Credit repair can be a tedious and strenuous process. Whereas nothing prevents you from treading this difficult path on your own, engaging professional assistance is sometimes the best way to ensure your peace of mind. There are numerous credit repair companies to choose from. They’re not all the same. The following tips can help you identify which one is best for you.
1. Understand Your Rights
Start by doing some background reading. The Federal Trade Commission website has plenty of useful insights on debt management including credit repair. In addition, credit repair companies are required by law to inform you of your rights before signing a contract. The company must provide you a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights document as well as a Notice of Cancellation. This is meant to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair advertising practices. Do not sign any agreement or contract before reading these documents.
2. Is Credit Repair Your Best Alternative?
Hiring a credit repair company will cost you. Ergo, you should be certain that this is the most viable path available for you before embarking in it. The best credit repair companies will be open to having an initial consultation with you to evaluate the specifics of your case. This will involve an analysis of your debt position, exploring the available options and establishing whether credit repair is really the way to go. For this process to be effective, you must be transparent about not just all debt you owe but also existing sources of income.
3. What Range of Services Are Available?
The range of services available to you will vary from one credit repair company to the next. To avoid being disappointed later on, find out what you’re paying for. Will they limit themselves to only disputing items at the credit bureau level or will they also get in touch with collection agencies and creditors? It’s always best to settle for a company that will dispute items at all levels.
4. Are There Any Guarantees?
If the company provides any guarantees, these should be clearly defined in the agreement or contract. That said, caution is paramount. Seek additional clarification during the first meeting so you can get a sense of the kind of results the firm averages with their clients. Is there a time window within which the desired result is expected?
5. Check Reviews
It’s not enough to take the guarantees from the credit repair company at face value. They are after all in business and will seek to put their best foot forward. Find out what past clients say. You could do this by reading through credible review sites such as repair.credit for instance. If you have friends, relatives or work colleagues who have used a credit company before, it would be useful if you could obtain recommendations from them as well.
Some credit repair companies will provide a price quote for the service as early as the first meeting. You should treat this as a red flag. Each debt management challenge is unique and it’s incumbent on the company to perform a thorough review of the situation in order to get a holistic appreciation of what repair will entail. Providing a price before this deep review is at best a wild guess meant to lock in the client quickly. Some companies will charge a very low fee but compensate for this by requiring the client to stay in the program for longer.
One of the most effective ways of ensuring credit repair works for you is by getting involved. Hiring a credit repair company should not be synonymous with shirking personal responsibility. Whereas the company is a debt repair expert, no one knows your finances better than you do. Understanding the repair process will also equip you with the knowledge necessary to avoid falling into the same trap again.