I paid off my 2nd mortgage, except for a single penny. Clearly it was an accident thanks to our escrow or maybe our Credit Union. Our loan broker did excellent work for us when we refinanced last year. However, there was a miscommunication between the escrow and the Credit Union which held our 2nd mortgage. I have no idea which was culprit, for the size of the error, there should be no culprit at all; except for what happened next.
The Credit Union sent something to me saying there was a balance due, the penny. But I knew the 2nd mortgage and credit card were paid off so I didn’t think there was a need to see a new statement showing that the balance was zero $0.00, so I didn’t even open it. Neither did anyone else for the same reason. Another month later, the Credit Union reported the account was 60 days late with a late balance of one penny $0.01, and my credit score took a 99 point spanking. A 99 point drop.
I was outraged, of course. Who gets their credit score reduced by 99 points for a single penny? Me of course.
We actually, as part of our dispute to the false or misleading information on our credit reports, threatened a lawsuit, and our Credit Union fixed our credit reports right away.
Yes, once the credit repair of my credit reports was done, they were newly baptized and cleansed of the sins of the past. Yet they were newborn babies with no credit history left on them. Tabula Rasa. I had been right all along. At that point I did what so many lawyers do, I got mad and was done with him as my credit repair guy. I didn’t ask and he didn’t offer any way to quickly somehow fix the situation. I should have. Instead, when I realized that I had been right, without the aid of anyone, it took me another year to rebuild my credit scores and rating using traditional methods, and in the mean time, home prices soared and I was punked by my own actions and inactions.
The solution that my wife and I did use was this: which was both simple and effective, and also slow. Not an overnight solution but it worked like a charm. A long slow charm. I went into my own bank, and bought a credit card. It’s called a secured credit card. Give them $300, $500 or $1,000 and they give you a credit card with a credit limit of $300, $500 or $1,000, however much you give them.
As a married couple, or if you have a long time significant other, (don’t do this with someone hardly know) you each go to your bank and ask for a secured credit card, and after a little while, put each other on each other’s card. Then each has two credit cards with which to build a positive credit history.
Of course, if you don’t have that that special someone, just go to a different bank and get a second secured card.
From there, it’s a matter of creating a favorable credit history. There are several factors that go into that formula but the essential steps are: 1) Never miss a payment 2) Keep Low Balances. 3) Pay more than the minimum payments.
An excellent method of creating this credit history is to only buy something on the credit card when you have the cash already in your own savings account. So, say you want a new gigantic flat screen TV. If the TV costs, $1500, first put the $1500 in the bank, then use the credit card to buy the TV. Now what you do is to pay off the secured credit card in 3rds over 3 months.
Your good credit’s greatest enemy is in most cases, your own family’s dire needs. If someone in your family is having a rough time and says “hey, I need $800 to pay off a gambling debt,” or “pay my rent” or “pay my dentist” or “pay my car payment before it gets repossessed” or . . . Whatever it is, you must tell them to hide from the bookie, hide the car, brush and floss a lot, and wait a while.
Pay your credit card off in 3rds. If you give away your $800 you have poisoned your credit score!!!
And what’s even worse, he’ll probably just gamble your $800 away too. If the car payment is brought up current status, and they still don’t have a job, then in a couple months they’ll be right back where they are today. If they are behind on rent now, next month they probably will be again.
My favorite example is the dentist, if they pay the dentist and the tooth is fixed but because you helped them, your plan to repair your credit gets derailed, then you have ruined your ability to really help your family when things get truly critical. If you can buy your house at a low interest rate, then you’re either buying more house or doing it at a lower payment. Either way, he can move in with you. Perhaps more importantly, with a low interest rate and a more affordable house payment, you can help more people in more ways. And that can make it possible to truly help your family when times are tough and you’re all struggling.
Don’t be a knave-faced Jackanapes like I was. Exceptional credit can make it possible to help your family in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with merely decent or even good credit. Guard it carefully.
Identity Theft is not just someone opening a credit card in your name, though that still happens all the time.
No, it’s more likely to happen when you have to move back in with your dad and while you’re at work, your step-mom puts all the utilities in your name and then doesn’t pay them for several months.
Perhaps your brother or sister gets pulled over for DUI and gives the arresting officer your old Driver’s License, the one that went missing and you thought you lost it, and then guess what, she or he looks so much like you the police are fooled into thinking it really is you. Be careful making those rolling right turns from now on.
