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Credit Repair: Should You Do It Yourself?

Recently a friend of mine was worried about his credit score. He asked me if I thought he should hire a professional to do credit repair for him. I told him he could go ahead and do that if he wanted, but I wouldn?t do it if I were in his place. I suppose it?s because I had a troublesome experience with one credit repair firm. I was paying them for months and they kept telling me over and over that their team of lawyers was going to reach a settlement with the credit reporting agencies and clear up my credit report. Eventually they did clear up a lot of negative items, but thinking back on it, I may have done just as good a job on my own. It?s hard to say, of course. But I think that before you pay for credit repair, you should go ahead and try it on your own first. To me, that makes the best financial sense.

What you should do is get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major US credit reporting agencies--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can get a free report from each of them once every 12 months. That?s the truth--the law says so. You can order your free report from all three agencies at the website www.annualcreditreport.com.

By the way, I suggest that you do not sign up at www.freecreditreport.com! That is a completely different site and its name is misleading, it does offer a free trial but if you forget to opt out, you may end up paying a fee. I?m not calling it a scam, I suppose they do offer legitimate services, but I think they have gone about it the wrong way by using such a misleading website name to get people to sign up for a paid service.

All right, back to our topic. Once you have your credit reports, go over them carefully. Note down the negative items you wish to dispute--personally, I would dispute all of them, even the ones you recognize. Call the credit reporting agencies, or write them dispute letters. Do not make any false statements in your communications! In fact, don?t even claim that an account isn?t yours. Just tell them you want the account verified, and if that is not possible, then removed from your report.

Disputing items will not cost you anything except time, and I suppose the cost of some phone calls or postage stamps. That is certainly less than what you would have to pay a credit repair firm.


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