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You get fliers in the mail, email messages, and maybe even calls offering credit repair services. They all make the same claims: “Credit problems? No problem!”.
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There is nothing that credit repair services can legally do for you, including removing inaccurate credit information, that you can't do for yourself for free.
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A low credit score is a common problem for many individuals whose lives are made difficult by financial complications. For individuals that are suffering from debt or possess a low credit score, the services of a credit repair agency can be an extremely attractive option. However, there are a number of agencies that prey upon these individuals, disguising scams as services. Before engaging the services of a credit repair agency, customers should make sure they distinguish between reputable and fraudulent companies. For more information, the Federal Trade Commission provides resources to help individuals protect themselves from fraud, scams, and unfair business practices.
Signs of a Fraudulent Credit Agency
Credit repair agencies constantly advertise their services to financially troubled individuals, with offers of cleaning up and increasing credit scores. However, there are several telltale signs that indicate that the credit repair agency engages in unfair business practices.
One major indicator of a fraudulent credit repair agency is to examine whether the company offers promises that are too good to be true. Keep an eye out for guarantees such as “creating a new credit identity” and “increasing a score by 100 points”. Another promise that agencies may make is to completely remove negative marks, such as bankruptcies, bad loans, or liens. However, customers should keep in mind that no agency or individual can legally remove negative information from a credit file.
Another important tip for customers is to avoid paying for a service until they receive a written agreement or contract of services provided. An indicator of a bad agency is if the agency requires an upfront payment or refuses to agree on a contract. A fraudulent credit repair agency may take hundreds to thousands of dollars from the customer, while have no impact, or even a negative effect on their credit score.
Tips for Choosing a Credit Repair Agency
Amongst the number of fraudulent credit repair agencies are a few gems that provide a reliable service to their customers. When looking for a credit repair agency, keep an eye out on the following tips:
Fair Business Practices:
In general, customers should look for an agency that engages in fair business practices. Ask the credit repair agency for a detailed report of their services and what the customer can do for free. If the agency refuses to inform the customer of his or her rights, it’s time to go look for another agency.
One indicator of a reputable credit repair agency is their amount of experience. If an agency has been in the business for a long time and possesses a large client base, this may show that the company is established and trustworthy.
Oftentimes, the best way to find out whether a credit repair agency is credible is to conduct some research. Customers can run an Internet search on an agency to gain insight and perspective into the reliability of the company. Another way to find a reputable credit repair agency is to ask colleagues and family members who have partaken in the services of a credit repair agency.
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