5. Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who can request information about my credit file?
A. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a credit reporting company may only disclose your credit report if someone
- Granting credit, reviewing your account, or collecting on your account.
- Reviewing you for employment purposes.
- Reviewing your application for insurance.
- Reviewing your eligibility for a license or government-related benefits.
- Providing information for a business transaction, such as renting an apartment.
- A court order.
- An IRS subpoena.
- Someone to whom you have given written permission.
Q. How often are mistakes entered into my credit file?
A. Frequently! Some experts say a significant number of credit reports contain errors! These are inaccurate, erroneous, or obsolete information that can cost you the credit you deserve.
Q. Who will remove items from my credit report?
A. Only the credit reporting agencies have the power to remove items from your credit report. But, as required by law, the credit reporting agencies must correct or remove inaccurate, erroneous, or obsolete information.
Q. How can I add positive data to my credit report?
A. Since the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not require creditors to report information about you, many do not. That means positive information may not be reported. As long as the positive information is verified, it can be added to your credit report.
Q. How long does the restoration process take?
A. It may take 3 to 12 months due to the credit reporting agencies’ continuing mistakes and delaying tactics.
Q. Can a hired third party demand that information be removed from a credit report which I have gotten from a merchant?
A. On your behalf, a hired third party can request that a credit reporting agency remove inaccurate, erroneous, or obsolete information from your credit report which can only be obtained by you directly from the three main credit reporting agencies. Second-hand information, such as that obtained from a merchant, is not considered a report directly obtained from one of the three main credit reporting agencies.
Q. Should I apply for credit while in the restoration process?
A. Do not apply for credit during the restoration period. Each time you apply for credit, an inquiry is recorded on your record and too many inquiries can be a cause for denial of credit.
Q. Can I speed up the process by directly contacting the credit reporting agencies?
A. No, it is best to let your hired third party communicate with the credit reporting agencies on your behalf. If you do receive a request from the credit reporting agencies, and forward any mailing directly to them.
Q. Are credit reports all the same?
A. No. Each of the three credit reporting agencies’ reports look different and may not contain the same information. The companies maintain their own databases and do not often share information.
Q. I have been refused credit. Can I do something about it?
A. Absolutely! A significant number of Americans have some “blemish” on their credit reports. Due to the nature of the credit reporting industry, those blemishes can be mistakenly included on your record. Frequently, credit reports contain inaccurate, erroneous or obsolete entries. Under the law the credit reporting companies must remove inaccurate, erroneous or obsolete information. You should check your credit report and see why you were, or may be, denied credit. You can do something to correct the mistakes and have your report corrected.
Q. Are “credit reporting agencies” a part of the government?
A. No. Credit reporting companies are just that - companies. They are in business to make money, just like the mega-billion-dollar banks that run the credit card businesses. The credit reporting business is a multi-billion dollar industry. They generate their income by selling credit reports to creditors.
Q. Is it illegal or immoral to have your credit profile improved?
A. No. It is not illegal or immoral to eliminate mistakes on your credit reports. In fact, the Federal Government, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681e, protects your right to do so.
Q. How does the credit reporting system work?
A. Today, the credit reporting system is literally millions of computer files about individual consumers which are maintained by the three credit reporting agencies. The files contain personal information about you - how much you owe, how you have paid your debts, your employer, your social security number, public records, etc.
Q. How does information about me get into my credit report?
A. When you agree to accept credit from a bank, most retail stores, etc., or fill out an employment application - if a credit report is used as a background check - you give the creditor the right to provide information to any credit reporting company. Additional information about you comes from public records, such as court records, debt collection companies, and even the utility companies.
Q. How do the credit reporting agencies work?
A. The banks, retail stores, utility companies, etc. report your payment record to the credit reporting companies each month. The credit reporting companies then give that information to a second tier of regional reporting companies who sell it to retailers and banks or anyone who legitimately requests information about you.
Q. Why should I care what is in my credit file?
A. You’d better care. It is your credit report that creditors use to determine if they will extend credit to you. If you have inaccurate information on your report, you may be turned down for the loan you need or pay unnecessarily high interest rates.
Q. Why do the credit reporting agencies have separate reports for husband and wife?
A. The credit reporting agencies collect information based on individual social security numbers. Only by checking both the wife’s and husband’s credit reports can we ensure accuracy.
Q. Do the credit reporting agencies own the information on your credit report?
A. No. But, you do not own the information either. It is owned by the individual merchant or creditor who put it there.
Q. Does paying a past due debt remove the debt from your credit report?
A. Paying an old debt does not erase the fact that at one time you were not paying it as you agreed, but it is possible to update your payment history.
Q. What happens if new, negative information - information that was not on my original report - is added to my report after a hired third party has begun work on my behalf?
A. This can happen, your credit is what you do. No one person can prevent you or a company you have dealings with from making an error. The training you get to show you how to spot the errors from here on. You might want to ask your hired third party to work on the information in your credit report as long as you remain a customer.
