It’s a new year, it’s time to start fresh… the very first thing we tell ourselves is getting in better shape and eating right.
Once we put that plan together in whatever form you have decided the next step is typically getting “financial fit”. That may be plans for a new car or a new home or even wanting to refinance that home or car.
We live in a credit driven society and your credit score is the cornerstone of that society.
If you want to buy something, unless you have cash you will have to finance it or part of it in some capacity. And what is the first thing the lender or their representative will ask you……. what is your credit score?
SOME THINGS TO KNOW…
(Since I cannot legally prove the below this is only my opinion based on my 17+ years of experience in the Credit industry)
Ever since Covid hit us there was a statement made by the government to the bureaus that said (I am paraphrasing):
“Due to Covid and the federal and state timelines you are required to abide by (FCRA) it will be impossible for you to do, SO as long as you are acting in good faith the federal government will not seek to come after you for those violations if it takes you longer than the FCRA states.
As I always say if you saw how the credit bureaus jerk people around within those timelines and now they are allowing them more time AND they said they won’t come after them? I knew then our industry was going to have some major challenges ahead.
Well just recently the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) FINALLY got enough complaints on the credit bureaus due to them refusing to send people the reports and conducting investigations they were asking for even when they sent those requests by certified return receipt mail (this I have 1st hand knowledge of).
So now I expect the credit bureaus new resolution is to actually follow the law and send consumers updated reports.
NOW I say all of that so you know about the challenges faced by yourself if you try this on your own OR if you hire a credit repair company as MOST of them make it sound like the HARDEST thing you have to do is write them a check and everything else after that is easy….. It’s not.
Legally EVERY credit company you speak to are supposed to tell you that you could do all of this yourself. Of course the follow up is if you do not know what you’re doing then understand if it was as easy and federal agencies and media says it is we would all be a 700+ credit score.
So this is where you need to decide, do you go it alone and try to “fix it yourself” or do you hire someone. And if you invest and hire someone how to figure out if they can really help you or are they telling you what you want to hear to get your money.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what I would like you to call me first. BUT here is how you do some research on companies whether it me or anyone else.
#1 – Check their reviews out (and do the reviews look genuine)
** There are actually companies out there that businesses can hire to
have bots or people post fake reviews for them so look carefully.
#2 – When you talk to a Rep are they asking for a copy of your credit report.
** I have noticed in the past a lot of companies didn’t ask to see your
report which is a major sign to me after all how can they help you
if they don’t know what the problem is?
NOTE: Technically it is ILLEGAL for ANYONE other than someone (or company) who loans you money to pull your credit. MANY times credit repair companies will pull your credit for you and as I always tell people they either know it’s illegal or they don’t care its illegal so good luck with them.
#3 – When you are talking to the credit company “representative” are they asking detail questions to you on the items in your credit report?
** A huge tell-tale sign, some will ask a general question or two to
give the impression of expectations but a proper review of a
report with a future client should be at least a minimum of 15
minutes of going over the report in detail.
#4 – After talking to the company are they trying to get you to sign up right now?
** I have heard stories from clients that said after every question that was answered the sales person was asking are they ready to get started.
I personally hate when someone tries the used car sales technique on me. I NEVER do impulse buys. I will always finish up a conversation with a client by telling them to give everything some thought and go home and crunch their numbers and let’s talk in a day or two. It’s the way I would want to be treated and you should be too.
#5 – Do they have any credentials and if so what are they?
** This one always make me laugh a bit so let me tell you why. In Every
state you are required to be registered and bonded as a credit service
I have seen many company promote this as if this was some honor placed on them… congratulations, you’re operating legally…. What does that mean? I have also seen the following similar ones:
- A member of the BBB (means they are paying for their rating) see this link below since it still goes on today.
- Showing they are members of an association like the chamber of commerce or local group associations or displaying TV or radio logo’s. most of those are them paying for advertising (I get at least 1 call a week asking if I want to buy some ad space and here is what I also can get).
** While I understand them wanting to post a picture of a popular TV or radio show to give impression they are a credentialed company and unfortunately for consumers it works a lot of times, don’t be fooled.
– Money back guarantee
For this one all I will say is the devil is in the details, if someone really pushes this one then ask to see the contact before signing and look at this section carefully since there are a lot of “gotcha’s” and you may find it’s not exactly as the salesperson is claiming it is.
Everyone knows your credit score is important BUT you do not truly know just how important it is until you need something today and then its too late.
But when trying to improve your credit score, credit repair MAY NOT actually be what you need. Many times I have told people that due to fact of either getting sued or possibly being sued credit repair would be a waste of your money.
There are other avenues to help your credit. I tell everyone your credit report is like a thumbprint, no thumb print is exactly the same so that means everyone typically needs something different and looking for help online on blogs majority of the time (not all of course) will not produce the same results you are expecting or hoping for.
So when people look at articles like this please understand since your personal credit report is unique so all we can do is provide you some guidance on where to look or what to look out for.
As mentioned above I have been doing this for over 17 years, looked at over 22,000 reports in that time, wrote a book, been on radio and TV (not a paid commercial, lol) and teach for the real estate division of my state and a continuing educator for their continuing education classes.
So thank you for tanking the time to read this and I hope it shed some light to help you figure out what direction you need to go in.
Feel free to reach out to me via email at: wayne @ waynethecreditguy .com
(take out the spaces since I put them in to avoid spam)