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You Can Handle Bad Credit Management

Aug 17, 2007
In today's modern world, you are greatly limited if you have a poor credit rating. You may not realize it, but many companies may require you to have a high Beacon score before they will even consider you for any kind of position with them. You may be denied car or homeowner's insurance coverage due to your credit rating. With the economy and unemployment rates, it is hard to have perfect credit, and everyone may slip once in a while.

It is important to understand the proper steps you need to take to repair your credit. Many companies advertise that they can help raise your credit score and erase bad credit, for an extraordinary fee, but the sad reality is that most of them are only looking for a quick buck, and do nothing to help you at all. You are better handling your own bad credit management.

If you decide you cannot handle your own bad debt management, then one of these companies may possibly help you, they are not all bad, but you need to be careful. Do thorough research by looking for customer complaints, and check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are legitimate. In addition, there are some warning signs that may help clue you in to a potential bad debt management scam.

Any company that wants you to pay them for bad debt management services up front may not be totally on the up and up. Inform them that according to the Credit Repair Organizations Act, no company providing a credit repair service are allowed to require you to pay for services until they have actually been rendered. If the company does not inform you of your legal rights in regards to debt management, or if they fail to tell you that you can handle it yourself if you choose, you may want to do some research before dealing with them any further. A company which tells you that you need to contact the credit bureau yourself, especially since they are supposed to be doing all of the legwork for you, should make you suspicious. That's what you're paying them for, after all. Be leery of any company that tells you that they can give you a new identity, allowing you to use an Employer Identification Number, instead of your own social security number.

If you take any illegal action, even at the recommendation of one of these companies, you will be the one who is held liable, not the company or it's representatives. You could be looking at fraud charges, and would have to face whatever penalty allowed by law in your state. Any fraud regarding your identity information, such as a social security number, is considered a punishable federal infraction of the law. You could be charged and prosecuted for mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. It's a federal crime to lie on a loan or credit application, to misrepresent your Social Security number, and to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service under false pretenses.

The fact of the matter is if a debt is a valid debt, there is no way that anyone can have it removed from your credit bureau report. If you think that the information contained in your credit report is incorrect, you can make a formal request for the credit bureau to correct it at no charge to you. They are required to maintain correct information, and you have the right to inspect your report and have any errors corrected in a timely manner.

You can obtain a free credit report one time a year, and you can also request one at no charge if you are denied credit or employment because of information found in the report. You can also file disputes for any debts listed on your report that you feel are not valid, or that have exceeded the amount of the time they are allowed to be on there. When filing a dispute, you have to inform the credit bureau, in writing, of the specific items you are disputing and the reason why. If you have any documentation that would be relevant to proving your claim, you should send it in also. It's a good idea to send this information via certified mail, and be sure to keep copies of all thedocuments you send.

Credit bureaus required to investigate any disputes within thirty days of the claim, unless they think your dispute is invalid. They also have to contact the company responsible for the disputed item, providing them with all the information they have, plus what you have sent them along with your dispute. The company is then required to perform its own investigation, and report the findings back to the credit bureau. If for any reason the information on your report is found to be incorrect, or fraudulent, the responsible company has to notify all three credit bureaus and request it be removed from your file.

Once all of this has been done, the credit bureau will then send you a copy of your new report, along with the results of your dispute claims. Once the information has been taken off of your report, it cannot be placed back on it unless all the pertinent information can be proved correct.

Many people don't know this, but once the invalid information has been removed, you can request the credit bureau to send an updated report to any company who has checked your credit during the previous six months. If it was checked for the purpose of obtaining a job, they can go back and address all requests made within the last two years.

In the event that the dispute doesn't end up in your favor, you have the right to require the credit bureau to include a copy of the dispute in your file, and in all credit reports from that date forward. There is a fee for this service at this time.

You also may want to notify the creditor in writing as well that you are filing a dispute, and send them all of the pertinent information by certified mail as well. If they find that you are right, and that their information was reported in error, they cannot negatively report you again.

If the information in your credit report is correct, and you have some creditors that are showing negative information, you just have to wait the required seven years for it to be removed. In the event that you have filed bankruptcy, you will have to wait ten years for it to come off. For judgments, you can expect them to stay on your report for a minimum of seven years, longer if allowed by the statute of limitations.

According to the Credit Repair Organizations Act, any agency posing as a credit repair company cannot make false claims about any services they offer. Before they can do any work on your behalf, you have to sign a contract, and they have to hold it for three days, during which time you can change your mind without being assessed any fees by the company. Your contract must plainly state the services that will be provided, and the fees that you will be required to pay for those services. It must also specify an estimated date for all work to be completed, list the company's business name and physical address, and also have a section listing any guarantees they offer to their customers.

If you find that one of these companies has violated your rights, or have taken monies from you, you should contact your state law enforcement. You may also report any problem or potential scams to your consumer affairs office.

Don't be disheartened by a poor credit report, as you still may be able to obtain credit when you need it. Not all creditors look at you based solely on a number, as many large companies do. Some look at how you have handled your credit recently, and don't really count the old items against you.

The important thing is to handle credit wisely from now on, and learn how to better handle your finances. If you get in trouble, be smart enough to realize that you may need help, and seek it from a reputable credit counseling agency. Again, do your research, as they are not all trustworthy. It is a good idea to view your credit report from time to time to correct any errors early on, and also to detect possible early warning signs of identity theft.
About the Author
Joseph Then provides advice for people with Bad Credit. Get more of these information for FREE at: Bad Credit Management
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