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The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make in Repairing Their Credit

June 6th, 2008 · 61 Comments · Credit Repair

Kristy Welsh

by Kristy Welsh

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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61 Comments so far ↓

  • Donna

    great article

  • friend credit

    Being unrealistic

  • Credit Repair Mistakes - Credit Repair Forums

    […] Repair Mistakes After playing around in google I found the following article: The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make in Repairing Their Credit It’s a nice little article which may be benificial to some people that are new here. There is […]

  • Chris Olufsen

    I went to this company several years ago and they said that they could walk away from the credit card debt. It cost me some better than $1700 and all of these charge offs are still on my credit report. I had a doctor that says I owe him sum of $448.00 of which I don’t. They put the wrong name of medicare and got refused. Had they asked for my medicare card they could have had the right name in the first place. I plan to get a document and get it notorized and then record it in the county records.

  • Danny Martin

    All Houston Solutions ROCKS!!!

  • Kristy

    Ok, Danny…. :roll:

  • Gabrielle

    My question is if you say “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.” Then, how do I make sure they remove it?

  • Martin G

    I found every thing very helpful, thanks and send me specific information on how to clean the inquires. Thanks again. Maritn

  • benell davis jr

    I bebell would like to fix my credit as soon asp,

  • Joe Sellers

    I am in the finance industry and I deal with people everyday that have a lot of credit card debt. One of the things I discuss with them is when they finish our program they should work on repairing their credit. You have given excellent tips that should be followed to achieve a positive outcome. Great job!

  • tony parquest

    am i better off waiting until my account is written off and sent to collections and try to work out a settlement with them? or should i try to settle with the credit card company shortly before its transfered to collections?

  • Michelle

    I think that articles like this we have nothing to lose but just gain alot of Knowledge from. Thank you for allowing other people to see how to get this done.

  • Sean Langan

    Would it be possible to get ahold of a sample letter sent to the credit bureau’s for a medical debt.

  • Fran Johnson

    The sample letter in on the ftc.gov site. It time consuming, but very easy. It does take thirty days from the date that the credit bureaus receive your info to fix it. I fixed 8 items on mine and my husbands. 60 days after we applied for a mortgage loan. My middle credit score is now 700 and my husbands 730. Just follow there directions. Be sure to always make copies.

  • naomi

    thank you for your help with fixing my credit report i will be working on it now . i want to get a car but i cant becouse of my credit.

  • DEMETA

    this website just made my day

  • rick

    Made my day too. Two very happy students here trying to start our new lives together. cheers

  • Todd

    Good information!!!!!!!!

  • Mike G

    What’s interesting is I made the mistake #3 awhile back…disputing online. I actually read some credit repair guides that advised to do this years ago before I learned proper repair tactics. It is convenient, but the best way to dispute is not only in writing, but hand writing your disputes. This will avoid eOscar for sure. Some blogs I’ve frequented have even said to write your dispute letters in red ink or even green ink! Then they are required to manually review/investigate!

  • Matt V

    Do I despute all three bureaus at once with the same items or do I submitt to one and forward the deleted item proof to the others to have it removed from theit records ?

  • Kristy

    Proof of deletion of an item from one bureau is not given any weight by another bureau as a reason for removal. Dispute all three at once.

  • erick waldrop

    I disagree. I’ve been a credit counselor for over a DECADE and I know it’s ok to dispute online. To say different is incorrect. The credit bureaus will tell u this.

  • Lisette Alonso

    Hellon my husband and I have been trying to have to adverse items that didn’t belong there to begin with. We’ve been at it for 6 and half months with no success. We have the proof that they don’t belong there but that doesn’t seem to be good enough. Any suggestions?

  • Shane S.

    How can you dispute an item in writing though Experian? All I can seem to find is the online dispute. Please help! I am set and ready to roll. I have a good strategy in place thanks to all of the advice on this website.

    Shane

  • christina

    The credit Bueru is a scam, I have to pay for my score! Even though you write and re write they do what they want too, report what they wish. whos getting the $14.95 any way? more harm than good thease three stooges.
    B S report.

  • dale

    I agree with most of what you said but except for taking six months to a year.. It took me about 3 months to have about 4 negative things removed. Just by doing exactly what you said certified mail and good record keeping..

  • Robert

    Would someone please post the address to each credit reporting agency and also to whom or what dept to make attention to

    Thanks

  • Chris

    “I’ve been a credit counselor for over a DECADE and I know it’s ok to dispute online. To say different is incorrect. The credit bureaus will tell u this.”

