If you are reading this you probably have concerns about your credit. Maybe you had financial issues in the past. Maybe you looked at your report and found derogatory information. Either way, your credit report is wrong and you are a candidate for credit repair. Okay, there is some chance this statement is not completely accurate, but if you make the serious mistake of believing your credit report simply because you are guilty of some past indiscretion you are doing yourself a grave injustice.
Reporting Rules Can Save Your Life
Most people believe the derogatory information reported by the bureaus is correct. Those people are rarely right. Credit reporting is a regulated industry and, believe it or not, it is designed to provide some reasonable degree of equity. Reporting entities, like creditors and collectors, are supposed to abide by rules. These rules limit the length of time an issue can report, the number of accounts related to a single event that can appear, and the way information is presented. In most cases, consumers with a spotty history experience three or four times the negative impact they should.
The Credit Card Multiplier Effect
The most common case of reporting failure involves defaulted revolving accounts. The sequence of events that leads from default to the need for credit repair is always the same. First comes the charge off by the original creditor, and then comes the sale to a collector, who is likely to resell the account to a second collector, who may sell to a third. If you let enough time pass there is no limit to the number of collection accounts that may appear for the same single indiscretion. And so you look, and think it is all true; you were bad and now you must suffer. And yet, only the most recent of the collectors should be on your report, and only if they have ownership of the debt, which they may not!
Credit Repair is a Consumer Necessity
Credit repair is not a covert operation designed to trick the bureaus into removing accurate information. It is a consumer necessity. The bureaus have a big task, and they do a decent job of it, generally speaking. But to trust the content of your report is a serious strategic error, and one that is almost certain to cost you a fortune in higher interest rates and lost opportunities. There is ample press on the issue, but there is also considerable ignorance regarding the meaning of accuracy in credit reporting. You do not want to be on the wrong side of the information fence. When it comes to your credit report, doubt is a very healthy thing.
Any Path Will Get You There
There are two ways to approach the credit repair dispute process. You can do it yourself. Or you can hire a company to do it for you. Either way is fine. If you do it yourself, you may either take the time to learn all the rules the bureaus must uphold and dispute in a surgical manner, or you can just dispute everything that seems iffy. Hiring a company has the advantage of turning the paperwork over to someone else, and maybe insuring that the letters make some relevant sense. But doing it yourself is not all bad either. The truth about credit bureau disputes is that regardless of what a letter says, the person processing the letter is required to translate the gist of it into a little two digit code.
Respect the Machine
The three major bureaus are independent entities and must be examined and dealt with as such. Their reporting may differ completely. Where one may be wrong, another may be right. They may even use different variations of creditor name and account number. For the best results dispute letters must address issues in conformance with the individual manner of reporting. As aggravated as you may be with the errors you wish to correct it is wise to respect the bureaucracy you are dealing with and to be as clear and simple as possible. Respect the machine. Do not to be frustrated if you have to repeat your effort to get the job done.