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3 Common Debt Collection Myths

If you worry about how you are going to pay down large sums of debt, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are unsure how their debt impacts their overall finances, their credit report, and their future. Don't let it get to you. The key to overcoming debt is to drill down and put a debt management plan in place.

A big part of putting your worries to rest is taking action. Order a copy of your credit report, so you can analyze your complete debt load. Take a look at your current debts: credit cards, mortgages, student loans, auto loans and any others. While all debts must be repaid, debts secured by an asset, such as your home or car, are considered more favorably than credit card debt, for instance. Keep this in mind when focusing on your repayment plan.

Once you know exactly how much you owe, create a monthly budget that factors in your debt repayments. Start thinking about how you will prioritize your debt repayment. Perhaps you want to first pay off credit cards with the highest interest rate.

Next, find areas you can afford to cut down on, such as unnecessary cable or cell phone packages, and work to optimize the amount you put toward paying down your balances. Making more than the minimum payment on credit card bills is essential. You will have to decide if you want to spread the wealth or focus strictly on getting rid of one debt as quickly as possible. As your debt balances decline, lenders will view your credit report more favorably and your credit score will likely improve.

At some point along the way it may feel like you're going at a slow pace. Keep in mind that paying down debt takes a long time, but your efforts are important. If you are seeking to track your progress, try credit monitoring. You will  receive updates to your email or mobile device upon changes to your credit score.

Dealing with debt collection agencies can be an unsettling experience, largely because it is unfamiliar territory. People may feel ashamed or humiliated for their mistakes and misunderstand the way debt collection works.

Debunking some common debt collection myths may help you make informed decisions while you get your credit score back on track.

Myth #1: When I pay off a debt in collections it is removed from my credit report

Debts that are sent to collections remain on your report for a period of seven years, regardless of whether they are paid or unpaid. The history on your account payment is also recorded, including any delinquencies over the years.

When you pay the total balance owed, the status of the collection account will be updated to paid status, however, both the original and collection accounts will remain on your credit report until seven years since the date of the original delinquency.

Myth #2: Only large balances are sent to debt collectors

There is no minimum amount for a debt to be passed on to collections.  Even an unpaid parking ticket for twenty dollars can be escalated, so no matter how small the bill, it’s best to pay it.

Myth #3: The collection amount will be the same as the original balance

When lenders sell your debt to a collection agency the balance listed on your credit report may increase, because the debt continues to accrue interest and other fees. As a result, the total amount listed on a collections account may be greater than that on the original account.

Unpaid debts that are sent to collection agencies can lower your credit score, making it more difficult or costly to obtain financing. If you are trying to repay a debt that’s been sent to a collection agency, the important thing is to improve your behavior over time.

Lenders will not only look to see that you have repaid your debt and made good on the account, but that you have sustained a good payment record – indicating that you have overcome any past financial hardships and are equipped to manage your debts responsibly.

What is the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009?

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (otherwise known as the CARD act) was enacted by Congress to protect consumers from unfair lending practices, but some say the measure is falling short on the promises it made, according to Smart Money.

The most recent complaint voiced by consumer advocates relates to a rule that dictates how issuers must allocate payments to credit cards. The initial payment allocation proposal would have mandated that lenders apply all payments to the balance with the highest interest first. However, this proposal was altered to a weaker rule that requires issuers to apply any payment over the minimum monthly bill to the highest rate first.

For example, one credit card may charge a higher interest rate for different types of transactions, meaning that the rate for a standard purchase may be lower than the rate for a cash advance. If a borrower’s required minimum payment is $50 and they send in $75, the issuer must only apply $25 to the transaction with the highest rate. The issuer will have discretion over where to apply the required $50 payment, forcing the borrower to carry a balance for a longer period of time.

Despite the current allocation method, the CARD Act has been successful in two of its promised provisions, according to the National Foundation of Credit Counseling. One disclosure rule forces issuers to provide a breakdown to consumers on how long it will take to pay off their balance if they only make the minimum payment. An NFCC survey shows that the rule, in addition to another law that forces lenders to provide a toll-free number to a credit counseling service on a consumer’s statement, has been beneficial to individuals.

“This disclosure aspect of the CARD Act appears to have had the intended result, in that 25 percent of more than 2,000 respondents said it inspired them to pay more each month, while 12 percent indicated that it prompted them to reach out for help to the credit counseling agency listed on their credit card statement,” NFCC spokesperson Gail Cunningham said.

Consumers who carry credit card debt should obtain a copy of their credit report to examine their debt-to-credit ratio and how it may be impacting their credit score. Though it may be difficult financially, consumers should try to make more than the minimum payment each month to pay off their balance and slowly improve their financial standing.

By changing the information available on their monthly bills, the new credit card law may also inspire customers to seek credit counseling before their debt gets out of control, according to a release by Accelerated Debt Consolidation, Inc.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 currently requires that lenders include a toll-free phone number for credit counseling and debt management services on monthly bills. They must also include a timetable showing how long it would take a consumer to pay off their debt if they only made minimum payments.

“This creates several advantages for the consumer,” Young said. “If credit consumers begin contacting credit counseling and debt management agencies when they are only up to 30 percent of their credit limits for example, their options for reducing their debt will be greatly improved.”

Cardholders with high rates on their balances would be able to transfer the debt to accounts with smaller balances in the debt management program. Or they can transfer money to accounts with better rates, allowing them to reduce debt faster. Carrying low credit card balances and paying on time can positively contribute to a consumer’s credit history.

Other provisions within the Credit CARD Act prohibit lenders from raising interest rates, fees or terms unless they give customers 45 days’ advance notice.

Top 7 Reasons Your Credit Score Could Drop

From carrying large balances to having your credit limit cut, discover 7 reasons your credit score could drop.
Credit Score Drop

Reason #1: Large Balances

The closer you are to reaching your credit limit and maxing out your credit cards, the higher your credit utilization ratio will be. Ideally, you would pay the balance on credit cards in full every month, but that’s not always doable. Your goal should be to keep your balance at around a third of your credit limit to avoid risking a dip in your credit score.

Reason #2: New Credit Applications

Inquiries may not make a big splash with your credit score, but multiple inquiries, like applying for credit cards or even signing a cell phone contract can impact your score. If the credit line application was declined for any reason, checking your credit score wont hurt you and may be a good idea if you plan to apply for additional lines of credit.

Reason #3: A Public Record was added to Your Credit Report

From judgments to bankruptcies, public records can curtail your credit score. Depending on the notation, these negative entries can stay on your credit report from 7 to 10 years, causing your credit score to drop. Past due on child support or haven't paid your taxes? Even these types of financial responsibilities might become public records if they aren’t addressed timely and appropriately.

Reason #4: Inaccurate Information on Your Credit Report

Because lenders report information to the national credit bureaus, its good to check the data is correct across reports from all the bureaus. Lending companies do not have to report their information to each bureau. Sometimes this causes credit reports to differ from bureau to bureau.

Be sure lenders have accurately reported timely payments, closed accounts and other information. If you find inaccurate information on your credit report, there are steps you can take to have the data corrected.

Reason #5: Late Payment

Missed payments are a no-no, especially when it comes to your credit report. Past due marks in your credit history can lower your credit score, especially as the length of time theyre late increases.