When your sibling and her spouse realtor who moved in with you because they were broke, but somehow they and their friend the Notary Public suddenly come into money and you can’t figure out how? Stay home sick from work for a few days near the end or beginning of the month AND make sure that you are the one who gets all the mail from your mail box. You might find out you have a new second mortgage. Surprise!
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to know how to spot when a person is less than truthful. Most of the time we get into trouble because we know something is wrong and choose not to confront the person who is trying to pull the wool over our eyes because we lovethem, so we decideto trust them. Don’t be complicit in your own demise.
I knew a man who awoke one day to find out that he didn’t own his own home anymore. Turns out there had been a “For Sale” sign hanging on the Zillow.com website over his head for months. I know these sound preposterous in the extreme but guess what, I’ve seen them all. Everything on this page, I’ve seen them all.
It can also be done basically as a con-game. The con-artist induces you to give them money, but since you don’t have enough cash, so you end up using your own good credit to do it. Of course, the con-artist never pays you back. That’s not even the worst part of it, the con-artist may not even know that the con-artist is a con-artist. He probably tells himself he’s going to pay your back, or maybe she is just down on her luck and you’re the only contact they know, so you’re the only mark. You just happen to be the “rich uncle” in the family but unfortunately, you are cash poor, you’re broke. Just not as broke as they are . . . at least not until they get done with you.
When you’re helping family, and suddenly you find your daughter-in-law has a new Camaro, expensive tattoos, long red hair, and a penchant for sushi but only a budget for fish fingers, crayons and a 30 year old Camry, guess what, it’s time to check your own credit.
How did she possibly pay for the make-over when your son tells you that they’re saving up, because they want to buy a home of their own. Yet, somehow she’s got this wonderful make-over? Eventually, you’re going to find out that your good credit also has a wonderful make-over, or perhaps a make-under. . . .
Identity Theft Comes From Friends Too
Cosigning for a new car for a friend or family member is often a mistake. Especially when they then don’t or won’t pay the monthly payment on the car loan and leave you holding the bag.
Again I’ve seen this happen more than a few times. You cosign for the car, (or worse, you just buy one) for your “Bestie” who then doesn’t pay for it and in fact disappears with it.
When your “Bestie’s” bank sues you, they’re going to sue you for the whole balance, you won’t even get the benefit of the repossession reducing the balance that you owe because of course, the car has vanished.
Not only does the bank sue you, they may also report you to the police as having stolen the car or for being an accomplice to the theft. I mean, that probably won’t stick, but you won’t really know until you talk to the Public Defender who gets assigned to your case. You might not even be arrested at all depending on a lot of actors that you have no control over.
If you’re lucky they’ll just garnish your wages until you file a bankruptcy, and even worse, you can’t just claim it was a case of Identity Theft because you signed the loan. Therefore, yes, you do have to file a bankruptcy to get out of it.
Beware of Fake Collection Calls
Sometimes people are just flat out not who they say they are. You think he’s your savior and he turns out to be just another guy who likes meditation, yoga and your credit.
Sometimes your credit might be destroyed by your boyfriend or girlfriend who has memorized your credit card numbers. After you closed the accounts she or he then called the credit card companies posing as your husband or wife and asked that the accounts be reopened. Yes, I’ve seen this happen too.
But nowadays most of the time, it’s a phone call. Someone calls who knows everything about you, your current unlisted number, your current address and you’re not even on the lease, and he knows your addresses for the last fifteen (15) years. He wants you to pay for an account of a credit card he says you still owe from 2004; even though you haven’t paid on it since 2005 and you filed a bankruptcy in 2007 listing that card. For some reason he’s now threatening to sue you, or send a 1099 to the IRS or to blow your security clearance with your command.
Can he do all that? Of course not. The bankruptcy took care of it. If you didn’t file bankruptcy, then the Statute of Limitations took care of it, unless the card in fact sued you. But if he’s not saying the card did sue you and obtain a court judgment, but that what he wants to do is to send a 1099 to the IRS, then there is no judgment.
Because if they had a judgment, you won’t get a phone call, you’ll just pick up your check and find out that a fourth of it is missing. For some reason he won’t give you the company’s address, and the company name is a mashup of two legitimate debt collection agencies you find on the Internet. It’s crap, he’s a liar and he’s trying to commit fraud and you’re the mark. Hang up and block the number.
