If you’re anything like me then you probably didn’t give a hoot about your credit until it came time to buy something big. A house, a car, basically something that involves payments. It becomes pretty obvious once the lender looks at your scores that bad credit can cost you big time.
While you can certainly improve your credit on you own many turn to credit repair services to help them out. There are many scammers out there and this article will give you some pointers on what you should look out for.
What Can a Credit Repair Service Do?
Well first before you consider handing over your money and information to anyone do some research online. The simple fact is that a credit repair firm can not do anything for you legally that you can not do yourself.
Basically what they do is find inaccurate information and dispute it on your behalf. This can save you a great deal of time as they already know the associated laws. The process can take a while and too often people give up or lose interest when they do it on their own.
So the question is why to do people use their services? Well it’s basically like paying anyone else to do something for you, you’re exchanging money for time. If you’ve only got a few inaccurate items it’s probably best to just do it yourself. With a bunch of items though it can be time consuming and a bit of a headache.
What You Should Look For
The first thing I check for is whether the company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau, or BBB. Head over to the BBB website and type in the website address. If the company is accredited they will let you know and they will provide a letter grade A through F. Read through and see if there are any complaints about the company.
Next make sure they do not take your money upfront. While most services will require a credit card and maybe put a hold on it payment should not occur until they have assessed your reports. The time period is usually about 6 days before payment is due. You should have a complete assessment before you’re charged.
Give them a call. It’s always good to be able to contact a real, live person. They should be knowledgeable and polite. If you can’t get in touch with someone that’s a bad sign.
They should have a satisfaction guarantee. No company can promise you a specific outcome but you should be able to get a refund if they don’t live up to your expectations.
If the company has a bad ranking with the BBB or they aren’t recognized at all I would stay away. They are likely out for your money and nothing else.
A professional company should have a professional website. Now it doesn’t have to be fancy but all of the links should work. If you find pages that don’t load or are under construction it’s a bad sign. I found one that had a dead link to the Terms of Service page which is kind of important.
If you can’t talk to a real person be wary, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach them after you give them your money.
The cost should be laid out in very plain terms. There should be no surprises as to how much the service costs.
If the company promises to increase your credit by a certain amount it is a scam. It is impossible to know or predict an exact score change.
Bottom Line: If you feel unsure or uncomfortable with a particular company it’s best to look elsewhere.