Reason #6: Past due account sent to collections

When your bills go unpaid, your lender may send your past due account to a collections agency to help collect whats owed to them. This means double-trouble for your credit score, as the missed payments and collections notation both make it extremely likely that your credit score will drop.

Reason #7: Closed Credit Card Account

Your oldest accounts are more valuable than you may think! If you’ve paid off a balance on a credit card, wait before closing your account. Once you close an account with a long solid history, you are ditching the positive aspect of length of time you’ve held credit, thus potentially lowering your score when it cycles off of your credit report.

Once you’ve checked your credit report and pinpoint the cause of your lowered credit score, don't be afraid to contact your lenders to work out an agreement that may help get your credit score in better shape.

But, despite these things that can make your credit score drop, the good news is that consistent, positive money management habits can often eclipse the credit score-sinking factors over time, so don't give up! You can also

How To Stop Debt Collector Calls

Stop Debt Collectors CallsWhile it is always going to be a better choice to deal with creditors directly rather than waiting for a debt to reach collections, if it does reach this point it is important to keep in mind that you still have options thanks to what is known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices act.

Ask for details in writing: Within 5 days of making contact, a debt collector is obligated to send you a written notice outlining the amount of money you owe, who you owe it to and how to dispute the claim. Most debt collectors won’t do this automatically, however which means the first contact you have with them should include asking for this information and nothing else. The goal of the debt collector is to force you to confirm that you will pay the debt or make a payment, and not having all of the details in front of you can make it easy to say the wrong thing and wave many of your rights without even realizing it. What’s more, asking for a copy of the details will prevent them from contacting you again until you have received them, giving you some time to get your defenses together if you have been caught off guard.

Dispute the claim: Once you have received the details of the claim in writing, the next thing you are going to want to do is to dispute the claim using the methods discussed in previous chapters, regardless of whether or not you believe you owe the money in question. This will put the onus on the collection agency to verify the debt, which is far from a sure thing even on debts that you do
owe. You have 30 days to send this letter from the date you received the details which means that using certified mail is key. Be sure to ask for a delivery receipt as nine times out of ten the collections agency will deny they received your request. Once you send this letter and notify the collection agency of this fact, they cannot contact you again until the debt has been verified. They also have to stop all reporting activity, make sure you demand this in the letter.

Keep track of everything: As discussed previously, debt collectors are limited in how they can approach you but, in most cases, will try and skirt these restrictions as much as possible in an effort to get you to agree to pay the debt or set up a payment plan. As such, it is in your best interest to take detailed notes every time you speak with them and keep anything they send you so you can look it
over for violations at a later date.

Illegal activities not previously covered include speaking to anyone but you or your representation about the debt, using abusive language, misrepresenting the amount of the debt of making false claims about legal action, seizing property or garnishing wages if they don’t intend to actually follow through. If they do any of these things, then the issue of the amount of debt you owe will essentially become moot as you will be able to take legal action against them and even the threat of doing so will often be enough for them to forgive some or all of your debt entirely. Be sure not to mention that you are keeping track of your conversations as this will cause them to be on their best behavior and decrease your potential for leverage.

Speak as little as possible: Everything that a debt collector says is for the purpose of collecting on the debt which means that the less you say, the less they have to use against you. Remember, regardless of what they may say up front, they are never really your friend, nor do they have your best interests at heart. They work on commission which means the more they get from you the more they will make. Never commit to anything, never agree that you owe the amount in question, always mention that you are considering bankruptcy and discuss payment options only if you intend to follow through. If they determine that you are unlikely to pay, and the amount owed is less than $2,500, they may give up and consider you more trouble than you are worth. While the debt will remain on your credit report for the next seven years, it might be worth it, depending on your current financial situation.

Be aware of time limits: Once you receive the details from the collection agency, you will need to look into the time-frame which they have to collect on the debt based on where you live (between three and six years in most cases). Once this period of time has passed they can no longer take legal action against you. It is important to be aware of these limits as if you make a payment after this period of time, some states will allow the clock to be reset, the same can be said for acknowledging you owe the debt or for signing up for a repayment plan.

How To Negotiate and Settle Large Debts

Debt SettlementWhile creditors would like you to think otherwise, the fact of the matter is that any debt that you have is negotiable. What’s more, regardless of the amount, 90 percent of creditors are going to be willing to take a lump sum now over a promise to pay at a later date. When it comes to negotiating large amounts, the following tips may make it easier to come out ahead.

Have a story mid stick with it: The person you are dealing with isn’t going to be interested in your life story, but they will need to know who you are unable to pay in full right now. This means you are going to want to have a story that outlines your hardships and explains what you are doing to get back on track. You will want to distill that story down to the most important points and never waver from it throughout the negotiation process.

One particularly useful strategy is mentioning that, due to financial hardship, you will soon be meeting with a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. This will almost always make creditors more willing to strike a deal as if you file for bankruptcy there is a chance that they will get nothing.

Stay calm: It is important to keep in mind that, no matter what the creditor says, you have the upper hand as the debt you have is leverage over them. Stick to this fact and, no matter what they say, do your best to avoid losing your temper. If you make a scene or cause drama then the creditor will know they are getting to you and will be less willing to make a deal. If you feel yourself losing it, simply tell them that you will call them back and end the call as quickly as possible. If you find the creditor’s behavior hard to stomach, simply tell them you are recording the conversation which will put them on their best, and most professional, behavior.

Always ask questions: If the creditor threatens you with a lawsuit or with the loss of property, above all else it is important that you don’t let these threats frighten you into making a poor decision. Instead, it is important to ask questions as this will often reveal if the creditor is bluffing or not. For example, if they threaten you with a lawsuit, simply ask when you can expect to be notified of it. Keep notes of these threats as they are often times illegal as creditors are strictly limited as to how they can approach debt, specifically to protect consumers.

Likewise, you are going to want to take notes every time you speak with a creditor including the name of the person you spoke with, the date and the things that were discussed, especially threats. There is typically a statute of limitations as to how long the creditor has to collect on a debt, which varies by region, and they will likely become irritated as that time period approaches.

Avoid agreeing to a payment plan: If you agree to a payment plan you will always end up paying more in the long run then if you manage to scrape together a lump sum payment. Depending on the amount you owe, even as little as 30 percent might be enough to satisfy the creditor assuming it is getting close to the end of the time-frame they have to collect on the debt and you have stuck to your
story about financial hardship and bankruptcy. Never be afraid to offer a low-ball number, the worst that can happen is that they refuse to take it. If you do end up agreeing to a payment plan make sure you go over your expenses with a fine-tooth comb and ensure you can afford to make the payment every month to avoid finding yourself back in the same situation.

Try and deal with creditors: If you know you are going to be unable to make payments on a debt you have accrued, do your best to come to an agreement with the creditor directly, before the debt is sent to collections. The creditor is always going to be easier to negotiate with than a third-party debt collection service.

How To Maintain a Good Credit Score

Maintaining CreditOnce you have done the work of repairing your damaged credit score you are going to want to do everything in your power in order to ensure that you don’t find yourself back where you started. You have worked diligently to repair the mistakes of the past; don’t use it as an excuse to start making new ones. To help keep you on the straight and narrow, consider the following tips to maintain good credit.

