“A good credit repair company will scrub questionable credit report items against other laws—like the Fair Credit Billing Act, which regulates original creditors; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which oversees collection agencies; and others that address medical illness, military service, student status and other life events,” Padawer said.
There are no overnight fixes when it comes to your credit, and repair is no exception. Depending on the type, and number, of items on your report you wish to dispute, repair can take anywhere from six weeks to more than a year. No credit repair agency can give you a “30-day guarantee” to solve all of your problems — not only is it unlikely, it’s illegal.
After you download your credit reports, it takes several hours to review them for errors. Then, you must gather documentation and draft dispute letters, which could take up to a week or more if you aren’t already familiar with your records. Depending on the item and the reason it's in your credit history, this could involve writing a short letter or performing significant amounts of research.
You have the right to dispute any information in your credit report that's inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can't be verified. When you order your credit report, you'll receive instructions on how to dispute credit report information. Credit reports ordered online typically come with instructions for making disputes online, but you can also make disputes over the phone and through the mail.
Some of your creditors and lenders might report only to one of the credit bureaus. And, since credit bureaus don’t typically share information, it’s possible to have different information on each of your reports. Ordering all three reports will give you a complete view of your credit history and let you repair your credit at all three bureaus instead of just one.
How much you spend on credit repair depends on how involved you want to be in the process. If you hire a credit repair company, expect to pay a setup fee of up to $100 and monthly service fees of up to $150 for as long as six months. If you invest the time to repair your credit on your own, the credit repair process is free. Credit repair software that costs between $30 and $400 can help you draft letters to creditors and credit bureaus.
"Was really pleased with the service that I received. I worked with them for a period of 4 months and my score improved well over 100 points. They eliminated a lot of outdated and incorrect information that was hurting my score. The process was really easy and efficient! I highly recommend Credit Glory for anyone who needs help repairing their credit and raising their score! "
"So far my experience with CreditRepair.com resulted in positive results. They have been working non-stop to help me repair my credit scores. I have hopes that in a few short months my score will continue to increase (which it has been steadily thanks to CreditRepair.com) so I will be able to start looking for my new home before the end of the year."
"My experience was initially great until I had a medical emergency and had to cancel my account. I cancelled my account and was told that the following payment would still be drafted of $89. As of the date that I cancelled I was unable to access my account although I was being charged another $89. I would not recommend any company that does not have a fair cancellation policy. I cancelled my account with Equifax and was still able to access my account and was not charged any extra fees."
Scoring models consider how much you owe and across how many different accounts. If you have debt across a large number of accounts, it may be beneficial to pay off some of the accounts, if you can. Paying down your debt is the goal of many who've accrued debt in the past, but even after you pay the balance down to zero, consider keeping that account open. Keeping paid-off accounts open can be a plus in your overall credit mix since they're aged accounts in good (paid-off) standing. You may also consider debt consolidation.