Credit Repair To Erase Bad Debt – Magic Or Scam?

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Credit Repair To Erase Bad Debt – Magic Or Scam?

By |January 24th, 2014|

The problem with credit repair is that, too often, it’s illegal.

It’s tempting to think you can control what the world knows about you. Just delete the bad stuff, keep the good stuff, and move on.

At least, that’s what the credit repair industry says to the world.

As a consumer protection lawyer who does a fair amount of credit report correction for people, it drives me nuts.

Which is precisely why the truth needs to come out. As in, right now.

Rights You DO Have Under Credit Reporting Laws

Your credit report is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. There are various state laws as well, but this federal law is the basis for all of them.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. In order to accomplish these goals, you have the following rights:

  • you have the right to know what’s on your credit report. You can get a copy of your report under certain circumstances, and can also get one report free of charge from all three major credit reporting agencies once per year by going to;
  • you have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information and to have that dispute investigated by the credit reporting agency;
  • you have the right to have inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information deleted from your credit report once you dispute it;
  • you have the right to have a credit report not report outdated information; and
  • you have the right for your credit report to be disclosed only in limited situations.


Rights You Do NOT Have Under The Credit Reporting Laws

As the old song goes, you can’t always get what you want. So, too, with your credit reports.

For example:

  • You do not have the right to delete information from your credit report that is accurate but you don’t like;
  • You do not have the right to dispute items on your credit report if you do not have a good faith belief that the item is incorrect;
  • You do not have the right to prevent an entity with a permissible purpose under the law from obtaining a copy of your credit report.
  • You do not have the right to say anything on your credit report that is untrue.


How The Great Credit Repair Scam Works

Credit repair companies make their money by promising you something you can’t legally get – a credit report clear of negative information that happens to be true.

One of the reasons why they charge so much money is that the assure you that they have an “inside line” and know “secrets” that are somehow otherwise unavailable.

In reality, all they do is send repeated disputes to the credit reporting agencies in the hopes that eventually the negative notations will disappear. Or that the agencies will delete them temporarily, which allows the credit repair company to show you a clear credit report.

Makes them look like magic. Sadly, magic is nothing more than sleight-of-hand.

Exercise Your Rights But Don’t Fall For The Scam

You can spend your money and fall for a credit repair scam, but that will leave you broke and frustrated.

Instead, review your credit reports and ensure that they’re correct. If not, dispute the inaccuracies and follow up.

Remember that time heals all negative credit report notations.

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About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.