Always pay your bills on time, all of them: While not every bill that you have will end tip on your credit report if you are a few days late when it comes to paying it, you can never know for certain which bills are mission critical and which can be safely ignored until your next pay check. Even a small fine from the local library could ultimately end tip on your credit report, dinging your hard—won credit score in the process. Don't take that chance and always remain vigilant when it comes to paying your bills on time.

Avoid using credit cards: While having credit cards improves your credit utilization and credit history, using them too often is a surefire way to start back-sliding, especially if your budget is on the lean side. If you must use your credit cards, take special care to ensure that you never exceed a credit utilization of 30 percent as that’s when your credit score will start to take a hit. While going over this limit slightly will only affect your score by a few points, if you are just on the edge of an acceptable score, that might be all it takes to start seeing higher rates as a result.

Pay down your loans: Once you have righted your financial ship, the best way you can keep it on course is to make it a point of paying down your loans as quickly as possible; don’t forget, approximately 30 percent of your credit score is influenced by the amount of debt you have which makes it one of the easiest ways to continue improving your score once you are moving in the right

In order to make more money available to pay down your debt, the first thing you are going to want to do is to stop living paycheck to paycheck which means establishing an emergency fund. A solid emergency fund will allow you to live for three months, and pay all your bills, if the worst happens and you find yourself out of the job. Establishing this fund will give you the wiggle room you need to
prioritize your debt without worrying about every minor pitfall that comes your way.

Monitor spending: Approximately 40 percent of individuals who find themselves with credit score issues got there simply by not keeping track of their week-to-week spending as well as they should. With the prevalence of online banking, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be aware of exactly what your checking account balance is,every minute of every day. Get in the habit of monitoring
your spending and you will never be surprised when your bank statement shows up at the end of the month. This doesn’t mean you won’t want to peruse the statement when it does come in, however, as you never know when a mistake might be made, you never know when a little extra diligence could pay off in a big way.

Remain glued to your credit report: Just because you are out of the woods doesn’t mean that nothing new is going to show up on your credit report, whether it is your fault or not. Something new from your past might show up, or one of the bureaus may make a mistake or fail to note tile positive changes you have made in a timely manner. The previous blog posts have given you tools for dealing with these issues, but you will only be able to put them into action if you are aware of them in the first place. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste, continue taking advantage of your free credit report every year.

How To Build Business Credit Fast

Business CreditApproximately 45 percent of all small businesses who are turned down for a loan have bad credit to blame, according to the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and New York. A robust credit profile for your business doesn't just make it easier to get a loan, it will also make it easier for your business to attract new customers. This is because, unlike with your personal credit report, anyone including potential suppliers, partners and customers can all see the credit report of your business at any time. With this fact in mind, it should be clear that if you own a small business, you will want to do everything in your power to improve its credit as quickly as possible and keep it clean as well.

Know your current score: While you are already familiar with Equifax and Experian when it comes to keeping tabs on your business credit score you are also going to need to familiarize yourself with the Dun & Bradstreet credit bureau. Unfortunately, while determining your personal credit score is relatively straightforward all three bureaus use a different means of determining business credit scores as well as asking various lenders for differing types of data. This will sometimes work to
your advantage, however as Dun & Bradstreet lets business owners update their basic business details and also upload financial data. Even better complete portfolios actually improving overall credit scores.

Set up trade lines: Assuming you purchase materials from third-party vendors, doing so in the right way can help you to improve your business' credit. Assuming you have been working with a given vendor for some time, it is likely that they would be willing to extend you trade credit for the things you purchase most often. Trade credit simply means that you will be able to pay a predetermined number of weeks, or even just days, after you have received the latest shipment of inventory. Once you set up this type of relationship it is then easy to ask the supplier to report your
payments to the relevant credit bureaus.

You will want to try your hardest to establish at least three of these types of relationships as doing so will allow you to get what is known as a Paydex score through Dun & Bradstreet which is a measure of your successful payment history. Even if you form relationships with smaller vendors who don't typically report details, by listing them on your account as trade references the bureau will then follow up with them to generate your score.

Be prompt with payments: Just like with your personal finances, paying creditors on time is a crucial part of building your business credit successfully. If you are looking to get the best Paydex score from Dun & Bradstreet you are going to need to go above and beyond and make all your payments early, no exceptions. Additionally, the longer your credit history the better so the sooner you can start forming these relationships the better it will be for your score.

Borrow from the right lenders: While having a loan and paying it on time can help to boost your business' credit score, this will only be the case if the lender you choose reports to the bureaus which is far from guaranteed. Do your homework and make sure that your fiscal responsibility is helping you out as much as possible when you do get a loan. Most banks will report to the bureaus as do the online lenders including BlueVine, Kabbage, Funding Circle Fundation, Lending Club and OnDeck. Fundbox, Lighter Captial, SmarBiz and most merchant cash advance companies do not. If you are using business credit cards (see Money Crashers Small Business Credit Card recommendations) strive to keep your credit utilization under 20 percent for the best results.

Be aware of your public records: Just like your business credit report, your public records can also be seen by anyone which means you are going to want to do your best to stay on the right side the law. Not only will negative public records affect your business credit score, they will affect the way the public perceives your business as well.

Fast Credit Repair After Medical Judgments

Fast Credit RepairUnexpected medical expenses can sneak up on anyone at any time with no warning. If a medical judgement is issued against you for costs associated with this type of scenario, the first thing you are going to want to do is to try and fight it using the tactics discussed here. If that doesn’t work, however, then you are going to have a black mark on your credit report for the next seven years.
The most important thing to do in this instance is to not lose hope and to instead do everything you can to repair your credit as quickly as possible.

Negotiate your debt: As previously noted, just because a judgement is filed against you doesn’t mean the plaintiff is going to get paid. Medical establishments are aware of this fact which means you can likely negotiate a more reasonable fee as opposed to simply paying what a judge says you owe.

In order to do this, the first thing you are going to need to do is to organize and review your medical bills to ensure they are free of errors including double charges or overcharges. Billing items you can contest include things like full-day charges for the day you were released from the hospital, medication charges and secondary charges for standard supplies such as sheets and gowns as these should be factored into the daily fees. Additionally, if you have insurance you should see a deduction for what they paid on your bill as well.

Once you know exactly what you have to pay, you will then want to compare that amount to your monthly bills and determine how much you can afford to pay of the bill in question. If you only have a small percentage of the total available currently, the best bet is to wait until you have at least fifty percent of the total saved and then reach out to the plaintiff and offer to settle. You can either call the
other party or send out the pay for delete letter from here. Regardless, if you come to an agreement make sure you get it in writing.

Play catch-up: If you spent time recuperating from a major illness or accident then it is likely that your medical expenses aren’t the only thing you have to deal with, which means the first step to rebuilding your credit is to get your other payments back on track. To do so, you are going to want to contact each of your creditors and explain the situation and ask if you can work out some type of payment plan to get back On track. Generally, you will be able to come to an agreement that you can both live with that won’t leave you completely broke. Getting back into the habit of paying all of your bills on time is a crucial step towards rebuilding your credit.

