Saturday, January 2, 2010

Myths and Bad Advice Regarding Credit Repair - Part 2

Credit bureaus, as stated before, are in the business of making money. So they don't always tell the whole truth about information that is on your reports, especially negative information, and whether or not it can be removed.

First myth. The tradeline has to stay on your credit for 7 to 10 years. This is false. There is no law that says information has to be there at all.

Second myth. You can't remove accurate negative tradelines. This is tricky, but more false than true. This is because of the word "accurate" in that statement. The truth is that more than likely, though most of what is reported may be "accurate", it can be removed because the law says it has to be 100% accurate. It is very, very rare that it is 100% accurate. Little mistakes like the type of account it is can make it not completely correct. Maybe the amount is off by a few dollars. Maybe the date is not exactly right. It doesn't matter. If it's not a charge off, and being reported as one, then it is not 100% correct. If it is a bankruptcy and the amount is $0, well why the heck would you need to file bankruptcy if the amount was $0. That's a very common mistake.

Third myth. You can't remove personal information from your report. This is false. If it's not exactly right, maybe the street name is misspelled or the numbers or correct apartment is not there, or missing, it's inaccurate. Dispute it. Just remember 100% accuracy is required by law.

Fourth myth. They verify the accuracy with the submitting party as required by law. Nope, false again! They verify, but it is not done the way the law says is sufficient. They verify electronically using codes. The info submitter sends a code back saying it is accurate or not. Well, the courts have upheld against all 3 major bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, that electronically verifying is not thorough enough. It's case law. Black's Law Dictionary sums up verification as being Confirmation of correctness, truth, or authenticity, by affidavit, oath, or deposition. This means that the actual person verifying the information as accurate must have first hand knowledge (they don't) willing to state under oath in a court of law, that they know as fact that every bit of information regarding the disputed tradeline is correct. You are the only one who knows first hand everything about the account. Do you think whoever punched in the code back to the bureaus would be able to accurately and honestly testify under oath that the information they have supplied to the bureaus is 100% true? No! They can't and won't, and if forced to, would commit perjury!

Fifth myth. Information removed from your credit report can be re-inserted at a later date. This is true. It sucks, I know. But there is a catch. The law says that if they are going to re-insert something on your credit report, they have to notify you in writing within 5 days. Now, go back to the fourth myth. Supposedly they have verified the information, it just took longer than the 30 days the law gives them. Have they really confirmed the information with someone willing to testify under oath that they have first hand knowledge that what they have just verified is accurate? NOOOOO! If they re-insert and do not notify you, they have violated the law, nothing new. However, that violation is worth $1000 to you. That is the fine that will be imposed on them should you follow through and take them to court. Then, they will have to pay you AND remove the tradeline. Not bad!

Last myth for today. Writing a 100 word statement regarding a negative tradeline is good to do. False. I don't do this because you are kind of admitting that you had an account with whoever. If you don't accept it as being yours, it's easier to dispute. Sure lender's may read it, but it's still a "he said/she said" situation. The tradeline with or without a statement affects your credit score. If it's negative, it's better to keep trying to get it removed than resign yourself to adding a statement. Always remember that like in a court of law, the burden of proof lies on the company or entity that submitted the information. By law, they are supposed to remove what they can't prove.

It is hard to get some of this stuff off. This is because they all think they are above the law. It's "catch me if you can" with them. You need to demand from the bureaus that they give you the name, title and all contact information for the person that verified the information. The law says that if you demand that information from the bureaus they have to supply it to you. But what do they do? They send you a letter stating that they verified electronically. That doesn't meet the burden of proof as required by law. It's a crappy game. So, sometimes, you will have to drag their butts to court. If you prepare and document consistently and take it to court, you can end up getting a monetary judgement against them and have the tradeline removed. Many people have been successful with this. It's not easy, it's not quick, but it does work.

Here's a couple tips for you on your credit repair journey. Dispute with the collectors first - before disputing with the credit bureaus. Always dispute CMRR. Then, when you get the "green card" back saying that the letter was delivered, dispute with the bureaus. This is because the law says when you dispute with the creditor/collector, they have to stop all collection activity until they have validated the debt with you. Verifying with bureaus is considered collection activity. So, if they obey the law, the bureaus will not get a response and will have to remove it.

If you are trying to remove a bankruptcy, don't go after it first. The first steps in that is to dispute and remove the tradelines that are negative that have any association with the bankruptcy. They are not going to remove a bk when there are tradelines stating that it was included in a bk.

Remember also, collectors that report do not have the entire file regarding any account. They buy in bulk and get whatever the creditor forwards to them. They do not have first hand knowledge. They are not a party to the original contract, so they are a voluntary payee and just paid off your account for you at a settled amount. You don't owe them a dime! They took a gamble, stand firm and make them eat their losses!

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