I have crummy credit. Should I hire a credit repair service?

Has your credit score taken a hit in the last few years? Is your credit score creating obstacles in obtaining a car loan or mortgage?

If so, and you think you need credit repair services, I can’t help you. And you should be wary of any company or person who says they can repair your credit. Credit repair usually involves accurate information on a credit report, and attempts to trick the credit reporting bureaus into believing these accurate entries are wrong so that they change them.

Recently, the CFPB sued a credit repair company called Prime Marketing Holdings, LLC for doing a number of bad things to consumers:

  • Charging up front, advance fees to challenge entries on a credit report (this is illegal)
  • Representing that they could get your credit report fixed in a short amount of time (this is an unsubstantiated claim, which is misleading, and therefore illegal)
  • They also claimed to be able to boost your credit score by a significant margin and remove virtually all negative information from your credit score (also misleading)
  • Charged monthly fees to consumers that were not disclosed in sales calls
  • They advertised a “money back guarantee” that sounded good, but in fact, was essentially useless for consumers in practice because of all the conditions on being able to use it (all that “fine print” stuff)

Remember:

  • You don’t have to pay for a credit report – you get a free one each year through www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Credit repair does not happen over night. It takes time and patience for negative entries to drop off.
  • If there is a genuine problem or mistake on your credit report, you can dispute it and get it fixed. You don’t have to use a credit repair company to do that.