|Correcting credit reports
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The Credit Repair Organizations Act requires firms to provide you with a statement
of rights, a written contract and a three-day waiting
period in case you change your mind. Be sure to read
the contract and know what you're paying for and whether
you want them to do this.
|5 ways to dispute errors
There are some obvious scams claiming that you can create
a new credit identity or remove negative accurate information from a file. Being
in a bad financial situation can make you feel desperate, but participating in
these scams is illegal and could leave you in a much worse place than where you
up on your consumer rights.
Sign up with a credit counselor
Not all credit counselors have your best interests
at heart, so choose your counselor carefully. A lot
of counselors claim to be nonprofit, but they are
not in the strictest sense of the word, warns Kuehn.
"Reputable companies will get
you free information about themselves, their services and a free initial session.
Check them out with the state attorney general, your local consumer protection
agency or the Better Business Bureau."
The U.S. Trustee program lists credit
counseling companies that are approved for pre-bankruptcy
a Department of Justice-approved counselor in your
state. Make sure to understand the FTC credit
Hire an attorney
Attorneys can help throughout the entire dispute process,
but most people can handle the initial round of disputes
on their own. However, it's imperative to file directly
with a credit bureau. "If you don't do it this
way, you don't preserve your right to file a lawsuit,"
says James B. Fishman, a New York consumer rights
and privacy advocate who has brought numerous groundbreaking
cases under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA.
the error doesn't get fixed with a letter, you may want to dispute it again with
more information if you've got it. Your only other option is to file a lawsuit.
Don't hesitate to contact a lawyer at this point. "Most lawyers would take
the case on a contingency basis because the FCRA has a lawyer fee written in,"
says Fishman. "Most lawyers who do this work don't do it on an hourly basis."