ELIOT WAGONHEIM: The whole purpose of the credit report is to place other people on notice as to whether somebody is or is not honoring their obligations.
STEVE LOVEJOY: What you will see on there is what creditors you owe money to or did owe money to, whether you paid as a agreed and if you were delinquent at all, when you were delinquent. If you want to access your credit report, you can do so for free.
There is a web site called AnnualCreditReport.com. That is a government sponsored web site. It is free.
PETER HOLLAND: Pull your credit report at least once a year and review it for accuracy.
STEVE LOVEJOY: Seldom have I seen a clean credit report that does not have a few errors in it.
PETER HOLLAND: Make sure that the accounts listed on there are in fact your accounts. Make sure that if you paid off an account in full, it reflects that it was paid off.
STEVE LOVEJOY: If there is an error you can get it, you should be able to get it fixed pretty quickly.
PETER HOLLAND: You got to write letters to the Credit Reporting Agencies such as Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion and you say here is the error.
STEVE LOVEJOY: They have 30 days to investigate whether you are correct or not.
PETER HOLLAND: They can take off what is inaccurate or false or wrong.
You cannot challenge legitimate truthful information that is on there.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: You as the debtor do not have the right to force somebody to unreport that.
PETER HOLLAND: If you would simply have paid off your debts, they are going to stay on there for a period of time.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: You can write an explanation which the credit agencies have to attach to your credit report. So anybody pulling your credit report not only sees that negative entry, but sees your explanation. The best way to repair credit that you have earned up to now is to start today to honor the obligations and to bill a credit record so that years down the road the only thing reflected on there is that your credit is clean as a whistle.
BE CAREFUL OF QUICK FIXES
Everyday, companies nationwide appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. They promise, for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job. The truth is, they cannot deliver. After you pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, these companies do nothing to improve your credit report; most simply vanish with your money. You see the advertisements in newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair services. They all make the same claims:
- "Credit problems? No problem!"
- "We can erase your bad credit - 100% guaranteed."
- "Create a new credit identity - legally."
- "We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!"
These outlandish promises are tell-tale signs of a scam. In truth, only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.
No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to request an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. Though there are some reputable credit repair firms that have solid experience in navigating this frustrating process, everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost.
In an era of massive identity theft, every consumer should take advantage of the law that requires the three major credit bureaus to provide a free annual credit report. The easiest way to do it is to and fill out this online request form. Don't be surprised to find inaccuracies that you will want to have the agencies correct on your behalf.