Q. Must we fill out separate Customer Agreement forms with a hired third party even though we are married?
A. Yes. Each individual must be enrolled separately.
Q. How do I get my credit reports to a hired third party?
A. You may mail them or deliver them in person. The third party can not request credit be delivered to them directly.
Q. How will I know the results following the credit reporting agencies review of my file?
A. You will be the first to know because the credit reporting agencies will write directly to you. You must them forward the third part agent you are working with.
Q. There are marketing materials that refer to the Credit Reporting Agency as being able to remove or amend items such as: bankruptcies, foreclosures, charge offs, tax liens, collections, and late or past due payments. How do they accomplish this if the item being reported did in fact happen?
A. If an item appears on someone’s credit report, and it is accurate and verifiable, then the credit reporting agencies cannot, and should not, remove it. Your third party is there to help you get the inaccurate, erroneous or obsolete items corrected or removed. However, there is a due diligence method of verification that all creditors must follow. If credit is reported in an incorrect manner, that is considered erroneous.
Q. Once a credit reporting agency has removed an item from a customer’s credit report, can it be reinserted?
A. Credit reporting agencies are often reinserting items that they have previously removed from a consumer’s credit report. According to the FCRA, one of the requirements for reinsertion of items is that a consumer must be notified within five days when an item is reinserted. Most consumers are not made aware when these items are reinserted at all, let alone in five days. That’s one of the benefits to our customers when signing up for our service for a year. They find out when items are reinserted, and then we can have the credit reporting agencies verify that the item is in fact accurate, and that they followed the FCRA requirements for reinsertion.
Q. What is the definition of improper negative credit?
A. Some examples of “improper,” or better stated “inaccurate,” items on a consumer’s credit report are items that either are 1) erroneous — don’t belong to the consumer, 2) display inaccurate information about the item, i.e. payment history or dates, or 3) obsolete — have exceeded the reporting timeline for that item.
Q. What is the definition of “clearing up” a consumer’s credit report or improving their credit profile?
A. When you have inaccurate, erroneous and obsolete items identified and/or corrected on their credit report and go through the proper channels to provide a more accurate credit profile for both you and any new lenders. Clearing up Correct information is against what the Fair Credit Reporting Act is in place for. You should not attempt to clear up correct information. You should only dispute information that is believed to be inaccurate, obsolete, or erroneous.
Q. What sort of things does your program do to force a repository to follow the FCRA and remove an item on behalf of a consumer?
A. The unique credit repair procedure we use to help customers correct their credit report is available with the purchase of our software package. All the forms and tactics used are available throughout the web, but the credit agencies have done their job to make sure they are well hidden, scattered, and not easily understood. We simplify that research and process for you for a very minimal cost.
Q. How is the service provided by a third party for consumer dispute resolution different or better than the current processes being offered by the various Credit Reporting Agencies?
A. The best analogy that we can offer is, if you have a tax problem, would you call the IRS or would you find and hire a qualified tax accountant? Most people do not have the time or the resources to fully understand the FCRA, nor do they want to. Using a third party ensures that you have received the proper information offered to them through the FCRA. The credit reporting agencies are advocates for their customers, financial and lending institutions, which by itself is not a bad thing. We are advocates for our customers, and their consumer rights.
Q. How would a mortgage broker or lender feel about the added unknown risk of lending their money to an individual whose credit report has been altered to possibly reflect an inaccurate profile?
A. We’re sure they would not feel very good about this because, in this scenario, someone has committed fraud. Everyone needs to understand that if you have an item removed or changed on your credit report, it was removed or changed by the credit reporting agencies, and they removed or changed the item because it was decided to be inaccurate, erroneous or obsolete. Anyone using the Credit Detailer system can help determine if their credit is truly inaccurate, and then re-entering the credit world with a more accurate profile, not a less accurate profile. This benefits everyone, our customers and their lenders. Investors should feel better about the services we provide because they would be looking at a more accurate picture of a consumer’s credit worthiness, and they could then extend credit to a good customer who may otherwise have been denied.
Q. How would a mortgage broker feel, knowing that a major derogatory item, like a bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc., has been removed from a credit file, just because it could be, and yet not disclosed to the lender?
A. Whenever we are asked, our answer to our customers is that they must disclose everything. Remember, when customers complete your service, they are able to provide a more accurate credit profile, not an incomplete profile. Keep in mind that the FCRA was originally conceived, written, and ultimately signed into law for a reason: to provide consumers rights under the law, to protect them from inaccurate, erroneous, and obsolete information provided by credit reporting agencies.
It is our goal to have the credit reporting agencies provide the most accurate credit profile of a consumer applying for credit, to enable lenders to make the best decisions, and that is the service we provide with our system. There seems to be a “myth” about our credit repair services — that we are trying to ”hide” derogatory items for customers, or artificially make someone’s credit report look better. All we do is work with the credit reporting agencies to abide by the law. If every credit reporting agency completely abided by the FCRA. Perhaps there should be some discussions on how credit reporting agencies can better comply with the FCRA. This would do more to further the goal of more accurate credit reporting than trying to substantiate the myths about the services we provide