My second favorite are fake calls from creditors several years after bankruptcy using information from your bankruptcy to make you feel like it’s a real account and who are asking you to pay an account which was included in your bankruptcy and saying that it wasn’t included in your bankruptcy. Call your bankruptcy attorney if you’re not sure. If you signed a reaffirmation agreement they might be right that you owe the money, but if that’s the case, then it will be easy to prove that a legitimate collection agency actually does exist and where they’re located.
Did a creditor sue you in your bankruptcy case and win a judgment against you stating that your debt to that creditor was not going to be included in your bankruptcy discharge order? If that’s the case, then finding out who the collection agency is will be easy and quick or you’ll just wake up and find out your bank account is empty.
Fake calls come from untraceable numbers through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone lines and you’re never going to figure out who called or from where. Tell them to leave you alone and hang up, that particular scammer will probably never call back.
The famous Nairobi email scam and various permutations of it are still going on all the time. I actually had a client who got caught by that one once but at least he got a car out of it, and ruined credit too.
Social Media Hacking is Identity Theft
Have you had it happen to you yet?
This week I received a new friend request from a current friend. I sent him a messenger message and asked why he had sent me a friend request, Did you unfriend me? He said no he hadn’t unfriended me nor had he sent the new friend request.
It’s about the same thing as reaching for the sugar and finding poison. I drew that cartoon as an homage to Orwell’s 1984 in about 1985 . . or 83 or at least I know that Pat Benatar was the greatest woman in Rock ever.
I searched for my friend’s name in the search bar at the top of the Facebook page and found that not only was I still friends with the same guy but also he had this new profile using his same profile picture and his name spelled identically down to the middle initial and the new profile had sent me the other friend request. This new version of my friend was already friends with 18 of his current friends from his original profile!!!
It’s truly horrifying. Those 18 friends will shortly all be victims of some sort of scam, though most will figure it out. But unless he contacts them all directly right away to say it wasn’t him, one of them might get scammed first. Thankfully you can contact Facebook directly and tell them, “hey that’s not me but someone is pretending to be me.” In my case, I contacted them to say that it wasn’t him but someone pretending to be him.
I once received a Messenger message from a scammer who said that he was on vacation in London and had been robbed and lost his passport and all his money and credit cards and could I send him $817 to pay for a new plane ticket home? At first, I was checking my credit cards to see if I had one I could use to buy him a plane ticket, but he wanted the money wired instead.
So, I thought about it and realized that if this person were truly in London and lost his money and passport then why and how was he messaging me? Surely he has friends with more money than I, and closer friends too, (I hadn’t spoken with him in years) and friends who could almost certainly access his accounts at home, but . . .
Hey, why can’t he get into his own accounts anyway? That didn’t make sense. Just telephone your bank and go through all the security questions and then they’ll tell you where to go to get a new debit card even though you’re in London.
Someone Starts a Business in Your Name?
Has this happened to you? I’ve seen it over and over again. Your dad, mom, brother, sister, cousin, uncle, best friend, wants to start a business but can’t do it in their own name because of the IRS, the Mafia, a biker gang, bad credit, an ex-wife, or ex-husband will put a stop to it and take all their money.
So, your name goes on all the paperwork.
If you’re lucky, you’ll actually get the percentage that they promise you for using your good name to operate their nefarious enterprise.
If you’re really lucky they aren’t doing something that lands you in jail but just ruins your credit.
Either, eventually, the business makes a lot of money but for some reason you never get any and then one day they’re gone and so is all the cash and all the easily movable equipment with any value and you’re left holding the bag.
Option two, eventually the business just flounders and sputters out because they weren’t very good at whatever the business was supposed to be doing in the first place, and that was why they put it in your name all along.
Thanks, next time, go ruin your own credit and leave me alone. This one is especially hard because you think you’re helping out someone you love or trust and they take advantage of you while you let them. If the business is so great, tell them to put the business in their own damn name.
You Thought you had Great Credit
Now your house is gone, your car is gone, your woman or your man is gone. And you realize that you hadn’t paid enough attention to your financial circumstances, and your credit.
Basically, as it turns out, because someone else turned out to not be who they said they were, you’re no longer who you thought you were either.
