This topic is a really hot one right now. People are falling victim to
so many scam artists out there who are taking people's money and
offering false hope. There ARE legitimate credit restoration companies
out there. But that is the key right there; restoration versus repair.
Notice that I am not advertising any particular company. I am not
writing this to advertise one company over another. I am only
interested in protecting people from fraud and getting the word out
that there are, indeed LEGITIMATE credit restoration companies.
Generally speaking, credit repair is a scam and credit restoration is
legit. Does this mean all credit repair offers are scams and all
credit restoration offers are legit? NO! It is up to you to do the
research. If you can't do the bare minimum to protect yourself, then
don't come crying to me if you are taken for all of your money. But,
to help you determine the scams from the legits, here are 10 tips on
how to tell the difference:
1: If they advertise that they will repair your credit in anything
less than 18 months, you are not dealing with a legal company. The LAW
requires that any credit restoration agency cannot advertise or
represent that they can restore or repair your credit in less than 18
months. (Remember this number, it is going to come up again later.)
2: Check on how long the company has been in business. If they have
been around for more than 10 years, you are probably dealing with a
reputable company. (Honestly, there are really only three that are
recognised as legitimate in the United States.)
3: Do your due dilligence. Check with the BBB. The BBB will provide
an unbiased report of how many complaints have been filed against the
company in the previous three years. There are two things that you
want to consider here. First, if there are more than a dozen
complaints over the previous three year period, then this company has
serious issues and you should be concerned. Also, if the BBB has no
file at all on the business, just walk away from the business. Anyone
who is hiding from the BBB should be looked upon with suspicion.
4: Ask for pricing when talking to one of their reps. If they hem and
haw about what they charge, or say that it depends on how much they
have to remove from your report, they are hiding something from you. A
good rule of thumb, if the rep is unwilling to answer any question of
yours up front and with honesty, you are not dealing with a legitimate
company. This does not mean that if the rep states that they will
answer the question in a moment, that they are hiding something. It
just means that they are getting there and just need to lay a little
groundwork first. Remember, reps are all salespersons. They are there
to sell you their service. This is good, believe it or not. This
encourages competition in the business and keeps costs down. (Which
reminds me: DON'T PAY MORE THAN $1000 PER PERSON FOR THE SERVICE.)
5: Ask if the company is licensed, bonded and insurred. Ask for
proof. If they will not show you their business license (which can
only be obtained AFTER they have purchased their bond and insurance)
this should raise alarm bells.
6: Ask for examples of successes the company has had. A legitimate
company will have copies of investigation results (with personal
information blacked out of course) that will show you how successful
they can be.
7: How long are they going to work for you? Yes, that's right,
remember that these companies work FOR you. If they are just going to
maintain a business relationship with you for the length of time it
takes to repair your credit, beware. What often happens in these cases
is that after the company has cleared negative information from your
credit report they sever their relationship with you and a couple of
months later the information returns to your credit report. Now what
are you going to do? Your options are to leave the negative
information and suffer for 7-10 years or hire someone, again, to remove
the information, again. A reputable company will stay with you for the
FULL 18 months (I told you this number would come up again). This
allows them to continuously monitor your credit reports and remove any
negative that may re-insert itself after the initial sanitizing.
8: What other services do they offer? If they are a legitimate
company, they will have rescources that will help you to re-establish
yourself in the financial world. Things like the ability to help
obtain a debit card even if you can't open a checking or savings
account. (Yes, believe it or not, it can be done!) Can you call their
credit advisors any time for advice? Is legal representation available
if you have to go to court against the credit reporting agencies? ASK!
If the company is letgitimate, they will have a team of lawyers that
will handle these kinds of legal matters for the duration of your
9: Does their contract advise you of your rights? If not, why?
Because they don't know the laws! And if they don't know the laws that
are designed to protect you, how can you expect them to know the
complexities of the Fair Credit Reporting Act which has 340 different
10: Is there a money back guarantee? In this business refunds are
usually prorated. In other words, if you have 50 negative things on
your reports and they can only have 30 removed, you are refunded 40% of
your money since they were able to get 60% of the information removed.
If there is no money back offer, run away! A company that has faith in
their services will offer to refund the money if they can't do the
I hope this information helps people out there who are confused about
credit restoration programs.
You may feel free to email me any questions or concerns you may have
about credit reporting agencies. I am a professional credit advisor
and will NOT lead you astray as many people on both sides of the issue
will try to do.