Credit Repair Companies: Not Always What They Seem
If you’re considering using a credit repair company to improve your credit score, you might want to think twice. While these companies often promise to help consumer’s improve their credit scores, the reality is that they can often do more harm than good. As we like to say, beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
That’s the take away in a recent article written by Andy Spears called “Are Credit Repair Companies Help or Hype?”. Spears is a well respected consumer advocate who writes on a number of consumer protection issues in his blog called Advocate Andy. He shares that “Consumers should be wary of claims of “credit repair” and for good reason.
Common Tactics Used by Deceptive Credit Repair Companies
There are a number of ways that credit repair companies can damage consumer’s credit scores. One of the most common is by promising to remove or delete negative items from consumer’s credit reports, even if those items are accurate. Another way is by steering consumers into debt management plans that can have a negative impact on their credit scores.
This week at the request of the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, a federal judge issued an injunction against a Texas based credit repair company and it’s owner. In the lawsuit, the FTC says that since 2018, the company scammed people out of more than $10.1 million through their fraudulent credit repair scheme. Other false claims in the complaint included that the consumers’ credit scores would be boosted by 50-200 points, a violation of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).
Identifying and Avoiding Illegal Credit Repair Practices
The use of such inducements, like promising to raise a consumer’s credit score, is against the law and a good way to identify a company that you should avoid. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed against a company.
Spears says, “You should never pay an upfront fee for so-called credit repair. In fact, these types of fees paid in advance are illegal. If a company asks you to pay in advance for their credit repair service, they are breaking the law and you should steer clear.”
Cracking Down on Exploitative Tactics: A Message from the Justice Department
The Justice Department is also putting the message out to those who are targeting consumers with similar schemes.
“Credit repair scams affect consumers who already are suffering from low credit scores,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will use all tools at its disposal to stop credit repair agencies from engaging in unlawful conduct targeting financially vulnerable consumers.”
The lesson here is that if you’re thinking of using a credit repair company, do your research first. There are a lot of shady companies out there that are only looking to take advantage of people. Consumers who are struggling with their credit should attempt to fix any credit issues themselves first before paying someone else to do it.
Steps You Can Take to Repair Your Credit
1. Check your credit report for errors and file a dispute if you find any.
2. Try to negotiate with your creditors to have negative items removed from your report.
3. Make all of your payments on time, and consider paying off debt that is high interest first.
4. Use a credit monitoring service to keep an eye on your credit score and credit report.
5. Stay focused on the results and don’t fall for any quick fix scams.
How to Fix Your Credit: Important Tips
Fixing your credit can be a bit tricky, but if you know the basics and make smart choices, you can boost your credit score. First, always pay your bills on time and try to pay off any debts you have. If you think you need help, look for a credit repair company that’s well-known and has the right licenses. Check out reviews from other people and see if the company is listed with the Better Business Bureau.
Watch out for companies that make crazy promises or ask you to pay them before they do any work for you. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is.
Remember, being careful and doing a little research can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Don’t be fooled by the wolf in sheep’s clothing. If a credit repair company’s services sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Always consult a legal professional for any assistance with handling credit related issues.
Finn Law Group: Champions Against Credit Repair Deception
Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Finn Law Group is a distinguished consumer protection law firm. Spearheaded by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of combined legal experience, the firm is dedicated to representing clients who have been victimized by deceitful credit repair companies, ensuring justice and restitution for those affected. Call us today for a free consultation to learn how to protect your rights. To learn more about credit repair, follow our Twitter page.