Damaged credit not only affects your finances—but your life. The financial burden caused by damaged credit can be devastating. It can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in ongoing finance charges, costs and fees. Everything from your insurance rate to your monthly cell phone fee is financially impacted by damaged credit. The negative effects of damaged credit can also impact your personal life by preventing you from getting a job or being promoted at your current job, from buying or renting a home, getting a credit card, or even buying a car. Most individuals faced with credit problems are not aware that there are things that can be done to successfully restore and build their credit score.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 to promote fairness, accuracy and the privacy of personal information reported to credit bureaus by creditors and others. The FCRA allows a consumer to challenge the information on his or her credit report on the basis of completeness and accuracy. The credit bureaus are required to complete the investigation within a reasonable period of time. The time period has been set at 30 days.
If after an investigation by the credit bureau the disputed information is found to be inaccurate or can no longer be verified, the credit bureaus shall promptly delete such information. In theory, the dispute process should be simple, but many consumers quickly discover the exploitative creditors and abusive debt collectors can make the process more difficult than they imagined. Creditors routinely charge higher rates of interest to those with negative credit histories, so sloppy credit reporting may serve to maximize their profits; a circumstance that can make the process of credit repair a difficult and frustrating experience for most consumers.
You have two options when looking to repair damaged credit and remove negative claims and inaccuracies. One option is to "do-it-yourself" and try to work with creditors on your own to repair your credit; the second option is to hire an experienced credit restoration firm. Many "do-it-yourselfers" find the credit restoration process to be a difficult, stressful and time-consuming endeavor. There are many books and information on credit restoration, some good, some not so good. It all comes down to knowledge, know-how, experience and time. There are many credit repair companies that offer these services; unfortunately, many are less than legitimate and offer promises they can't keep. When seeking professional help, a good place to start is with an experienced credit repair company that has been around for years. Or, you may want to seek legal advice and help from an attorney specializing in federal consumer credit laws.