You might see or hear ads from companies that promise to "clean up" or "erase" your
bad credit and give you a fresh start. They charge high fees, usually
hundreds of dollars, but do not deliver on their promises.
If you are thinking of paying someone to "repair" your credit, remember this:
- Negative credit information can be reported for seven years (10 years for a bankruptcy).
- No one can require a credit bureau to remove accurate negative information before that period is
- There are no "loopholes"
or laws that credit repair companies can use to get correct information
off your credit report.
- No credit repair company can do anything you can't do for yourself.
- A "money-back guarantee"
does you no good if the company has gone out of business or refuses
to make good on its refund promise.
- The only way to "repair" bad credit is by good credit practices over a period of time.
Some credit repair companies promise not just to clean up your existing credit record but also help you establish a whole new credit identity. Remember, it is illegal to make false statements on a credit application or to misrepresent your Social Security number. If you use such methods, you could face fines or even prison. Beware of any company or method that:
- encourages you to omit or lie about bad credit experience when you apply for new credit;
- tells you to use a new name or address or a new number, for example, an Employer Identification
Number (EIN), in place of your Social Security number in applying for
- says it is legal to establish a new credit identity.
You can rebuild your good credit by handling credit responsibly. You may consider contacting a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) office. This is a non-profit organization that will provide help at little or no cost to you. For a CCCS office in your area, call 1 (800) 388-CCCS.
* Courtesy of The U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs