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Credit Repair Myths and Facts

There are no secrets to repairing your credit. Many shady credit repair agencies would love you to think the contrary. Negative items can be removed from your credit report and you can do it yourself. One does not need a credit repair "expert" or "law firm" to do it either. While the credit world can seem complex to the average individual, the basics are really simple once you know them.

Fact: You can remove negative items from your credit report.

According to the FCRA, you have the legal right to dispute any piece of information with a credit bureau. Upon doing so, the credit bureau then has 30 calendar days to investigate the item(s). After that time, the credit bureau will either update the item as you request or leave it alone if they proved it was correct to begin with. If you submit additional information on the dispute during the 30 days, the credit bureau is allowed to take an additional 15 days. Disputes can be submitted online at the credit bureau's site or simply sent via postal mail, which happens to be my recommendation. Disputes sent in based on the free credit report now provided under FACTA are given 45 days to resolve.

Myth: Collection agencies can call you anytime and do as they please.

To stop collection agencies from calling you, simply send them a cease and desist letter stating they are only allowed to contact you via postal mail. This ability is afforded you via the FDCPA. Collection agencies have a series of actions they must do to be in compliance. You would be surprised at just how many FCRA and FDCPA violations are committed on a daily basis by many collection agencies. Never speak with a collection agency over the phone. Conducting discussions via written form is best because you have proof.

Fact: Paying a collection account will not improve your score.

As far as credit scores go, a paid collection account is the same as an unpaid one. Your official credit score is called a FICO score. It takes into account many things such as:

  • Age of overall credit file.
  • Number of accounts in good standing.
  • Number of accounts delinquent.
  • Negative items: liens, bankruptcies, repossessions, etc.
  • Time since the negative item was created.
  • Amount of your credit being used (utilization).
  • New account under six months old (which hurt your credit).
  • Number of hard inquiries.
Typically, mortgage lenders will require delinquent accounts be cured but this won't improve your score.

Myth: You must pay any bill that comes to your home from a collection agency.

Under the law you have the right to challenge the legitimacy of any bill sent to you-it is called validation. By sending a validation letter to a collection agency they must, by law, cease all collection activities until they can validate the debt. It is important to note the word is validation and not verification which mean two entirely different things. Validation means they must submit to you proof the bill is yours, which is not a simply an invoice sent to you. Until that is properly done, they can not report the item to your credit report, ask you for money or do anything which can be deemed further collection activity. Do they anyway? Yes they do. This is why it is important to know the law, which is on your side.

It is vital that you check your credit report often as most individuals have erroneous data in them. Don't assume that everything will work as it should because it almost never does. No one will be looking out for your credit identity but you. Credit standing has never been more necessary than it is today. Just about everything we do in life from applying for a job to booking a hotel room has something to do with our credit worthiness. American Consumer Group, a non-profit organization, has set up a free credit repair site with all the information mentioned in this article. Go educate yourself and spread the word.

This article is copyright Jason Andrew Martin LLC.

Jason A. Martin has been conducting business on the Internet for 11 years. He is a free-lance writer on many topics and is currently working on obtaining a degree in Journalism and Law. His blog is displayed at: Jason A. Martin

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