Everyone nowadays, before a first date, has perused all the social media available to make sure that the new person isn’t unemployed, an alcoholic, or has a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or likes cats but hates dogs or vice versa. Back in the day, before Facebook and all the rest, a nice man asked a wonderful woman to marry him. Well, before she would answer, she drove down to the Family Courthouse and looked up his divorce file. Turns out he had been an abusive husband who was also a deadbeat on his support payments to his little children who live with the ex-wife in Altoona. He had given her a nice TV for Christmas, and when she broke up with him, he took it back while his children sat and cried on the floor in front of him.
Driving to the Family Courthouse is still a good idea of course because most of the stuff in a divorce case file won’t be online. You can look up who sued you and usually find a copy of the summons and complaint but not in a divorce case, so the drive to the court house is still a good idea.
However, before the second or third date you could nowadays just ask to look at Credit Karma on his or her phone. My Wells Fargo account on my phone will give me my credit score.
Pretty much the same way you do from any kind of bad credit, you go to work repairing and fixing your credit reports. The disputes are still required they just have a different message: “It wasn’t me.”
Credit repair requires effort on your part, but it’s not hard, and if you do it right, it’s effective and can shootyour scores right back up to where they are supposed to be.
I’ve used a credit repair service myself, and I’m an attorney. At that time, I didn’t know what to do, so I just hired someone.
So, why didn’t I just take some time to learn how to do it myself. There’s a simple answer to that. Attorneys are busy people, me included. For me it’s even a little bit worse than for other attorneys because I like to manage my cases from the start to finish and from the ground up. I don’t use paralegals and my wife is my part time receptionist. I even answer the phones. It streamlines the way I do my legal business and my area of practice is bankruptcy. So I know a lot about ruining your credit. That’s easy, don’t pay your bills, get sued, have a car repossessed and voila your credit is toast. Perhaps, I should have added a picture of a toaster instead of my cat.
In my law practice I pretty much only take bankruptcy cases, I don’t have a lot of spare time to learn a new kind of case, or at least I don’t have time that I want to devote to learning new types of cases. Being a bankruptcy attorney is time consuming enough, especially when you’re also a full time paralegal, full time secretary, and sometimes I have to empty the bins and vacuum. I like it, it’s a quiet simple life that I enjoy, I love getting people out of debt.
However, all that said, and especially at that time, if I had had to spend the time to learn how to fix my own credit, I really didn’t have the time to do it. There are dense Federal Codes to study, and then the State of California has plenty of statutes that sometimes add things that aren’t in the Federal codes. Combing through the statutes and codes takes time, figuring out how to write credit repair letters would have taken a lot of time, effort and I knew that I just didn’t have that time. And sure once you’ve got the letter written, you can reuse it, we do that all the time but I hadn’t yet done my first one. And I didn’t want to learn.
So I started researching for a credit repair company or service near me. There were a few, so I asked a couple of attorneys I know and received a couple referrals.
$1500 dollars later I was on my way to clean credit and a new life and a new house.
So, I’m not a complete dork, and I know that the paralegals do most of the real work so I spent a little time letting my wife speak to the attorney while I walked around getting lost on the way to the restrooms and what I learned was that the paralegals were using basic templates to write letters and that those basic templates came from a credit repair guide book which had been printed out, three hole punched and clipped into a binder. You see, I had seen a guide to credit repair on the Internet but I thought it was a scam, because I was an attorney. I ignored it. Yet, here it was, the company charging me $1500 was using the guide that I had ignored.
So I said earlier that what I found out that these companies do, surprised me. And it did surprise me, because while they’re doing proper legal work for you, they’re just doing basic DIY credit repair for you that you can do for yourself. You can repair your own credit.
Yes, there is a big secret to credit repair: you can do it yourself. The guy doing my credit repair so that I could refinance my house and buy a second house was using a guide that he had downloaded from the Internet, three hole punched and shoved into a three ring binder. I guess the binder made it official.
I know that most of the time, in most law practices we use those kinds of things. They just normally come from a seminar costing $500 to $5000 and the books are an extra $500 to $1000 with an annual update costing $250 to $500 and still requiring a lot of expertise to make sure that they are properly implemented. Yet to repair my credit, it cost that firm around $37 or $47 and he was charging me $1500. That’s a good deal.
Of course you can do a lot of kinds of legal work yourself, people do their own divorce work all the time, but it’s complicated, fraught with pitfalls and you can easily make mistakes. And if you make enough mistakes, you can prejudice your judge against you and then you’re in a world of hurt. That’s true with most types of legal work.
