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.
Credit restoration specialists have the experience and expertise to navigate even the most complicated credit situations. For example, a credit repair agency can help victims of identity theft remove derogatory marks on their credit reports that resulted from fraud. However, a legitimate credit repair company can’t remove accurate marks just because they are negative.
"I like that some things are coming off but I don't like the fact that sometimes only one negative item is being challenged at a time. I also don't like that some of the things that are being disputed are not showing as being challenged and show as pending and the rep can't explain why or fix it. I will do this only for a few more months and see if anything changes. I have several family and friends waiting for my feedback before using this service so we will see how it goes."
From there, Credit Repair's experts work with credit companies to implement your plan, and then they verify with the credit bureaus to make sure that those changes actually take effect. You can track your progress through your personal online dashboard and a mobile app, where you'll also see your score tracker and analysis of the changes to your credit profile.
If your debt feels overwhelming, it may be valuable to seek out the services of a reputable credit counseling service. Many are non-profit and charge small or no fees for their services. You can review more information on selecting the right reputable credit counselor for you from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Credit counselors can help you develop a Debt Management Plan (or DMP) and can negotiate to reduce your monthly payments. In many cases, you'll be responsible for only one monthly payment to the credit counseling service, which will then disburse funds to all of the accounts you owe on.
The Credit People offer a simple way to check out their services: pay an initial fee of $19, which includes your credit report (a service often not provided by credit repair services) and see what you think for the next 7 days. If you choose to continue using their credit repair plan, you'll pay a flat fee of $79 per month. The service can be cancelled at any time, and an "Unbeatable Satisfaction Guarantee" allows you to get a refund for one month's service fees (this is assuming you cancel as soon as you're unhappy, not months after the fact).
Unlike some of their competitors, MSI Credit Solutions doesn't expect you to handle any of your disputes or other documents needed to manage your credit repair process. They draft all of the necessary letters and make contact with the credit bureaus, collections agencies, and other creditors on your behalf. And, as part of their credit repair process, they also help you to establish appropriate lines of credit to build your score in a positive direction while removing negative items from your credit history.
eCreditAttorney's pricing is simple: $29 per month. For that fee, your credit repair service should include addressing late payments, collections, bankruptcies, tax liens, repossessions, judgments, foreclosures, charge-offs, garnishment, even identity theft/fraud. You're expected to provide a current copy of your most recent, updated credit report; it's not included with the fees that you pay. Side note: the link provided by eCreditAttorney for their "preferred credit score provider" took us to an invalid page - not very encouraging.
Credit scoring models usually take into account how much you owe compared to how much credit you have available, called your credit utilization rate or your balance-to-limit ratio. Basically it's the sum of all of your revolving debt (such as your credit card balances) divided by the total credit that is available to you (or the total of all your credit limits).