When a person is in debt or facing mounting financial problems, it is tempting to turn to Google and sign up for the first credit repair company that pops out of the search box. But you should ask yourself three basic questions before you sign up, because there are a lot of unscrupulous vendors who are happy to make a dime out of desperate customers. And there are a lot of such companies, don’t fall victim to one of these scams!
1. Can I trust this credit repair company?
There are a number of markers that need to be checked before you do business with any credit repair service or company. Verify that the company has a phone, email address and physical location. You may not be able to visit the actual address of the company, but calling the telephone number or emailing them will help to determine that the company is real.
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You will be handing over a lot of highly sensitive financial information, account details, and personal data. You also need to know that the data your sending out is properly secured. Look for the ‘https’ at the beginning of the vendor’s website address which means that it is secured by secure encryption. If you find it, you will have some assurance that your data is private.
2. Will they really help me to get my finances under control?
Once you are satisfied that the company is legitimate, you need to look at the website for more information on exactly what skills the team has. It is also important to know how they are going to manage your debts. A successful credit repair company should work hard to win your business.
For any individual debt-related case, there are many details that need to be worked out. However, for prospective customers, many companies provide a FAQ or knowledge-based system that can be searched, so look there for information that will help you understand the typical process.
For example, do they pull your credit card reports from all the ratings companies? Do they examine the reports for negative items and help you deal with them? Negative items may include late or overdue repayments, automobile repossessions, mortgage foreclosures, tax liens, and more. Will they dispute credit items or fraudulent charges for you? Do they identify mistakes and credit report issues that affect your overall credit score?
Many companies can also be searched via the Better Business Bureau where you can find ratings for many companies in this industry. On Google, Facebook, Yelp, you may also find reviews from previous clients as well. Identify themes and common experiences among all the feedback, especially the quality of the customer service.
3. How affordable is a credit repair company really?
Whatever services a credit repair company can provide, you need to determine the fee structure and how it applies to your situation. Many companies charge an initial fee plus a monthly fee to cover basic credit repair services, updating the health of your credit report, and working to improve your overall credit score. Some provide additional levels of service that cover identity fraud, credit score management, and financial management tools.
The fees will often include specialized services as well, so it may be hard to determine the complete cost of your credit repair service. Too often a website or company will tuck their prices away in hard to find places. Or they may require you to complete an initial application process before revealing the costs.
Of course, the real benefit of hiring any credit repair service is to reduce your overall loan costs, clear up your credit profile, and improve your credit score. All of these will result in cost-savings to you because of the lower interest rates that accompany a better credit record. Now, there are many tasks that people perform for themselves – servicing the car, landscaping, basic legal services – but getting advice and practical help for repairing your credit profile is a financially smart move.
If you’re interested in getting help from a credit repair company, reading up on the whole service is worth doing. If you’ve managed to get a good company to help you, what worked? Did you manage to do it all by yourself without using any credit repair company? How did you do the research?
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