    You didn’t read why they don’t want you to dispute online, did you?

    Because if you have to take a credit bureau to court (deletion by judgement), you need actual documents. The online method doesn’t provide you this.

  • Ron

    “I’ve been a credit counselor for over a DECADE and I know it’s ok to dispute online. To say different is incorrect. The credit bureaus will tell u this.”

    It also doesn’t really do anything. It’s a form that most likely NOT fit your issue. It’s a boiler plate dispute. Once you fill it out all the computer does is check to see if it’s on their tape. If it is it’s shown as a confirmed account. There is no investigation done. Totally waste of time to use online disputes. Don’t fall for people telling you something that doesn’t usually work. This is one of them.

  • Kristy Welsh

    Thanks Ron, I completely agree.

  • Ken Douglas

    I recently had 2 items deleted by disputing online. Of course this was about the 3rd time. One was a deletion of a repo

  • Nancy T.

    In working along side a friend who is a credit consultant, I have seen first hand that credit repair does take time and perserverance. Although disputing can be done on-line, the very best way to do this, and make it a PERMANENT solution, is to have every detail documented. It’s important for people to understand the long term impact of their credit score, whether it’s good or bad. It is well worth the effort and time to do a thorough job and protect your own interests.

  • John

    How can i get a free credit report all the sites i try want a credit card and i dont have one? I really want to fix my credit i need to take care of a family now!! If i chould get my report then i can see what i need to work on. thanks

  • Kristy Welsh

    Go to annualcreditreport.com. They are totally free and you don’t need a credit card.

  • AL

    if you dispute anything with anyone and do it online, how can you prove anything. How are your rights protected?

    the credit unions can always say they didn’t get the online info. if they use this an argument, how do you prove you did do it unless you print your screen, which most people aren’t going to do because they may not be that computer savvy.

  • Stephanie E

    Question: I disputed online to 2 Credit Bureau’s and just one did I do manually. I’m waiting for responses. Should I continue to wait or go back and do it manually and mail it out now?

  • Dawn T

    I have tried to get them to remove incorrect information that is being reported under personal information, they also duplicated alot of information causing more and more pages on my report. They have done nothing. Any suggestions

  • Frank

    Removing your credit is not as easy as 1,2,3. I have help people dispute items from time to time and the best way I found out is through mail. Online works but not the best thing to do. People remeber dispute first always, if that fails then negotiate to pay a small portion of your debt no more than half. Need help Just send me a message.

  • luis m

    hey frank!
    i owe $6000 to toyota ,had the car repo oct 08.
    how much should i give them?
    thank you.

  • James

    Hi, I’m new to the forum. I have went through a chapter 7 bankruptcy in November 2009. I had about 15 credit cards included in the bankruptcy. My bankruptcy was discharged. I’ve tried disputing with the bureaus, but it hasn’t worked. I always receive a letter from the original creditor / furnisher verifying the credit card. I have been told if you dispute a certain aspect of the card such as the date you opened it, amount, etc. instead of just saying “not mine” than it is easier to get it removed from your credit report. I need help. Thanks for reading.

  • Jennifer

    I like the fact that you list the steps to follow. Repairing credit is difficult to do if you don’t know what you are doing so this looks a lot easier to do. Thanks for the information.

  • Houston Credit Expert

    Understanding which items are negatively affecting your score is the very important. The older the item, the less the impact on your scores. Removing an old collection may only marginally improve your scores. There are three parts to the equation if you wish to maximize your scores: Fixing Bad Credit – Leveraging Existing Credit – Building New Credit. It’s simply not enough to assume that focusing only are Fixing Bad Credit will get you to your goal.

  • CWJim

    What if you have an ex-business partner to took out a loan on an old line of credit that I was a co-guarantor on. He used the money and has defaulted on the loan. I know I am legally responsible but I can’t afford to pay the debt.
    How badly will that affect my credit?

  • tong yang

    Hi. I was wondering how in the world do you get a hold of theses people? I have their numbers but all I get is stupid voice mail. I need to talk to a real person. Cause right now my car die and i cant even get a loan because they cant tell the last number of my social security from somebody else.These credit bureaus loves to put bad under your number but they never want to fix it. Can somebody please tell me how to get rid of credit that is not mines.