Installment accounts: In addition to opening a secured credit card as described in this blog post, you are going to want to go about building positive credit by obtaining an installment loan. This is a loan for a set amount with a set term and a set repayment. Installment loans are easier to get that rotating loans (such as standard credit cards) as the risk to the lender is lessened.

Even still, depending on your current level of credit you may need to get someone who trusts you to cosign on the loan. A cosigner is someone with good credit who essentially gives their word that you are going to pay back the loan, otherwise the failure hurts their credit as well. A good place to look for a starter installment loan is from an independent automotive dealership. These dealers are going to have less stringent requirements than major chains and are often more accustomed to dealing with individuals with less than stellar credit. You may not even need a cosigner after all. If you do get a loan in this fashion, make it a point of always paying the bill on time as this fact will be reported to the credit bureaus (read more) on the monthly basis. 

How To Get Something Removed From Your Credit Report

Credit Report Dispute FormHow To Remove Negative Items Fast

While most issues will be removed from your credit report in seven years, (ten for bankruptcies) you may not have to wait that long if you do your due diligence. It doesn't matter if it is a foreclosure, charge off, bill in collections or late payments, they all have the potential to be removed early.

Check for errors: Studies show that more than fifty percent of all credit reports contain errors of some kind. These errors might not be major, such as including details from someone else's report, they may be smaller, and thus easier to miss. This means you are going to want to check the specifics of every entry and ensure it matches up with your personal records. You are going to want to check every credit limit balance, payment status, account status, open and close date and account
number and note any errors.

Once the errors are noted, you will then want to send a letter to each credit bureau outlining the mistakes and requesting that they are removed. You can use the letter outlined in the previous chapter and substitute in the errors you have found for the part about credit inquiries. The good part about this is that if the bureau can't determine the accuracy of the information it will simply be removed.

Goodwill letter: If you can't find any inaccuracies, or the bureau verified the ones you pointed out as correct, you can instead try sending what is know as a goodwill letter. You will send this letter to the collection agency or to the creditor and ask that they remove the negative entry based on goodwill. This will be most effective if you are looking to have charge offs, collections or late payments removed. In this letter, you will want to explain your situation to the agency in question and ask that they essentially help you out by removing the offending information. While this may seem like a long shot, it works a surprising amount of the time, especially with regards to late payments. This method is especially  effective if you are a current customer and the organization has a reason to want to hold on to your business. A sample goodwill letter is below:


(Creditor/Collection Agency Name) 
(Creditor/Collection Agency Address) 

Re: Account number provided 

To whom it may concern: 

I am writing regarding an issue I recently came across in my credit report (list specifics) that I was hoping you could help me to rectify. I understand that making payments on time is very important and that failing to do so causes issues for your company. If you look at my file you will see that I have done so a majority of the time I have been a client of your company and that my (late/missing) payment is an exception, not a rule. I missed the payment in question do to an (unavoidable emergency real or imagined, the more detail the better) and while I tried to make the payment on time I was unable to do so. 

I can guarantee that the issue won't happen again as my (financial, physical, emotional) state has improved dramatically since (issue) and it is no longer a factor when it comes to making payments. As a courtesy, I am requesting that you make this goodwill adjustment to my record in light of 
my history of on time payments. This will allow me to improve my credit score and boost my confidence in being a (company name) customer. 

I appreciate your time 


Pay for delete: If you are dealing with charge offs or unpaid collections, the most effective way to have them removed from your account is to negotiate with the creditor directly and offer to pay a portion of what you owe in exchange for having the negative entry DELETED from your report. If you go down this path it is important that you get the agreement in writing prior to making the payment as once the payment is made you lose all of your leverage. A sample letter outlining this process can be found below.

Collection Agency/Creditor Name 
Account number: 
Amount owed: 

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you in reference to the above account number in an  effort to settle the amount due in a way that will benefit us both. This letter should not be seen as an acknowledgement of liability to the debt in question and I shall still retain the right to request verification of the debt from your company if the terms outlined below aren't acceptable to you. With that being said, however, I am willing to pay off (percentage of amount) of the debt as a sign of good faith based on the following 

  • Your company will put forth the effort to successfully remove all references to this issue from the (credit bureaus that list the issue). 
  • Moving forward your company will not list the debt as a settled account. 
  • The payment made will be considered payment in full of the debt in question. 
  • The debt will not be transferred or sold to a different creditor. 
  • This agreement will not be made public in any way, shape or form. 

In exchange for these written assurances I will pay (amount about fifty percent for new accounts and thirty percent for older accounts) as soon as I receive an appropriate response. This should not be taken as a promise to pay, rather it is a restricted settlement offer based solely on your agreement to the terms outlined above. Prior to making any payments I will need a written acceptance of these terms on your company letterhead that is signed by an authorized representative of your company. 

This offer will expire in 30 days, I look forward to a prompt response. 

(Typed Name) 

Secret Removal Strategies 

Not recommended for the reader — seek advice from a professional credit repair company. 

I once had 3 credit cards that were charged off and unpaid. I sent strong letters to the credit card company and they agreed to settle but not delete the accounts. 

I wanted them deleted. 

I decided to look into filing a federal lawsuit pro se. I reasoned that if I can show them how serious I was and that my basis was provable in court (Credit Billing Act violations), then they would yield to my demand. 

I did some research and discovered that I could file a claim in the nearest US court under Federal Question, since the Fair Credit acts are under the federal; jurisdiction. I typed up my own docket using previous cases as a template, mailed it to the Credit Card Company and credit 
bureaus and demanded damages of $1,000,000. 

At the time I had NO CLUE what I was doing but it worked; I was so inexperienced that instead of actually filing the claim, I simply sent it to the credit card company s legal department and the credit bureau's dispute department but with one extra step. 

I also searched out the OWNER and the Statutory Agent of the credit card company by searching through the corporate records of the state they were headquartered in, and included their names in my self-created docket. Anyone can find this information by searching for the respective states' Secretary of State Office, corporate division. 

In about 10 days I received a call from the Credit Card Company's legal firm representative. He was very calm on the phone and basically said that he tried looking my docket-case up in the Clerk online for the Ohio Northern US Court District and found nothing. 

He then proceeded to state to me that he could file a suit back against my for malicious attempt, but then ended the sentence that his client wants this done and over with now, so 
they are prepared to delete all charged off credit card accounts if I agree to not sue them or follow through with the claim! 

Obviously I signed their letter stating this and in about 30 days the bureaus refreshed their data and the accounts were gone and my score INCREASED 202 Points! 

My original goal was never to go to court but merely to settle before that. 

I do not recommend you do extreme tactics like this unless you feel it really is justified and even then be sure to seek legal advice. There are a lot of details that would go into this, let alone acting pro se. 

Credit repair is very personal and unique to each person, each case is different. I was willing to do extreme measures to get what I wanted so that I could get a mortgage loan at the time and buy a house. 

Fast Credit Repair After Foreclosure

Foreclosure While rebuilding your credit after a foreclosure is difficult it is doable if you go about it in the right way and stick to your guns in the process. It is not going to be an overnight process but slow and steady wins the race.

