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What Not To Do When Repairing Your Credit

By Janet Lacey
Published: Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

The 6 major credit repair mistakes that you should avoid if you seriously want to improve your credit score: 

  1. Not Getting Your Credit Report Regularly: Current law authorizes you to get a free credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus once an year. That means you can get three free reports an year. Check your free credit report every four months in order to spot discrepancies and errors. If you are seriously into credit repair, then this is also the best way to keep a track of how you are doing.  
  2. Going To Credit Repair Companies: Research has proven that a vast majority of credit repair companies are frauds. They will take a fee upfront for services that they will later on fail to provide. With a little time and effort, you can easily do all that a credit repair company advertises, yourself. The good part is that it will not cost you money and you are also saved from the risk of a scam. 
  3. Not Contacting Your Creditors: Legitimate credit repair companies do not do anything that you cannot do by yourself. They will only call up your creditors to negotiate better terms and lower payments for you. You can also do the same yourself. Call up the companies whose bills you are finding it hard to pay, explain to them why you are unable to pay your bill in spite of wanting to clear up and then request them for a waiver of late fees, a reduction of interest rates or a longer repayment term, depending upon what suits you best. In many cases, your creditor might relax repayment terms or give in to your request. 
  4. Not Reporting Errors To Credit Bureaus: A falling credit score is often aided by a lot of negative information that should not be on your credit report either because it is not valid anymore or is absolutely incorrect. Things to look out for are closed accounts that are listed as open, lower credit limits than what you actually have, public records that should have been erased etc. Regularly check your credit reports and in case you find any errors, send a dispute letter to the credit bureau so that it can be corrected ASAP. 
  5. Not Having Proper Documentation: Credit bureaus and creditors are flooded by complaints and queries every single day of the week. In case you do not have proof of filing and following up on your complaint, you will be back on square one in case your disputes are not followed up or acted upon. So send your credit report disputes to the credit bureaus only with certified mail and a return receipt request.  Similarly, when you negotiate with your creditors, note down the name and designation of every one you talk to, along with the date and time on which you spoke to them. 
  6. Being Impatient: Credit repair is not something that happens in a day. It requires diligent and constant effort and monitoring on your part, and positive results often show only after six months or so. Giving up after a couple of months or adding up to your bad credit will lead you nowhere. Instead, stick to your guns and practice good credit habits. After an year or so, your credit report and ranking will both thank you for it.

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