But in credit repair work, you’re almost never in front of a judge, and because of the way the laws about disputing things on your credit reports is written, if you do it wrong this month, you can try again next month.
Keep researching, you’ll find that there are lots of excellent sources for exactly what you need to do to repair your own credit. There’s a ton of excellent people educating the public on Youtube and other sources. Good luck.
What you need to know before buying a car on credit after a bankruptcy, or after bad credit?
They love to say, they will sell you a car with bad credit, of course they will, at 25%, I might sell you my own car.
After a bankruptcy one of the easiest things to do is to buy a new car, or at least a newer car. A new to you car. It sounds too good to be true but oddly enough, it’s not.
If you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the more common type, then your new car creditor knows that you can’t file again for eight (8) more years from one file date to the next. So, they know that you can’t file again, and if you can’t file again, I’d sell you a car too. If you default on the new car loan (for the new car to you which is probably an older car) then we can sue you for another however many of those eight (8) years are left. Then I can garnish your wages, levy your bank account, and record a judgment lien on your house. Creditors love doing all of those things. Especially car creditors, car creditors love to be the first one to sue you. One attorney who represents car lenders told me that if “we’re the first one to sue, maybe the debtor puts up with one wage garnishment, ignores one judgment lien on the ol’ homestead. However, when the second judgment comes along, they call you. ” In fact I might as well mention, if you need a bankruptcy attorney in Southern California, give me a call, 951-200-3613
If you do have to buy a car, and sometimes you must, then your interest rates will be absolute murder. Don’t do it. If you can avoid it, avoid it. However, with a little effort and just a little time, maybe only a couple of months, you can repair your credit enough to buy a car with a decent-ish interest rate.
If you do nothing, and you wait long enough, your credit will be rehabilitated on its own rather like a cut on your finger will get better even if you just do nothing. Keep working in your garden or garage where it’s filthy without washing it, without a bandage, in the filth and dust and dirt and your finger will get infected and in spite of that in the long run, it eventually gets better anyway.
But if you clean it, put some Neosporin or a salve on it and bandage it, and keep it clean, then it gets better a lot faster. And what’s wrong with faster? Nothing of course.
But you just had a bankruptcy, what can you possibly do to repair your credit after a bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is the Credit-Reaper.
There are a few things.
Be sure of course, that whatever credit you still have, whatever debts you still have to pay after your bankruptcy, be sure that credit stays in good condition during the months and years after the bankruptcy is over. Don’t get into any new debt that you cannot handle, if you have reaffirmed any debts from the bankruptcy, make sure that you stay current on those and everything else including your utilities. Utilities won’t report your good payment history but they’ll definitely report your bad payment history if things go wrong.
Good credit is a combination of not too many bad things on your credit reports compared to the good things on your credit reports. Great credit is few or no bad things compared to lots of good things.
You can increase or improve your credit rating by removing bad things and adding good things to your credit reports. One of the easiest things to do to add good credit to your credit score is to buy a car, but you don’t want to do it until you’ve already improved your scores.
Check your credit after your bankruptcy is over. It’s almost a certainty that not all of the accounts included in your bankruptcy discharge are listed in your credit reports as “an account included in bankruptcy” or “bankruptcy” or “bankruptcy discharge”.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and check. If even one, just one of the dischargeable accounts that existed prior to your bankruptcy is not listed as included in your bankruptcy, then that account is dragging your score down. You can correct that with the appropriate letters to the creditor or to the credit reporting agencies directly. Prove that they have you listed wrong in your credit reports and they will have to fix it.
Where you do sometimes run into some fun, and by fun I mean it like Michael Jackson did in the 80s when he referred to good things as Bad: What if the account which is bringing down your score is also an account which for some reason was not listed in your bankruptcy in the first place, also called an unlisted or omitted account. Now what do you do?
Unlisted or Omitted Accounts are considered not discharged by the bankruptcy code unless two (2) things didn’t happen. See 11 USC 523 (a) (3). However, you can see from that code section that an omitted debt is nevertheless discharged if those two things didn’t happen. Here’s a hint, there is a case called In Re Beezley in which the Ninth (9th) Circuit Court held that the code section really does mean what it says that it means.
