The honest answer? Yes, and no. Credit repair is a great way to improve your credit score, if the problem is caused by a disputable error. If your credit score is poor because of a giant pile of debt — debt that you legitimately owe — then credit repair may not be the right solution. Determining which path to take will be based upon those considerations as well as any other factors that may be unique to your situation — and this is something only you can decide.
Here’s a good example of when a reputable credit repair service can help you do something you may not be able to accomplish yourself. If you have a collection account that’s been sold to a few different debt collectors, it can appear on your credit report multiple times. That information is accurate but having that one debt dinging your credit score multiple times doesn't meet the “fair” standard that Padawer mentioned.
Credit repair companies can help when debt collectors attempt to collect an expired debt you no longer legally owe. Most credit repair companies employ lawyers to assist with these processes. The company’s employees send official cease-and-desist letters to get these collectors to stop contacting you. Negotiating with creditors may help remove inaccurate or out-of-date marks from credit reports, improve credit histories and increase credit scores.
Credit bureaus must send a notice of any corrections made to your report. Sometimes, a deleted dispute can reappear on your credit reports if the lender proves its claim is valid. If you find a derogatory mark reinserted on your credit reports, you can dispute it again. If you believe a credit reporting agency or one of your creditors has violated the FCRA, you should submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Pyramid did not blow us away with the description of their services. Who do they contact to submit disputes? How quickly do they follow up? Which types of circumstances do they help with? Most of their competitors offer lengthy lists of exactly which types of disputes they draft and what to expect from the service; Pyramid's answers were vague at best.
If you've already used up your free credit reports for this year, you can order your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus for a fee. The bureaus all offer a three-in-one credit report that lists all three of your credit reports side-by-side. The three-in-one credit report costs more than a single credit report, but less than the combined price of purchasing your three individual credit reports.
In order to analyze credit files, identify credit reporting errors, and evaluate credit scoring, credit repair advisors must be highly trained and have some level of experience. To understand the credit scoring models and how they differ from each other, one can review the most popular credit scoring model, FICO. Known as Fair Isaac and Company, FICO can help you understand the complexities of credit scoring and the credit scoring process, including identifying potential inaccuracies, duplications, merged files, unverifiable data, and outdated data.
While we did find quite a few customer reviews that said their credit scores improved reliably over time using the Credit Repair service, it's hard to recommend a business that has an "F" grade at the BBB because they didn't take the time to prove that their advertised claims were legitimate. If those facts are accurate, it should be a simple process to report them and clear up the concern at the BBB. If that happens in the future, Credit Repair will probably move up in the rankings among the services we reviewed; until then, we suggest you look at some of the higher-rated companies for your credit history improvement plan.
With what they charge, is Lexington Law effective at helping people improve their credit history? As you'd expect with such a large business, the reviews are mixed. Most credit repair services are criticized for not making noticeable improvements in less than two months, but that's to be expected. But, Lexington seems to have a higher-than-average number of people who say that they didn't get prompt responses from company reps, not just that their reports didn't improve quickly. On the other hand, we found numerous people saying that their credit scores improved dramatically as they stayed with the service, usually for six months on average.
Of course, if keeping accounts open and having credit available could trigger additional spending and debt, it might be more beneficial to close the accounts. Only you know all the ins and outs of your financial situation, and like thumbprints, they're different for each person. Make sure you carefully evaluate your situation; only you know what can work best for your financial outlook.