Credit cards: After a foreclosure, many credit card companies will contact you in an attempt to either cancel your account or to raise your rates. Despite what they may say, this is only an automatic adjustment that was triggered based on your foreclosure and is in no way a sure thing.
As long as you have been paying your bill on time and are not using the credit card for major purchases, there is no reason you cannot negotiate with the representative that you speak with to both keep your card and keep your rate at the level it was at prior to the foreclosure. Be steadfast in your commitment and don't let them bully you around and you can come out on top.

It is important to keep your credit cards if at all possible as using them is a great way to start reestablishing your credit. You are going to want to use them for household expenses and to pay the charges off in full each month. Maintaining consistency and keeping a clean record of on-time
payments is the first step to rebuilding credit. You can also get professional credit repair help from Sky Blue Credit who we have independently reviewed and rated as our #1 credit repair service.

Secured credit: If you have already lost your credit cards then the easiest way to go about rebuilding your credit is to start with a secured credit card. A secured credit card works like a regular credit card except your limit is tied to the amount of money you deposit with the credit card company up front. You will not be able to access that money directly while the account is open which means the lender doesn't have to worry about losing out on any credit loans that are made in your name.

A secured credit card is different than a debit card in that the company providing it to you will go ahead and make monthly reports to the credit bureaus, helping to build your credit as long as you use it in a conscientious fashion. The card also has all of the fees and penalties of a regular credit card so it is important to shop around for one offers the best rates.

Avoid new debt: When rebuilding your credit, it is important that you don't take on any new debt until your credit score has started to right itself as your debt to income ratio will affect your credit score and, at the moment, you will need all the help you can get. Likewise, starting several new credit streams at once will only shorten the average length of your credit history which can send you back in the other direction. Rather than open new avenues for credit, and debt, focus on paying off any other debts you may current have and save money for when you score gets above 650 so that you can take on new debt with better rates.

Try Low Balance Credit Credits: These credit cards usually have extremely high interest rates but your goal is to charge only 10% of the balance to build a credit score fast. Getting 3-4 of these can achieve excellent results fast if you charge and keep a low (10%) balances on them with no changes. I still have some of my low balance cards that I got just for the purpose of credit repair years ago. For instance I have a $2,000 and $1,000 card. On the $1,000 card I hold a balance of $155 and on the
$2,000 card I keep a balance of $180.

Consider credit unions: A credit union is essentially a nonprofit bank that operates only to benefit its members. As such, when you are ready to apply for a new loan or a credit card it is recommended that you join a credit union to do so as the rates that you are eligible for are going to typically be much more in your favor than through a traditional bank. They will also be more likely to overlook your financial mishap as their requirements for loans and credit cards won't be as strict as well.

FCRA Section 609 Credit Repair Method

FCRA Section 609 Credit Repair Letter
To understand how the FCRA Section 609 credit repair method works, it is important to understand that the FCRA was written before the advent of the internet. As such, they require the credit reporting agencies to have physical copies of all documentation to support each account that is being reported on. This is a problem for these agencies as virtually all credit items added to your credit report these days are submitted electronically. This in turn, means that it is rare for any documents to be reviewed prior  to changes being made to your credit report.

Essentially, the credit reporting agencies just give all creditors the benefit of the doubt when new information IS added to your file. You can use this to your advantage by asking for hard-copy verification via Section 609 of the FCRA for virtually anything negative that is listed on your credit report. You simply need to use the following letter and not be deterred by any scare tactics that the credit reporting agencies will use to cover their tracks as they will try everything in their power to avoid having to tell you that they do n't have the physical documentation.

There are many sections and subsections in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that was established in 1971. Remember that the FCRA was established to protect the consumer from unfair lending and collections practices. One such section that can help the consumer dispute debt and information contained in their credit report is Section 609.

How does Section 609 help you repair your credit? How can you take advantage of this "legal loophole"? 

Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act says that upon a consumer’s request, the credit reporting agency must be able to provide certain information to the consumer.

What this means is that you legally have options to get the credit reporting agencies to verify the debt on your account. I went into an explanation of the verification of debt in the last blog post so you should understand it a little bit. Like we talked about, a lot of the information on your credit report may be inaccurate. 

Some of it may be accurate. It’s important to make sure that the debt on your credit report and all the information contained therein is accurate. The credit reporting agency must be able to prove that the account listed belongs to you, and also where they received this information regarding this account.

The legal wording in Section 609 of the FCRA doesn’t have information pertaining to whether the
negative account is valid or not. What the law does care about is that the information the credit reporting agencies have on you and the accounts listed in your report is enough to provide proper verification under the law.

When you send a verification letter to the agencies, you are sending a request under Section 609 of the FCRA. You will be asking that the credit reporting agencies follow the law and verify the debt as requested. The credit reporting agencies have 30 days from receiving this letter to go through the verification process and get back to you.Make sure you keep foolproof records of everything
you do through this process. 

When you mail the 609 letters to the credit reporting agencies, send them certified mail with return receipt. This will cost you a little bit of money on the front end, but it will be worth it to have peace of mind in your record keeping. When mailing them  certified, you will be able to track them and see when they are received. If the credit reporting agency does not respond to your dispute request within 30 days of that date, they are in violation of the law and you can call them out on it.

If they fail to respond to your 609 letters within 30 days, you can request that the credit reporting agency removes the disputed items from your credit report since they neglected to follow the law.

Your letter may be classified as “frivolous” by the credit reporting agency. The reason this happens is that they use computers to scan the incoming letters and classify them into categories. It would be rare for an incoming letter to go directly into a human’s hands first thing. The credit reporting agency will then respond to your inquiry letting you know that it thinks your request is frivolous. You will have to send a second round of 609 letters.

To avoid having to do this process multiple times, you can put it a little more work on the front end, ensuring that a human will handle your dispute request instead of a computer.

When making the 609 letters to send to the credit reporting agencies, do not use an internet form letter. I will later give you examples of letters you can send but do not use them word for word. Instead, use them as a template or a guideline for what you will send.

Also, do not type your letter up in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Instead, write your letter out by hand. Use blue ink, since it is harder for the computers to decipher. Write in print rather than cursive, as we want the human that looks over your information to be able to clearly read what you are asking of them. It is also a good idea to get the letters notarized before you mail them. This will prove to the credit companies that you are who you say you are.


When the credit reporting agency responds to your dispute request, they will do so by mail. There are a few different ways they can respond.

One way is a full and complete verification of your debt, like a copy of the original dated contract bearing your signature. If this is the response you get, the debt has legally been verified and you will be hard pressed to get them to remove it from your report.

Another way they try to verify the debt is not a true verification at all. The credit reporting agency may send you a copy of a statement on the line of credit that they received as proof from the original furnisher of the loan, or from a collection agency collecting the debt for the original lender. This is not solid proof of your debt. You will need to send another letter, requesting to see the copy of the
original dated contract that has your signature on it.

The ideal outcome is that they credit reporting agency has no way to verify the debt in compliance with the law, and when they respond to you they tell you that. If this is the response, they need to delete the credit line off of your credit report. When the negative information is deleted, your credit score will improve.

After Dispute, Is it Gone for Good?

This is where some people get hung up. You are disputing your credit lines with the credit reporting
agencies, usually not the person or company reporting the information to the agency.

