Credit Repair is not difficult, but you can shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t pay attention to a few little things. Here are common mistakes people make which can be easily avoided:
- Failing to disputing with the credit bureaus FIRST. In credit repair, always dispute your negatives with the credit bureaus before doing anything else. 10-20% of all items disputed in an initial round of disputes fall off. Why not pick off the low hanging fruit in the beginning so you can concentrate on the tough stuff? In addition, you cannot take legal action as an individual against companies who are acting illegally by reporting you if you don’t dispute first.
- Failing to document your efforts. You should ideally be keeping notes and dates of all your efforts. Make a note of anyone you speak to, when you send letter, and when you receive letters. You should all make sure you send your disputes certified mail, return receipt requested. How to organize is up to you. Putting everything in a notebook is ideal, but a plain ‘ole file folder will do if you just store bits of paper. You don’t have to get too fancy.
- Disputing items online. Never do this! You will not have any written records of your dispute (the return receipt), plus, you are making it easy for them by disputing online. Your dispute will become a two letter code and will be sent (using eOscar) to an offshore computer for analysis. You will also not be able to dispute specific information within the listing, for instance, wrong high balance, wrong date account was opened, etc. You will not be able to send documentation. In addition, if your name, SSN or address is incorrect, you have to send your request in writing any way.
- Being unrealistic. If your credit report is in bad shape, there isn’t a quick fix. The process takes time, usually from 6 months to a year. In addition, some items are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove: bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments and child support. If you have any of those listings, you may be in it for the long haul.
- Giving up. The process seems overwhelming at first, especially if you are new to credit repair. Take one step at a time. You don’t have to do everything at once. I usually tell people to do things a few days or a week apart, and not to spend more than an hour at a stretch doing anything. After the first dispute letters are mailed, you really shouldn’t have to spend any more than 1 hour a month working on your credit. Isn’t it worth it?
Documentation is especially important when you are disputing items with the credit bureaus. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit bureaus have 30 days to get back to you with the results of an investigation on your dispute. If you do not hear from them, within 30 days, they must remove the item.