Credit repair companies are companies that promise to repair your credit (for a fee). There is nothing that a credit repair company can do for you that you can't do for yourself.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against believing advertisements which promise to fix your credit. There is no quick fix.
If you need help, consider contacting a legitimate nonprofit Credit Counseling Service. If you prefer to use a credit repair company, consider the following.
What To Look For In A Contract With A Credit Repair Company
Before you sign a contract, credit repair organizations must give you a copy of the "Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law". They also must give you a written contract that spells out your rights and obligations.
Before signing, be sure the contract specifies:
- A period of at least three days during which you can reconsider without owing any money.
- The payment terms for services, including the total cost.
- A detailed description of the services the company will perform.
- How long it will take to achieve the result.
- Any guarantees the company offers.
- That the company will not complete any services until you have signed a written contract and until the expiration of a three-day waiting period. During this time you can cancel the contract without paying any fees.
- The company's name and business address.
Scam Credit Repair Companies To Watch For
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against believing advertisements which make statements such as:
- "Credit problems? No Problem"
- "We can earase your bad credit - 100% guaranteed."
- "We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens and bad loans from our credit file forever."
Such statements are likely signs of a scam because there is no quick fix for creditworthiness. It takes time to improve your credit, including sticking to a personal debt repayment plan. No one can remove accurate negative information from your credit report.
The FTC suggests the following indicate a company is up to no good:
- The company wants you to pay for credit repair services before any services are provided. Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed the services they promised.
- The company doesn't tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free.
- The company recommends that you do not contact any of the three major national credit reporting companies directly.
- The company tells you it can get rid of most or all the negative credit information in your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current.
- The company suggests that you try to invent a "new" credit identity -- and then, a new credit report -- by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number.
- The company advises you to dispute all the information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy or timeliness.
If you follow illegal advice and commit fraud, you may find yourself in legal hot water.