The first thing that had to NOT happen was, 1st) Did the Trustee on your case figure out that you may have assets which means that he would set a deadline called a claims bar date for creditors to turn in a proof of claim? When a trustee finds that you have assets, it’s called an asset case, and if no assets, then it is a no-asset case. In a no-asset case, the Trustee files a report with the court called a No-Asset Report. In the bankruptcy court’s court docket it will probably be listed as a Chapter 7 Trustee’s Report of No Distribution. If the Trustee did impound assets and distribute to creditors and the one you now have found was never listed, then you still owe that creditor his money because under 11 USC 523 (a) (3) it was not included in your discharge.
The second thing that has to NOT happen is 2nd) Even in a no-asset case, did you commit Fraud, Embezzlement or Malicious Injury to Person or Property against that creditor. Then if you committed any of those but you left this debt out of the bankruptcy, then the creditor was never barred from filing a non-dischargeability action against you in the bankruptcy court like would normally happen at discharge time because they never knew that a bankruptcy had been filed. Phew long sentence. Basically, at the beginning of the bankruptcy a temporary restraining order prohibits any collection efforts or lawsuits against you, except for suits in the bankruptcy itself for fraud, embezzlement or malicious injury to person or property. At the end of the case, the discharge order is a permanent injunction prohibiting collections and lawsuits against you even in the bankruptcy court for those same types of actions. A discharge does allow secured creditors to collect cars and houses if you stop paying for them.
If the omitted creditor had been listed in the bankruptcy petition and received a notice of your bankruptcy, and nevertheless, didn’t file that lawsuit in the bankruptcy, then at the end of the case, they would have been included in the discharge. How’s that for irony. Most of them won’t bother once they see how low your income is, how few assets you actually have and they might think that suing you in the bankruptcy court to prove you are a fraudster is throwing good money after bad. But if you left them out of the bankruptcy then, therefore, they can now sue you if they want to. But they would still have to sue you to prove that you did the fraud, embezzlement or malicious injury, that’s not going to be an automatic.
If you’ve just had a bankruptcy and afterwards, if you have no debts, start by going to your bank with a little money, say $300 to $500 or $1000 and ask for a secured credit card. It may take a while to save up, but go ahead and do it. Using it sparingly and then paying it down or off quickly will help your credit scores immensely.
If you can afford to, get two of them, from different banks. Two accounts is much better on your credit reports than only one. However, unless it’s an emergency, don’t buy something unless you have already saved up the money for it first. Here’s a hint: Most things you think are emergencies are not.
In other words: Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford.
Once you’ve purchased something with your new card, you can pay it off over two or three months that way, because you already have the money saved. Do this and it will improve your credit scores.
Meanwhile, a couple or a few months after the bankruptcy discharge, go to Annual Credit Report and download your credit reports to see what is on them. If there is anything that was included in the bankruptcy that is not showing as “an account included in bankruptcy,” or “bankruptcy” or something like that, then you can ask the credit reports and even the creditor to correct the situation.
If a creditor was left out of your bankruptcy but it pre-dates your bankruptcy, then you can ask them to fix it too by sending a letter explaining the in Re Beezley ruling and that it applies to that creditor.
Once you’ve taken the opportunity to clean your credit first, then you can buy a newer car than you would have been able to, and with a more favorable interest rate than you would have been offered. That means that you can buy a better car, a safer car and more a more reliable car.
Want to repair your credit but keep hitting a brick wall?
Did you know that according to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, when you dispute something on your credit reports such as Experian, Equifax and Transunion, the Credit Reporting Agency you’ve written to must investigate your dispute. That makes sense and is perfectly easy to understand. No problem so far.
However, the code section actually requires that the credit reporting agency, (usually Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) “shall, free of charge, conduct a reasonable reinvestigation”which of course means that you’re in luck, which means that there is even less than no problem so far.
So what if you dispute something and the credit reporting agency investigates the information, and the party who furnished the information to Experian, Equifax or Trans Union reports back to the credit reporting agency that the information is correct? If you believe that it is not correct, then you may send in another dispute of the same information outlining why you believe it is incorrect, and the credit reporting agency must “reinvestigate.”
So, I was trying to buy a house, ages ago, but I had loads of student loans on my credit files listed, in some cases, as many months late because it was shortly after graduating and passing the bar and for a long time I didn’t yet have a job or career to speak of, and so I got into some financial trouble. We did eventually flip a couple of houses and pay off all of my student loans, so I wasn’t a complete loser, but my credit was still shot from it all. And this last house, I didn’t want to flip, I just wanted a good interest rate and couldn’t get it. In retrospect I should have taken the bad interest rate, closed quickly and flipped it anyway.
