Questions and Answers to help you better understand the Credit Repair/Restoration/Rebuilding Process
Any information on a credit report can be removed, but it has to be removed due to a violation of some type (which you will find described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act) (FCRA). There are many laws written to protect you (the consumer), so anything that violates these laws will cause removal of any accounts including judgments, liens, collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies and late payments that are incorrect, misleading, obsolete or inaccurate.
Yes! You should always keep your balances at least 50% below the limit. If at all possible, try even lower than 35% below the limit. Having credit cards can improve your credit scores—if you do not abuse them and if you have no more than one to three. Of course, making your payments on time will also help increase your scores.
Yes, there are companies who will give you a mortgage loan if you have less than perfect credit, but you can expect to pay higher interest rates, which will make your monthly payments higher. It is much better to clean up your credit reports so that you can have higher credit scores, which will result in the best interest rates possible. Want to clean up your credit reports? Give us a call if you would like us to help you!
No, legally they cannot. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act contains information as to what a collection agency can and cannot do, what times they can call you, etc. Most people do not know their credit rights (Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Billing Act).
Here are your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
- Debt collectors may contact you only 1 time per day
- Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 am and 9 pm (your time)
- Debt collectors may not threaten, harass, oppress, or abuse you
- Debt collectors may not tell you that they can take your house, or vehicle
- Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves
- Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime
- Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to in writing
They must adhere to the federal law, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money.Q: What can I do if a bill collector violates the FDCPA?
First, try to get the collector back on the phone and repeat whatever you said the first time that caused the collector to make the illegal statement(s). Have a witness listen in on an extension or tape the conversation. Taping is permitted without the collector's knowledge in all states except California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.
Then file a complaint. You can even file a complaint if you don't have a witness, but a witness helps. File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, 6th & Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20850, 202-326-2222.
The FTC also has an on-line complaint form at: https://rn.ftc.gov/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01
Next, complain to your state consumer protection agency (who in some cases is your state attorney general's office). (We are seeing some state attorney general’s suing the collection agencies because they have had so many complaints from consumers! So your voice is heard!!!)
Finally, send a copy of your complaint to the creditor who hired the collection agency. If the violations are severe enough, the creditor may stop the collection efforts. If the violations are ongoing, you can sue the collection agency (and the creditor that hired the agency) for up to $1,000 in small claims court for violating the FDCPA. You probably won't win if you can prove only a few minor violations. If the violations are outrageous, you can sue the collection agency and creditor in regular civil court.Q: Can I get copies of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
You can request these copies from the Federal Trade Commission. Know your rights and get educated!Q: What can I do if a creditor or collection agency keeps mailing me harassing letters to pay up or else?
First you want to make sure that they are following all federal laws that govern them. (The Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act). Most know these laws but do not abide by them fully. They prey upon consumers and harass them because most people do not know these laws and they do not have to be a victim! You can fight back and make them follow the law. You have more credit rights than you know. Some of these choices are: send them a “Debt Validation Letter”, a “Do Not Call Letter” or a “Cease and Desist Letter”. Even if you think that the information may look accurate, you don’t just want to pay a collection agency that merely sends you 1 letter that says “Hey you, you need to pay us”. What are your guarantees that you really owe this? What proof do they have that you owe this? What documentation do they have to rightfully collect for the original creditor? We can help you to decide what to do depending on your own unique situation to benefit you the most.
Paying a collection debt doesn’t mean it will come off of your credit report. What it does mean is that now it will be reported as a “Paid Collection.” This is the most common myth when it comes to a collection account. The collection agencies will lie to you to get your money. They have been known to say, “Yes, we will update your account if you pay this collection account”. Did you really hear what they said? Updating doesn’t mean DELETING your negative collection account; it just means updating to show that you finally paid the collection account. This will then appear as: “Paid collection”. We will advise and teach you in how to negotiate properly with your creditors or the collection agencies. It is all done in writing, not by phone calling. This way you always have documented proof and a paper trail of every transaction.
Negative credit (late payments, collections, charge-offs, closed accounts, child supports, civil and small claim judgments, paid tax liens) - 7 years from the date paid
Chapter 7, 11 and 12 Bankruptcy - 10 years
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - 7 years
Unpaid tax liens - 10 years
Inquiries - 2 yearsQ: If I believe that a credit bureau or collection agency has violated the law, can I sue them or file a complaint?
Yes! A consumer can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Attorney General, or Consumer Credit Commission. If you feel that they have violated your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can sue a credit bureau or collection agency, and/or you can file a complaint with the small claims court in your area. You don’t have to have an attorney to do this. With proper documentation, you can effectively take care of this on your own. The costs to do this are approximately $14 to $50, but check your local small claims court office for correct amount.
By calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT or going towww.OptOutPrescreen.com; you can opt out for 5 years or permanently. This will stop the credit card companies from pulling your credit reports without your authorization, sending you junk mail, and in the process, you’ll also be saving a lot of trees! This is a free service and only takes about 2 minutes.