1. Get Your Credit Report
- If you have been recently turned down for credit you can write to the credit bureau that turned you down and get a credit report
- Use an online service to get your credit report – we recommend this because you get instant access to your credit report and in most cases for a small fee they will give you your credit score also. They also have tools you can use to submit disputes directly to the credit bureaus online.
- Don’t forget to get all 3 reports. Not all reports will contain the same information
2. Get Organize. Circle all incorrect information on your credit report.
3. Contact the creditors by phone first before you start writing dispute letters. Sometimes on the last sheet of your credit report you can find a list of your creditors and their phone numbers
- Keep in mind some of your creditors will not talk to you if they have sent your acct out to a collection agency – if that is the case just get the collection agencies phone number and file number from your creditor
- When dealing with collection agencies always remember to get everything in writing. DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY WITH OUT HAVING YOUR SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN WRITING
- Also when dealing with collection agencies, make sure you are dealing with the right agency and they have the authority to nego a settlement. Sometimes charged off debt passes thru several agencies. You want to make sure you pay the right one!
- When accepting a settlement agreement, make sure the collection agency has sent you the agreement on their letter head. Do not accept a hand written piece of paper from them. Yes, I’ve seen it done this way, and only had one collector stand by it. All the others claimed the letter did not originate from their office and they DID NOT honor the settlement agreement
- If you successfully reach an agreement with a creditor or collection agency, ask them if they will remove the trade line from your credit report. When I was a collector we used to call this “Bulls eyeing” the account. When we would bulls eye an account we removed ourselves completely from the consumers credit report. Some creditors will do this, some have a policy that will not allow them to remove the offending tradeline. Just remember, it never hurts to ask!
4. Start writing dispute letters – If you age getting no where with your creditors or collection agency, then start writing dispute letters
- Always send dispute letters certified mail, return receipt required – they have 30 days to verify your information
- When writing your dispute letters, be polite. You want your investigator on your side. Make ure you tell them how this misinformation is hurting your credit. For example if you were recently turned down for a mortgage because of some of the inaccuracies on your report and you can not reapply for a mortgage without making sure these inaccuracies are removed.
- Anatomy of a dispute letter – read this article for more information about writing a dispute letter
5. Keep a credit repair diary – its very important that you keep track of your efforts. In my opinion, and its only my opinion. The credit bureaus are not on your side. To many “credit repair” companies have abused the dispute letter process. If you do not keep good records you are shooting yourself in the foot! Also don’t just keep sending letters over and over. Try to provide some sort of proof to support your claim.
6. Don’t use form letters. There are many sites online that give you samples of dispute letters, and we will probably add some if enough people ask us. Just think about all the people using the same letter over and over. The people in the dispute department will start to recognizethese letters and they WILL NOT take your request seriously
7. Be persistent, if you don’t owe it, stand your ground. If you do owe it, negotiate with the creditor. If you haven’t paid on a debt for a long time (over a year) you can sometimes negotiate the debt down for pennies on the dollar. If you are cleaning up your credit in order to qualify for a mortgage, make sure you clean your credit BEFORE applying. When I worked as a collector, the company I worked for had a policy of no price breaks if there are any mortgage inquires.
8. Be patient, its not going to happen over night. Be patient, polite in all correspondence, persistent, and organized. If you are not organized perhaps a family member can help you. I helped my sister after her divorce. It took 8 months but we improved her score by over 80 pts and then she brought her first house. We did it thru a combination of dispute letters and negotiating with her creditors. If you don’t have any one that can help you, check out the legal credit repair services listed here.
Good luck in improving your credit!
If you have any questions, please feel free to use the form below. Please note that we do not provide one on one credit repair consultations. Please consult one of the legal law firms we provide on this site.
About the Author:
Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website EZCreditRepairSolutions.com. She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans. Copyright © 2014
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