AOH :: FIXCREDT.TXT|
Fix your own credit problems - Consumer Credit Counseling
Facts for Consumers from the Federal Trade Commission
Fix Your Own Credit Problems -- May 1992
If you are having trouble getting credit, ads that promise to fix
your credit history or clean up your credit report may sound like
the answer to your problems. But before you pay a credit repair
clinic to "fix" your credit record, learn what the law says and
consider saving your money by making some phone calls yourself.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to learn
what your credit report says. If you have been denied credit
based on a report from a credit bureau, the creditor must provide
you with the name and address of the credit bureau it contacted.
If you contact that bureau within 30 days to learn what is in
your file, there is no charge for this service.
If you simply wish to learn what is in your credit file, check
the Yellow Pages under Credit Bureaus or Credit Reporting
Agencies. If several are listed, call to find which ones keep
your file. Credit bureaus may charge to give you file
information. Their fees usually range from $5 to $15.
After you review your credit record, contact your credit bureau
if you find inaccurate information in your file. By law, the
credit bureau must investigate it and, if it is inaccurate,
However, if the information is accurate, no one can require the
credit bureau to remove it _ unless it is outdated. If you have
been late paying your bills during the last seven years, the law
permits the credit bureau to tell creditors about your history of
late payments. Bankruptcy may be reported for 10 years. That is
the law. If anyone tells you that they can remove negative but
accurate information from your file, they are making promises
that they cannot keep.
If you are having problems paying your bills and need help, you
have several options. You can contact the companies you owe money
and try to work out an adjusted repayment plan yourself, or you
can check your telephone directory for non-profit financial
counseling programs to get help. Some universities, local county
extension agents, military bases, credit unions, housing
authorities, and banks operate such programs and charge little,
if anything, for their assistance.
You also may want to contact a Consumer Credit Counseling Service
(CCCS), a non-profit organization with more than 850 offices
located in 50 states. CCCS counselors will try to arrange a
repayment plan that is acceptable to you and your creditors, and
they also will help you set up a realistic budget. Check the
White Pages of your telephone directory to get the number for the
CCCS office nearest you, or call 1-800-388-2227 using a
touch-tone phone. If you have other questions, write or call:
National Foundation for Consumer Credit, 8611 Second Avenue,
Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910, (301) 589-5600. For more
information about credit, write: Solving Credit Problems, Public
Reference, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.
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