Unfortunately, sometimes even if the credit reporting agency deletes the inaccurate information from your credit report, it can come back to haunt you. If the original furnisher of the debt sees that the information has been knocked off, they may try to get it reinstated. They could also sell it to a collections agency which would start the process of verification and 609 letters all over.

If your debt was already with a collections agency when you disputed it and had it removed from your credit report, they won’t be happy either. They could also try to get it put back on your report, or they might even sell it to yet another collections agency. Once again, this would
restart the whole process of verification/609 letters.

Another thing you need to understand is that just because the debt is no longer reported on your credit
report, that does not mean you no longer owe it if it is a valid debt. Make note of the fact that I said valid debt. If the information concerning the debt is invalid and you can prove it, you should have nothing to worry about during the dispute process.

However, if the debt is valid and you are just trying to get the negative reporting on the debt removed from your credit report; this process does not absolve you from paying that debt.

The 609 letters you sent to the credit reporting agencies were not sent to dispute whether the debt is valid or not. The purpose of the 609 letters you sent was to force the credit reporting agency’s hand into proving to you that they have the legal right to report the disputed debt. If the credit reporting agency is unable to provide you with physical proof of the verification of the debt, they cannot report it on your credit report as they have no way to prove it is 100 percent accurate... The FCRA demands that the credit reporting agencies ensure that everything reported by them is factual, and this is where you have them most of the time.

Again, I will say if the debt actually belongs to you and the only reason you are disputing it is that of negative reporting, you still owe the debt. If you do not pay up on the debt, it will soon be sold to a collections agency, and then guess what? You will be right back in this situation again. Requesting that the credit reporting agencies verify that the information being reported by the collections agency is correct. If you are not careful and do not pay! attention, this can quickly turn into a vicious repeating cycle.

With the following "609 letters", you will need to be sure to always include a copy of a photo identification as well as a copy of your social security card (also include your past residences for 5 years). This is due to the fact that the FCRA only requires the credit reporting agencies to respond to individuals in writing if they provide these details. Without it, your letters will simply be ignored. When disputing accounts, it is also important to never dispute more than 22 at one time. This is the magic number, anything more than that will cause you dispute to be considered frivolous. Additionally, you will want to ensure you hand label your envelopes as type envelopes will be opened far less often.

Section 609 Dispute Letter Template



(Credit Bureau Name) 


To Whom It May Concern: 

This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate and incomplete credit information. I am distressed that you have included the below information in my credit profile and have failed to maintain reasonable procedures in your operations to assure maximum possible accuracy in the credit reports you publish. 

Credit reporting laws ensure that bureaus report only 100% accurate credit information. Every step must be taken to assure the information reported is completely accurate and correct. The following information therefore needs to be re-investigated. I respectfully request to be provided proof that these inquiries were in fact authorized With an instrument bearing my signature, and for legitimate business purposes. Failing that the unauthorized inquiry must be deleted from the report as soon as 

(Accounts you wish to have removed from your report) 

Please delete this misleading information, and supply a corrected credit profile to all creditors who have received a copy within the last 6 months or the last 2 years for employment purposes. 

Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. 

Under federal law, you have 30 days to complete your re- investigation. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation. 





I will be providing you with templates for the letters we discussed previously. In case you skipped over those blog post to get to the good stuff, I will give a brief explanation again here.

You can send a Section 609/Method of Verification Letter forcing the credit reporting agencies to verify that they have proof of your debt from the original lender.

You can send a goodwill letter, asking for compassion regarding late or missed payments on a line of credit.

You can send a letter asking a creditor for a Pay-to-Delete deal to remove information from your credit report.

You can send an HIPAA letter for information regarding healthcare accounts on your credit report.

Remember, do not copy these letters word for word. They are just templates to give you an idea as to how to word your letters that you send. Do not print these, instead, write them out by hand. Consider having them notarized to further prove your identity to the credit reporting agency. Send the letters by certified mail only, with a read receipt.

Along with the dispute letters, you will need to send information proving who you are. Write another document and include the following information:
  • Your full name. This includes your middle initial and any suffix such a Junior or III
  • The date you were born
  • Social Security Number (if you have one)
  • Current and former addresses from the past 5 years
  • A copy of a government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license
  • Copy of bank statement, utility bill, insurance statement, etc. to verify your current address and identity

Sample Letter 1


Credit Reporting Agency/Bureau

City, State, Zip

To Whom It May Concern:

I have reviewed a copy of my credit report and am writing to dispute some information that needs to be deleted from the report. These items should be deleted for the following reasons:

Item #

Reason for Deletion

According to the provisions for consumers provided in the Fair Credit Reporting Act 611(a) [15 USC 168ii(a)], these items I am disputing must be re-investigated or deleted from my credit record within 30 days. While the investigation is ongoing, these disputed items must be removed from reporting on my credit report, or listed as “in dispute”. I am also requesting the contact information of the individuals you communicated with during your investigation into this dispute.

When the investigation is complete, please notify me that the above items have been deleted in accordance with 611 (a)(6) [15 USC i68ij (a) (6)]. Please also furnish me with an updated copy of my credit report, to be sent to the address below. According to 612 [15 USC 168ij], I should pay nothing for this report.

If you need additional information or have any questions regarding this dispute, please contact me at address noted below.

Thank you.



City, State, Zip
Social Security #

You can also choose to work with a reputable credit repair agency who will manage this entire process for you.  This can often be a much easier option if you don't have the time to prepare credit repair letters and follow up with the agencies. 

How To Delete Public Collections and Judgements

Public records that appear on your credit report include civil judgments, tax liens and bankruptcy filings.

Tax liens: the first thing you are going to want to do is to ensure that the debt as been paid in full. Next, you are going to want to go ahead and prepare to file a dispute. The federal government has a Fresh Start program that makes this process fairly straightforward. To qualify you are going to need to be current on your taxes and have received a Release of Tax Lien document. You will also need the original forms that provided notice of the lien in the first place. You will need to fill out IRS form 12277 Application for Withdrawal of Filed form 688Y, available at You will then need to submit this, along with your original form and proof that you have paid off the lien to the IRS. You should then receive IRS form 10916(c) which states that the federal lien has been withdrawn. Finally, you will submit a copy of that form to the credit bureaus with a request that they remove the remove the inaccurate information from your report.

Judgements: Having a judgement on your credit report can be nearly as harmful as having a repossession or a loan default. While removing a judgement is possible, it is not as easy as removing a late payment or a credit inquiry. A judgement shows up on your credit report if a judge signs off on a statement saying that you owe a specific debt. This occurs when a lawsuit is filed against you for the purpose collecting a debt, even if you weren't aware of the court proceedings at the time. It is important to keep in mind that just because a judgement was issues against you, that doesn't mean that other party was paid, which is a fact that you will use to your advantage.

There are two different ways to deal with a judgement once it has hit your credit report, you can have the judgement dismissed, also known as vacated, or remove the judgment from your credit report. If you take this second route you can contact the other party with the letter used to settle an outstanding debt.