So, I checked my credit reports and realized that almost all of my old student loans had been listed inaccurately. They were listed as most of them over 120 days late. Hahaha! But I knew better, most of them were over 180 days late. So I sent in a dispute. And month after month, Sallie Mae kept reporting that they were right and I was wrong.
However, at long last, after about six (6) disputes and ten (10) months later, suddenly all of them disappeared all at once from my Experian credit file. I can only guess what happened, either they finally agreed with me, or maybe the person who worked for Sallie Mae verifying information for credit reporting agencies must have been on vacation or maternity leave or died or something.
Is this the door to your mortgage broker’s office? Or does it feel like it is?
It looks like what a Hufflepuff might expect when trying to sneak into the Gryffindor wing of Hogwarts.
Obtaining a mortgage loan is a tough business, but so worth it, in most cases. When you own your home, yes, it is true that you have to fix the toilets, pay for new screens and fix the cabinet doors when your children use them to swing on. But you also cannot be evicted by a landlord who has decided to sell the property because he’s getting divorced or because his mother died and you’re really her tenant and he was just the property manager.
Of course you have to pay the mortgage or the bank will eventually ask you to leave, but how do you make sure that you have an affordable mortgage payment? One of the easiest things you can do, is to make sure that you have good credit. Good credit, means low interest rates. Low interest rates mean low monthly mortgage payments. That low monthly house payment is what makes keeping your home possible. You don’t want to be house poor, which means you have a house payment so high that you cannot afford new clothes or car repairs.
Times have been tough, your income is finally what it must be to buy the home that you’ve promised yourself and your family. But times were tough and many of your debts went unpaid when you were out of work, or work was slow, or during the divorce or after the car accident. Whatever it was, while we all understand that times were tough, banks don’t. They never did. Yes, you want a home loan, but if your credit is bad, they have to charge you a high interest rate. The idea is to get their money out of you as fast as they can before you eventually default again.
Maybe it won’t happen, but if your credit score says you’re basically a viking and the raiding parties have been slow lately, then they have to base their interest rates on something. They can’t take your word for it, nor mine. The only objective method is to look at what all of your creditors have been saying about you. Sometimes creditors get the information wrong, sometimes it’s negligence, sometimes a sin of omission, sometimes they just don’t care and you’ve been slandered and libeled and your mortgage broker can’t do anything about it. What then?
Good credit isn’t magic, Harry Potter is going to wave his wand and yell, “Experian Patronis!” at your mortgage broker. You have to do something. You could spend a lot of money and hand it off to an attorney and hope that the wheels of justice grind faster for this attorney than they do for every other attorney in existence. Fat chance. And yes, that’s expensive. Or you can take the matter into your own capable hands and get started now.
If possible, rather than working on cleaning up your credit when you start looking for house, start right now. If you’ve already started looking for a house, just get started right now anyway. It just takes some effort on your part. But the effort is easy enough, and affordable if you do it yourself. If you don’t want to, there are people who can do it for you, just do your research and you’ll find one. Or go to Youtube and check out any number of excellent youtuber/educators on the subject.
You’re not entirely remedy-less. Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act or FDCPA, did you know that a refusal to pay carries the implicit instruction to consumer collection agents to cease and desist all contact with you by telephone? It does. It works the same as the cease and desist notice which is also part of that code.
But many creditors don’t realize that this is so. Rather than sending a cease and desist notice, why not send a refusal to pay? And if you send “I refuse to pay and you can’t make me,” as your refusal, the collectors will probably violate the cease and desist portion of that refusal to pay within only hours or days of receiving the refusal to pay and perhaps do it a couple or even several times.
Under the FDCPA if a creditor violates the cease and desist notice, they can be subject to owing to you, $1000 per violation. In a short time, they might owe you more than you owe them.
According to the code you do have to sue them to get them to pay you, but the least you have is leverage. The fact that they have violated the law can be used to settle out of court. Let’s call it even, more or less. Under the FDCPA you also have an attorney’s fees clause in the code, so that if your collectors won’t settle and you have to sue, then they have to pay your attorney to sue them. This is of course my favorite part of the code.
While you’re doing this, you should also be paying attention to your credit rating. Credit repair isn’t as complicated as many might say. It does take some effort on your part, but you can do it yourself, affordably and quickly. As you repair your credit, you will need a road map, or a guide. Doing it yourself is tricky if you truly try to do it with no help at all. I’ve read the code sections in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and they are on your side. They provide the framework for your successful repair of your credit.
