If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from bad credit, then you’re probably looking for a way out. One potential solution you’ve likely heard about is hiring a credit repair company. But is this a legitimate option or is it a scam?
How to Tell if a Credit Repair Company is Legit
There are legitimate credit repair companies and then there are scams. If you’re interested in repairing your credit score and want a professional company to help you along the way, you have to be sure that you’re working with the former and not the latter. Differentiating between the two isn’t always the easiest challenge, but it is possible.
Here are some practical ways you can tell if a credit repair company has your best interests in mind.
- Consider the Referral
Where did you hear about the credit repair company? The referring party can tell you a lot. If you heard about them on a late-night infomercial that used a countdown clock to pressure you into signing an agreement, the company is probably involved in some sort of spammy practice. However, if the company had a write-up in a reputable news publication, then you can feel good about the fact that they probably have a positive reputation.
- Google the Company
The best method for determining if a credit repair company is legitimate is also the easiest. Simply Google their name and browse some of the top results. A real company will have a legitimate website that’s been around for a while. They’ll also show up on review sites and have strong ratings. You can usually Google the search term “is [insert company name] legitimate” and you’ll get some feedback from actual people who have used their services.
- Are They Honest With You?
Anything a credit repair company can do, you can legally do for yourself. If a credit repair company tries to tell you that they are the only ones who can repair your score, they’re lying to you. A legitimate company will always inform you of your right to repair your credit yourself and won’t try to mislead you in this respect.
- Do They Promise Shady Practices?
What is the credit repair company promising you? For starters, you should never work with any company that promises to raise your score a certain number of points. No matter how good a company is, they don’t have this sort of control. It’s also best to stay away from companies that want to delete items from your credit report that you know are legitimate.
An honest credit repair company will simply promise to work hard and improve your credit score according to the rules and stipulations laid out by the law.
- Legal Contract
Did you know that a legitimate credit repair company will always give you a contract to sign before starting services? This contract, which should be signed by both parties, will include:
- The amount of payment required
- A description of the services to be performed
- An estimate of the time it will take to perform services
- A form to provide notice of cancellation
- No requirement to waive your rights
- The ability to revoke a signed contract within three days
If all of these elements are not included in your contract, you probably aren’t working with a legitimate company.
Don’t Fall for a Scam
There are numerous credit repair scams circulating around online. As someone who is genuinely interested in boosting your score, it’s imperative that you avoid falling for these rip-offs. Legitimate credit repair companies do exist and you have to do your due diligence in order to find them.