Dismiss a judgement: In order to have a judgement dismissed, you need to file a motion of dismiss the judgement in the first place. This is essentially an appeal that states the original outcome was inaccurate or unfair based on a specific number of reasons. First you will want to look through the proceedings and ensure that the person who requested the judgement in the first place went ahead and followed all the correct procedures and laws for doing so in your area. If there was mismanagement of this process, the odds are that the judge didn't know about it when the judgment was made.

In addition to following up on the judgment process, you will need to ensure that the person filing the judgement also followed proper court proceedings as you may be able to win out based on a technicality. This is especially important if you failed to show up for your court date and the plaintiff won by default as long as you had a valid reason for now showing up for the hearing in the first place. Again it is important to familiarize yourself with local laws for this process to be effective.

When you prepare your motion to vacate it is important you follow local rules for civil procedure to the letter, the rule for your area should spell out exactly what you need to do, explain valid reasons a judgement can be vacated and will often include specific language you will need to use to file your motion.

The document you create should explain why the judgment should be be vacated, starting with the reasons why you are bringing the motion forward. You will need to state your procedural defense and explain why you missed the original hearing if that is what happened. Valid reasons include that you were not served properly, that you responded to the summons but there was no initial judgment or that you did not have time to make it to the hearing based on what you were served. There may be other valid reasons in your area as well.

You will also need to include reasons why the judgment would have been dismissed if you had been at the hearing including things like, the collection agency failed to respond to your validation request or that the debt amount exceeded local usury interest limits.

Bankruptcy: Removing a bankruptcy from your credit report is the most difficult black mark to remove. While it is far from a sure thing, a general rule is that the older the bankruptcy is, the easier it is to remove. To get started you are going to want to look for errors relating to it, if there are then you are in luck. If you find errors you can go about asking the bureau to remove them in the standard way.

Regardless if the information is correct or not, you are still going to want to ask the bureau to verify the bankruptcy as they will be unlikely to go about doing it in the right way. Assuming they come back and tell you that it has been verified by one court or another, this is almost always inaccurate as courts rarely verify bankruptcies. With this information on hand, you will want to reach out to the court that has been specified and ask them how they verify bankruptcies. You can call and ask for this information, typically from the clerk of the court. Assuming they explain that they don't verify bankruptcies you will want to get that fact in writing.

When you receive this letter in the mail, you will then want to send it to the bureau that claimed to have verified your bankruptcy in the first place along with a letter explaining what it is and stating that, as the bankruptcy was not actually verified, you want to take it off your record as by not doing so previously, but saying that they did, they are in violated of the FCRA.

Deletion of Negative Public Records (Judgments) 

Ever had your wages garnished?

I did - I fought - I won

I had to pay a settlement, but I got the judgement VACATED from the clerk of court and removed completely from my credit report. 

Garnishments are the worst thing for your credit, you don't want this on your report, and any potential employers will have a serious problem with this. 

I used whatever leverage I could find and wrote a letter to the judge that handled the case and explained in lengthy detail how it all happened, why the creditor was being too harsh and ruthless and what violations I believed that committed. 

The Judge actually ruled in my favor for the second hearing which I could not attend due to work, I gave the letter to the bailiff before the court date.

I still have to pay the court costs but I won. I wasn't even there, and the Creditor's attorney was very upset, apparently he losing the case really made him look bad to the firms' Partners.

Public Records will require serious measures to get vacated or deleted. Keep in mind anything is negotiable if you can find leverage or violation within the Fair Credit Acts. Most of the time they are there, but you have to look very hard.

In addition, getting creditors to vacate or delete a public judgment can be accomplished with settlements and negotiations while leveraging the Fair Credit Acts. Where there is a will there is a way. Do you think attorneys give up when the odds are stacked against their case? No way, they find loopholes and any leverage they can find - I would suggest your view defending your credit report the same way, only the consumer laws are MORE biased for you.  

How To Remove Credit Inquiries From Your Credit Report

The Basics

Hard credit inquiries will automatically be removed from your credit report after two years. If you don't want to wait that long, you can take the following steps to remove them in a timely fashion.

Step 1: The first thing you are going to want to do is order your credit reports and check the inquiry section, which is generally near the bottom of the report. It is important to remember that soft inquiries , such as those that lead you to be pre-approved for offers or services will not affect your credit rating in most cases. As such are you going to want to focus on those inquiries by organizations that will actually grant you credit instead. You will ideally recognize the names of these organizations, but now and then you might come across those that are a mystery to you as well.

Step 2: Once you know what you are looking for, the next thing you are going to want to do is to find the address of each of the creditors. This information will be listed on an Experian credit report but not on Equifax or TransUnion. If the creditor doesn't show up on the Experience credit report but they do show up on the others the easiest way to get the address of the creditor is to call the credit bureau and ask for it. It is unlikely you will be able to get in touch with a live person from TransUnion, though Equifax list an 800 number on all of their reports.

Step 3: Once you have the address in hand, the next hing you will need to do is prepare a letter asking each creditor to remove their inquiry. The FCRA ensures that only authorized inquiries will show up your credit report which means in order to get them removed you need to challenge whether the creditor in question has authorization to pull your details. You should also send a letter to the credit bureau in question and ask that they remove the inquiry. The sample credit repair letter is below:




(Credit Bureau Name/Creditor Name)

Re: Unauthorized Credit Request

Dear (Credit Bureau Name/Creditor Name),

I recently received my (credit bureau name) credit report and I saw there was a credit inquiry from (Creditor Name) that I believe is unauthorized. I did not authorize this credit inquiry prior to it taking place which means it should not show up on my credit history. I am writing this letter to ask that you remove it from my file, as well as instigate an investigation into (Creditor Name) to determine the details behind this inquiry. When this inquiry has been completed I ask that you take the necessary steps to remove it from my file ASAP. Furthermore, I ask that you send me the documentation that will let me know that will let me know that this inquiry has been removed. If you find that this inquiry was authorized, I ask you that you send me proof of the authorization as well.

Thank you for your time.


(Include credit report in question)

Step 4: Sometimes the credit bureau or creditor will just remove the inquiry without doing a full inquiry, which should be your goal. Other times they will do their due diligence and return to you the documentation that you signed giving the creditor access to your credit report. When you receive this documentation, it is important that you read it over carefully and look for any ambiguity in the wording , possibly even taking it to a lawyer depending on how badly you want the inquiry removed.

If you find some wiggle room, be sure to write back to the bureau and argue your case. Alternatively, you may argue that the form was too difficult for the layman to understand. You can also threaten to contact the Banking Commission and file a complaint about the authorization form if it is not removed from your credit report.

Creditors will frequently ignore these requests which is why it is important to send every letter via Certified Mail and keep any receipts you receive. If the creditor does not respond in 30 days you can then call and demand action or take legal action. If they don't respond, whether or not you authorized the inquiry becomes functionally irrelevant because they have not responded to the dispute. Always hold your ground and demand that the inquiry be removed ASAP and make it clear that you will take the issue to the authorities if they do not comply. Keep in mind that every inquiry you have removed early will increase your credit score by several points.

Secret Inquiry Removal Strategies 

Mail Certified Letters to the Creditor 

This is the most effective strategy as the Creditor is the one actually reporting the negative information or responsible for the credit inquiry on your report. 