No one is going to fix or repair your credit for you, not without some significant money exchanging hands first. But you can fix your own credit. You can repair your credit with the appropriate guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing.
Unfortunately with my busy law practice I don’t have that kind of time to help you with you efforts to rehabilitate your credit. but I will try to steer your in the right direction though. My first suggestion is to go to Youtube and you will find plenty of excellent teachers who will show you exactly what to do.
It’s fast, affordable, and real. Credit Repair you can afford because you are making the effort yourself. The step by step guide will bring you confidence in the market place and can give you the credit scores you need to buy a home, a car with a low interest rate, or perhaps open a business loan, provided however only if you make the efforts.
Credit repair to most people is a mystery. Why is the sky blue? I don’t know, because it is. Why is my credit score below 600? Usually you have some ideas if that’s the case. However, when you ask but how do I bring it up to 700 or more? Lots of people will tell you that they’ll do it for you for only, a lot more money than you have in the bank. Many will tell you that you just have to write the appropriate letters to get credit reporting agencies such as Experian, Trans Union and Equifax to correct the information in your credit files. But how do you do that? Keep reading and researching.
First, take a breath, for a little while, have a cup of cocoa and relax, however, I don’t recommend the ketchup nor the Tobasco.
Afterwards, there’s plenty to do.
Bankruptcy is to credit repair as spiders are to a good nights’ sleep. Bankruptcy is the Credit Reaper. Nevertheless, sometimes bankruptcy is all you can do. You have to be able to pay for rent or mortgage, feed the family put tires on the car and gas in the tank. How can you do that if your wages are being garnished or you find your bank account empty one Saturday morning when you know your check was deposited yesterday?
If you need a bankruptcy, call I can help. Call 9512003613.
On the other hand, two of the easiest things to do to repair your credit or rehabilitate your credit, is to open a secured credit card and/or buy a car.
Don’t buy the car unless you absolutely must and there is no reasonable alternative. If you have to buy a car, the interest rate will be ridiculous. So, if you have the ability to borrow from a relative, or if you have been able to save since your bankruptcy, or if you can take a small 401k loan to buy a reasonable car, go ahead. Make it reasonable, you don’t need a lot of options, so skip the bells and whistles. Get an AM/FM radio and air conditioning that both work. Stop there because the lower your car payment, the better your credit will be. If you want to buy a house down the road, avoid buying the car on credit if you can.
The next thing that is easy to do, in general, is to get a secured credit card. You go to your bank or a bank and bring in say $500 cash and ask for one. Usually if you’re paying the amount of the credit line you want down, they’ll do a credit-check light, or in other words they might not even do one. At my bank, because I was already banking there, they only checked their own records. I gave them $1000 in cash, and they gave me a card with a $1000 credit line with very few questions. The interest rate will be horrible but keep reading and you’ll see that it doesn’t much matter if you do as outlined below.
So do you buy something and pay it off? No. You can of course and that will help, but is actually not the best strategy when trying to improve your overall credit health. So you now have a credit card with a $500 credit line, what do you do? Save up another $500 first. Then find something you need to buy for $500, such as a new computer or a TV or something. Then don’t pay it all off at once. You’ve got the money saved, so you pay it off 1/3rd at a time.
By doing it 1/3rd at a time, the credit card company will like you. You’ve paid it off quickly so you’re a good risk. But you also had to pay some interest, and that makes you a great risk. Pay it off too fast, means no profit for the credit card company. Pay it off too slow and that means high profits for the credit card company but also high risk and that is not so good for them. They want want profit and high performing contracts in their portfolio because that has a positive impact on the stock price.
In a year, not only will you get your deposit back but they’ll double your credit line or more. And that increase in credit-line is the most important thing that happens to your credit rating. It can’t happen unless your payments are in good standing, so yes those are important too. But you need both to have good credit, exceptional credit means you have good standing in your payment histories, but also high credit lines and low balances.
Note that I said histories. So you want more than one account open and in good standing for at least twelve (12) months after your bankruptcy is over, or in a chapter 13, twelve months after your confirmation of your chapter 13 payment plan. After the Great Recession, many couples each got a secured card and then put each other on each other’s cards. Then each had two (2) cards. Keep those payment histories golden and in not too much time, both credit ratings are golden.