Sunday, August 31, 2008

Basic Credit Repair Strategy

1. Get and review your credit report.
You can get one free credit report per year.

2. Analyze your report.
Review your report, go over it carefully.

3. Make a list of all items you consider to be questionable or negative. Clearly identify each item in your report that you dispute, explain why you dispute the information.

4. Rank questionable items.
Rank each item according to the amount of damage they are doing to your overall credit picture. Rank the most damaging information first, followed by the next most damaging information, followed by those items which are neutral. Do this for each credit report, and remember, they may not all have the same information on them. They may even have duplicate information. If this is the case, you will need to write to each credit agency individually for each duplicate item.

The items here are listed in order of importance with the first item being the "most damaging" to your credit.

Loan Default
Court Judgments

5. Write a dispute letter to the Credit Bureaus.
6. Send the letter to the credit bureaus. Make sure you send it registered or certified mail.
7. Document your efforts. Record when you sent your letters, and the results.
8. Wait for the bureaus to investigate your claims.
9. Analyze the results and …

10. Repeat your credit bureau dispute:

It's a good idea to keep disputing negative listings with the credit bureaus. If you hit on the right dispute, the listing could get completely removed from your report. For instance, if you dispute the date the account was opened, and the credit bureaus can not verify this information they may pull the whole listing. You will need to change the reason for the investigation so the credit bureau will have something new to investigate. The order of the reasons should be:

Not mine (not my account)
I didn't pay late that month
Wrong amount
Wrong account number
Wrong original creditor
Wrong Charge-off Date
Wrong Date of Last Activity
Wrong Balance
Wrong Credit limit
Wrong Status (there are about 20)
Wrong High Credit (the highest amount you used)

For example, the first time you challenge a listing, you might say the account is "not mine." The second time through, you would say "never late."

Tips for resubmitting your credit dispute …

Be persistent! Become more insistent, but not more threatening, with each dispute. Make sure your letters are clear and to the point. Remember, an employee at one of the credit bureaus has about 4 minutes to enter the dispute into the computer for analysis. Remember if you call the company, this resets the clock on how long they have to get back to you. If you are on day 29 of the 30 days that they have to get back to you and you call, the clock resets and they have 30 more days because you "provided them with more information". Just like any other consumer, you can become frustrated and threatening as time passes. You may threaten to hire an attorney, you may threaten to complain to the FTC and your state's attorney general, etc. But don’t overdo it.

Be creative - Create and utilize other techniques that help further the idea that the dispute letter is from a truly wronged and disadvantaged consumer. The checker is only interested in investigating disputes that truly are erroneous and damaging.

Do not bombard the credit bureaus with disputes (about the same listings, that is). Sending one dispute right after another is wasteful and counterproductive, even if you do use a different reason in your dispute. Again, you must remember to change the REASON for the dispute each time you submit. Otherwise, the dispute can be deemed frivolous and the credit bureau is under no legal obligation to take action. Also remember, that credit repair is a time-consuming operation requiring great patience. The rule of thumb is to wait 60 days between disputes of the same listing WITH A DIFFERENT REASON FOR DISPUTING.

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