Credit Repair: Introduction

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I was having lunch with my friend Sarah recently and we were talking about the bleak housing market for those of us looking to buy homes in the Bay Area. Of course, the Bay Area is one of the most unbelievably expensive real estate markets in the country, but the housing slump has affected people all around the country — both those with mortgages that are becoming harder or impossible to pay, and those wanting to buy homes who can’t get mortgages or who are priced out of the market.

Sarah and I laughed when we realized that we’d both been working on cleaning up our credit reports since, as she put it, “What else is there to do right now?” We know we’re not buying in the short term, so we’re both socking away money for a down payment, and trying to fix up our credit reports.

It turns out that we both had found errors in our reports and that we both were wondering how to get them fixed. That’s no surprise, though — according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, as many as 79% of consumer credit reports contain errors or mistakes. Yikes. Considering how much your credit score can affect your ability to get a mortgage, and the interest rate you pay if you can get one, that means that 4 out of 5 people could improve their housing prospects, among many other credit-related expenses, just by correcting inaccuracies in their credit report.

So, I’ve decided to document my credit repair process, what steps I take, how hard it is to accomplish, and what the end result is. I’m going to talk about the resources available to consumers — web sites, books, and whatever else I can find — and which ones work for me and which don’t. I’ll break the process up into pieces so that each post is short and focused on one resource or step.

If you’ve been through this process before and have lived to tell us your stories about it, or have suggestions or questions you want addressed, leave a comment here or write me at “marc at wesabe dot com” and I’ll cover as much of this feedback as I can.

7 Responses to “Credit Repair: Introduction”

  1. Hensley Says:

    I successfully removed an error on my credit report. In 2003 I noticed a collection on my credit report and found out it was the cable company from my college years that claimed I hadn’t paid my last bill. I graduated in 2001. Luckily, my bank at the time still sent me my canceled checks so I had record that they cashed checks dated right around graduation and a few months after. This was my proof that they had indeed received payment. I made copies of the checks and prepared a letter as advised by the collection agency. Problem is that I forgot about it and never got a response to my letter.

    Fast forward to March of this year after requesting an Equifax score report. The same collection is on my credit report. I call back and indicate that I had sent a letter and I filed a request for correction with Equifax. The agency, NCO, acknowledges that they received the letter and tell me the account is deleted. I right down the date and the name of the rep I spoke to. A few weeks later I get a cryptic letter from Equifax that says, “Equifax has verified that this item has been reported correctly.” I’m not sure if they are saying I am right or NCO is right. I call NCO and

  2. Hensley Says:

    Apologies…accidentally hit send…..

    NCO verifies that they sent notice to Equifax and the other two credit bureaus to delete the account. The notice was sent the day before the Equifax letter was sent to me so they just crossed in the mail. This does remind me though to check and ensure that this taken care of for good.

    I keep a file with all credit related issues and keep notes on my correspondence.

    I have another story about a dispute with cingular that I won, but I can save that for another time.

    Hensley

  3. David Knight Says:

    I think that this is a great idea and will be very helpful to many people, but that 79% number sounds much too large to be accurate, the source linked in the wikipedia article is not available. Even if it is accurate I know from personal experience that not all those mistakes are negative. If 79% is an accurate number then surely the system needs greater oversight and reform.

  4. Marc Hedlund Says:

    Good point, David — I’ll make looking into that number one of the posts.

  5. Debbie Says:

    Hensley,

    Your story is such a good reminder to keep detailed notes anytime you call customer service… just yesterday I received a membership fee bill for a Delta Am Ex card I cancelled a year ago. I didn’t have any record of when I called or who I spoke with, so I had to start all over (it wasn’t too big of a pain, but still….)

  6. Gina Says:

    I went through a credit repair/restoration company that my mortgage broker told me about, Aces Credit Solutions. I was skeptical at first but so far I’m pretty excited about them. My scores went up almost 80 points and I did just get approved for our home loan which we were originally turned down for. I know there are some shady dealers out there but I was pretty happy with the service and the results that I got with Aces Credit. Just an FYI

  7. Gina Says:

    Sorry, their website is http://www.acescredit.com

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