Mail Certified Letters to the Repositories (Credit Bureaus)

This is not effective anymore because the bureau will just send you a letter back that it is up to the Creditor to delete or remove inquiries. By law you can request the credit Bureau do an investigation but all they generally do is call the Creditor and verify if the inquiry was made.

Make sure you reference the Fair Credit Reporting Acts in the letters and state that the inquiry in question is invalid, unauthorized and you want it deleted immediately.

Both creditor and credit bureau only have 30 days to respond to your dispute, if they do not respond within the 30 day limit, they have to remove the inquiry by law; however, some states have recently changed this law and removed the 30 day requirement for Bureau and Creditor, unfortunately. Please be sure to check your States laws regarding the 30 day limit (a Google search will work). 

When I was removing my inquires, 2 out of 12 did not respond in the 30 day limit, and they were Credit bureaus not creditors, so I sent them the certified mail return receipts and proof and they had no choice but to remove the inquiries.

Why Send Certified Mail?

Because you will stand out and get attention, hardly anyone sends postal mail anymore. When removing over a dozen inquiries in a month, I used certified USPS mail and I send letters to the Credit Bureaus, creditor and creditor company OWNER, which can be found by doing some research into online corporate records.

Here is a little secret most people don't know Creditors almost always break the Fair Credit Acts because they are so vast and complex, it is nearly impossible to adhere to all the Acts, and most court actions end in favor of the Debtor, if the Debtor challenges them, shows up and uses the Consumer laws to their rightful advantage.

If you persistent and push your claim, you have a high chance of succeeding. But, most people DO NOT do this or they hire a credit agency to do it for them which is another viable option.

You Have An Unfair Advantage With The Consumer Credit Laws - Use Them

Consumer Credit Laws

The Fair Credit Acts

When you are going about trying to fix your credit, it can often feel as though the deck is stacked against you, however, the truth of the matter is that there are several laws that can help you to even the odds when it comes to dealing with both creditors and credit bureaus.

FCRA: The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) does more than just provide you with a free credit report each year, it also regulates the various credit reporting organizations and helps to ensure that the information they gather on you is both accurate and fair. This means that if you see inaccurate information on your credit report, and report it to the relevant agency, they are legally required to look into the matter and resolve it, typically within 30 days. The same applies to agencies or organizations that generally add details to your credit report. Finally, if an organization that reviews your credit report decides to charge you more or declines to do business with you based on what they find in your report, they are legally obligation to let you know why and what report they found the negative information in.

While this won't help you with that particular lender, if the information is inaccurate you will at least know where to go to clear up the issue. Additionally, if you report an inaccuracy and the credit reporting agency ignores your request you can use them to recover the damages or a minimum of $2,500. You may also be able to win an additional amount based on punitive damages and legal fees and other associated costs. You must file legal proceedings within 5 years of when this occurs. 

Fair Credit Billing Act: This federal law is part of what is known as the Truth in Lending Act. Its purpose is to provide safeguards to consumers when it comes to unfair billing and make it clear how any errors must be corrected. This law is useful if you are charged for things you didn't purchase, are charged for inaccurate amount for products or services you didn't receive and items you paid for, payments made aren't reflected in amounts owed or if your statements are sent to an inaccurate address.

To take advantage of this law, the first thing you need to do is send a physical letter to the billing inquiries address that the creditor provides. You need to ensure the creditor receives your letter within 60 days from the date the error shows up on your statement. Some creditors allow for disputes to be handled online but utilizing this option can nullify your rights through this law so it's not recommended. The creditor will then have 30 days to acknowledge they received your letter and 90 days to either correct the mistake or tell you why they think it is valid. If they turn down your request you are then allowed to ask for all the documentation saying why they turned you down.

A subset of this law is what is known as the Hidden Gem Law, this means you can dispute any transaction made within 100 miles of your home, or anywhere in your home state, which exceeds $50. As long as you make a good fair effort to dispute the transaction, and return the item of stop using the services, then the company will likely refund the transaction.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: This is another law that benefits consumers when it comes to debt collector actions. This includes not only debt collection agencies but also their attorneys. The law prevents debt collection agencies from contacting you if you have requested that the debt be validated, contacting you instead of your attorney (if applicable) calling before 8 am or 9 pm, contact you at work, calling constantly, reporting false information to credit bureaus, embarrassing you in an effort to collect the debt, adding your name to a list of debtors, threatening legal action they can't actually follow through on, misrepresentation or contracting you after you have sent a letter requesting that they stop of saying that you will not pay the debt in question.

If the debt collector breaks these rules or acts in other ways they are not allowed then you can file a private lawsuit and be recouped costs, fees and damages. What's more, you don't even need to prove damages and you will likely be awarded a minimum of $1,000.

How The Fair Credit Acts Protect You

The FCRA is a complicated law that bears looking into a little more deeply. Likewise, just because it protects you in a wide variety of ways doesn't mean the credit reporting agency or creditors are always going to follow it the way they should. What follows are several common ways the FCRA is violated on a regular basis. If you feel as though your rights have been violated in any of these ways refer to the above. 

Reporting or furnishing old information: while credit bureaus and creditors are required to keep your details as up to date as possible, you will frequently find that they fail to do so in several key ways. They will frequently fail to report that a given debt was discharged because bankruptcy was filed, that an old debt is either re-engaged or completely new, report that a closed account is active when it has actually been closed or keep information that is older than seven years (ten for bankruptcies) on your credit report. If you report these errors they are legally required to look into them within 30 days.

Reporting blatantly inaccurate information: Creditors are not allowed to provide information to credit bureaus that they know, or should know, is inaccurate. This includes classifying a debt as a charged off when it was really paid in full, altering balances due, reporting a timely payment as late, listing you as the debtor when you were only an authorized user on a specific account and failing to mention when identify fraud was suspected or confirmed for a given account. Again, if you report these errors they are legally required to look into them.

Mixing up files: While it may seem surprising, credit reporting agencies frequently mix up files on individuals, potentially harming your credit score for someone else's mistakes. These issues can arise between individuals who have similar social security numbers, if you are a Junior or a Senior and the issues is with the other person's credit, mixing up details when names are similar or even mixing up details for two people with the same zip code. 

Valuations of debt dispute with credit reporting agencies: As previously discussed, credit reporting agencies have to follow strict rules when it comes to handling disputes; nevertheless, there are frequently issues with the ways they follow through on the process. This includes failing to notify you that a dispute has been received, failing to conduct an investigation into the dispute in a timely fashion and failing to correct disputes in a timely fashion.

Creditor debt dispute violations: The FCRA also has strict rules when it comes to how creditors must handle disputes, which are frequently disregarded. These violations include thins like not notifying credit reporting agencies that a debt is being disputed, not submitting correct information after the debt has been successfully disputed, not conducting internal investigations into the dispute once they have been notified of the error, making it difficult to submit disputes and not informing you of the results of the investigation into the disputes within five days after it has been completed. 

Inaccurate credit report request: Just because certain individuals are allowed to see your credit report doesn't mean they are allowed to do so at all times. The FCRA ensures that your credit report can't be accessed in order to determine if you are worth filing a lawsuit against, can't be accessed by employers without express permission, and can't be accessed by previous creditors related to debt that have been discharged for bankruptcy just to see what your current financial activity is.