  • cak

    I had to move out of Fl, to find work, where I had the Capital one CC debt.
    I received a letter from Capital one Atty’s last June 2010 dropping a suit with prejudice in Fl. I had no knowledge I had been served?
    I have just recently been served after nearly 4 years of no communication from them.
    Can they sue me in another state, for Fl problems, and also I am only now after all those years being sent monthly statements from Cap One, now adding fees for court costs from Fl.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  • cak

    I am now in Ohio, from Fl.

  • ev

    I disputed items on my report. now I have comments that say “consumer disputes this account” how long before those are removed and will they be removed or do I need to go through another round of contacting the CRA’s? and does this hurt my score and ability to get a loan?

  • T

    My husband died in 2008 and I lost my house and was also unable to pay his CC debts. My name is not on the house deed but I am being dunned for that debt too. Some of the cards were taken in my name but all purchases were for items used in construction for his company, now I have the bad credit for the cards, any chance they might be disputed successfully and removed, from my credit file?

  • Jonathan

    I am curently and have been a Credit Analyst for over ten years. The fact of the matter is that some accounts are better off disputed online while others that require additional documention to be attached are obviousely required to be physically sent. Noone can say that one way is better or more effective without a thorough analysis of the 3 reports. You can view all 3 online by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com and no credit card information is required. (credit Scores NOT provided).

  • mike

    This web site is really opening my eyes to the ways that we can beat ourselves by playing checkers while the creditors play chess.

    this stuff is great. I have been using Lexington Law(not getting paid to say this) for almost six months and I upped my score enough to get a home loan. I had 38 negative items and most were removed in my favor because of greed and ignorance on the part of collectors.
    Repeat after me: I will learn about debt validation and keep track of everything. The credit reporting agency is so biased they want to give me a bad score!!!
    By keeping excellent records I was able to prove out and out lies, stupidity, DumbKoffinkin!!!! and it”s even better when you can point out it was they who made the stupidoink please remove gracias me teeny braindiggerstrom!!

    Never assumne a contactor is the responsible person in a debt collection. Every debtor has the right to know wwho the money is owed to.! Don’t pay a nickle until you establish credentials. When they can’t satisfy your understandably pessimistic nature( from five years in Somolia selling encyclopedias on credit to 2% employed).
    Well, I made mistakes but Lexington backed me up & went from low 500’s to high 600’s.
    Thank you.

  • Tempestt

    Hi my name is Tempestt me and my husband combined debt is about 5,000 we are tryng to buy a home in the next 6 months and I need advice about wether to hire a proffesional to settle these debts or if I should try to do it myself and how much time it will take.

  • debra

    I have 3 credit cards which I negotiated a pay off through collections at 50% (which happens to be what I originally owed before all the charges) and have recieved 1099 for the difference because it was over $500.00. Is there anyway to get rid of the charge offs that are listed on my credit. Even though I paid 50% and the other 50% was counted as income and charged off I still have listed on my credit. Help! I am willing to do the right stuff . Thanks, debra

  • Kristy Welsh

    You should have negotiated your credit rating when you negotiated the settlement, sorry to say. However, you can always dispute the listing on your credit report. See our article on credit repair for specific instructions.

  • debra

    If I had requested this in the negotiation, what would I have said, what exactly would I have asked for? thank you.

  • Kristy Welsh

    You would have asked for a deletion from the credit bureaus as part of the terms of the payment. You should also ask them to state that the settlement counts as payment in full. And of course, everything should be in writing before you give them one dime.

  • DMW

    Hi, I am interested in trying to repair my credit myself, and I want to be able to help others later on. I have several CC account that has become SOL, but the creditor keep reporting my last activity is earlier, but, there is no activity on the CC account, how do I handle this situation?

  • Kristy Welsh

    Do you have proof of last activity?

  • Kim

    I have trouble getting the creditors to agree to delete the few problem accounts I have left to clean up. The only one that agreed to delete (in writing!) was an account I owed a measly $30, so I gladly paid that. I would pay in full one by one if I truly owe them as long as they would delete, but only the one would agree to. I’m considering a professional; would that make a difference?

  • Lisa

    My husband’s ex-wife took some of the joint credit card debt in the divorce proceedings, unfortunately she went bankrupt about a year and a half later and now the “closed-derogatory” accounts are listed on my husband’s credit bureau. He thought she was going to pay it in good faith and now he gets stuck with it again. Is there anyway if deleting this account off of his bureau? There is a $0 balance because it was a charge off. So we can’t even negotiate a settlement. I’m confused.

  • Kathy Richards

    I would suggest you check out our credit repair discussion forum. You can ask questions on there and get a lot of feedback from others who have gone through the same situations. http://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/

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