credit history using the CPN, credit reporting companies will cross check the CPN to your name and figure out if you’re trying to use a fake social security number, or one that isn’t yours.
At the end of the day, your name and details will still be tied to your credit history. Bottom line – it’s illegal and, don’t bother.
3. Get a contract written up and study it carefully
It’s very important to have a written contract in place setting all the services that the credit repair company will provide as well as all the costs. That way, there’s an understanding of the work that’s required on both sides (yes, you’ll still have to provide documents and fill out forms) and how much you can expect to pay.
Now, you might be required to do some homework, but make sure you’re not paying for any services such as “dispute resolution fees” that might potentially be free if you were to undertake it yourself.
4. Be committed to improving your credit
You’re still going to need to work with the credit repair agency to fix your credit. They’ll likely require you to give backgrounds on certain payments and loans.
You’d also want to do some homework so that you’re at least aware that your specialist is trying to get you to do something illegal. For example, there have been cases of credit repair companies trying to get their clients to lie to the authorities about not receiving court summons etc.
Finally, you want to make sure that you change the habits that might have landed you in trouble in the first place (assuming that you correctly incurred black marks on your credit report). Having good credit is an ongoing process and getting someone to get rid of it once will not ensure that it stay “good”.
In all honesty, you could take steps to fix your credit by yourself. But often, we just feel more comfortable if someone else did the work for us. While credit repair companies offer an “easy” solution if you have the money to spare, the industry’s reputation remains marred by numerous black sheep, so go in with both eyes open!
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