General Questions:

Is Credit Repair Legal?

Yes. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows anyone to dispute obsolete, unverifiable, outdated or erroneous items on their credit reports. The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) protect consumers’ rights, and hold creditors and credit agencies responsible for all claims they make against you.

How Long Does Credit Repair Take?

Everyone’s credit situation is different, so it depends on the number of derogatory credit items on your reports. My company does a comprehensive evaluation of your credit report and create dispute letters to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion based on the results. This process starts usually within 48 hours from the date we receive them. Most of the wait-time is spent waiting on a response from the credit bureaus.

How Much Will My Credit Score Increase?

Again, everyone’s credit situation is different. Many of our clients have seen an increase of 100 points or more in 4 to 6 months; however, the actual amount will vary per customer. Many factors affect a credit score besides derogatory items, and credit repair is a process.

What Do I Need To Do After Enrollment?

In order to start investigating your account and to protect you from identity theft, the credit agencies require proof of identity and proof of residence. Your verification documents are attached to each one of your dispute letters. After enrollment, you will receive an email with instructions where to email your two forms of ID. The best forms of identification are your Social Security Card and your Driver’s License (shows your current address).

  1. Identity Verification / Social Security Verification – These examples show your SS#.
  • Photocopy of your Social Security card
  • Photocopy of your pay stub displaying your full Social Security number
  • Photocopy of your W-2
  1. Residence Verification / Address Verification – These show your current address.
  • Clear copy of a current bill (utility, telephone, credit card, etc.) with your complete name and current address
  • Clear copy of your driver’s license with current mailing address

Will I Be Able To See What Is Being Disputed On My Credit?

Yes. You will be able to see what is being disputed on your web portal, and you will receive the letters of disputes sent to each credit bureau. Once you have reviewed each letter, you will send each letter to the reporting credit bureau. No dispute is sent without your agreement. If you have any questions about any dispute, you can Financial Education Services’ customer service (FES). After agreement to each letter, sign and send to each bureau as directed. The credit bureaus will then send you back their updated, deleted, or revised credit information and you will send the updated credit report to Financial Education Services. Your credit report will be updated by your credit attorney at Financial Education Services, and the process starts all over. You will receive updated credit reports from all three credit agencies within 30 to 45 days. If the credit bureau does not respond to your dispute letter, do not be alarmed, a new dispute letter will be generated when your file is reviewed by the processing center every 60 days.

What Happens If Credit Bureaus Do Not Respond To All Of My Disputes?

By law, the credit agencies are required to respond to all correspondence. It is not uncommon for credit agencies to send letters stating they want more information, or that they will not re-verify an account. These types of responses are very common and customers should not be alarmed if they receive them. You must have patience, because the credit agency’s make their money by providing credit reports to lenders, not by answering dispute letters. Customers must continue to send all correspondence they receive from the agencies to the processing center.

Can I Make Changes To My Disputes Letters I Receive To Send To Credit Bureau(s)?

Yes. Once you receive the dispute letters to send to the credit bureaus from FES review and any additional information that you would like to provide to help the credit restoration process. Call customer services, explain the scenario, and follow directions as what you are told to do. The process maybe longer to resolve because new letters of disputes will have to be created; however, at least the letters will be correct when sending into the credit bureaus the first time.

What Type Of Issues Needs To Be Addressed Immediately To FES?

Victims of identity theft or individuals with credit files crossed with other family members should be addressed with specific verbiage on the dispute letters; therefore, it is important to contact customer service so credit attorneys can prepare you disputes accordingly.

 How Often Should You Check Your Web Portal To See What Is Being Disputed?

Every 60 days or 2 months, your case file will be reviewed. Based on the documentation received from you, (credit report updates and letters from creditors) a new dispute will be generated and forwarded to you to review and sign. Along with the new dispute document, you will receive a status update report showing the progress and deletion of accounts to date. Barnes Credit Repair and Rehabilitation Services would like for you to also give your testimonies on Facebook. Be general. What was your scenario? Show the letters of disputes blocking out personal identification information. How many points did your credit score raise from and to? Post your name and location. Documentation is the best proof, and we want to see your success.

Can I Repair My Credit Myself?

Yes. You can represent yourself in a court of law, and do your own oil changes on your vehicles. There is nothing we do that you cannot do yourself when it comes to fixing your credit situation. Individuals can repair their credit on their own, but this can take time and a lot of knowledge when it comes to the credit laws. We are a service company. We offer experienced, professional help at an affordable price for your convenience and benefit.

Are You A Member Of BBB (Better Business Bureau)?

Barnes Credit Repair and Rehabilitation Services is an affiliate of Financial Education Services (FES) and FES is proud to maintain an A+ Rating with BBB.

United Credit is proud to maintain an A+ Rating with BBB.

What Information Does Financial Education Services Include In Your Letters Of Disputes?

When you notify the credit bureaus that something in your credit files isn’t correct, you have to indicate the nature of your dispute. In other words, you must indicate whether your dispute relates to the “ownership” of an account or if it involves the “account information” or “status” of an account.

For example, if you find a certain account listed on your credit report that doesn’t belong to you, you would dispute the ownership of such an account for one of the following reasons:

  • This account does not belong to me.
  • I have no knowledge of this account.
  • This is not my account; it belongs to a relative or another person with same/similar name.

If you would like the credit bureaus to correct the “Account Information” or “Status” of something in your credit reports, you would indicate one of the following reasons:

  • My account balance is incorrect.
  • I have never paid late.
  • I have paid this account in full.
  • Too old to be on file, please remove.

There may be slight differences in how these phrases can be worded bureaus word these phrases, but universally, these are the types of statements that are required by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to begin an investigation on an account in your credit file.

Credit Bureau/Credit Report:

What Does A Credit Report Say About You As A Consumer?

 A credit score reflects your risk level, as an individual, to a lender. The higher the number, the lower the risk will be to the lender. The lender checks your ability to pay back that loan. The lower your credit score or the more negative marks you have on your credit report, the less likely you will be granted the loan or purchase you requested.

A history of your credit use and personal information are kept in a data base by the three reporting credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Their data base captures all credit cards, car loans, personal loans, and mortgage loans owned by consumers. Lenders can access their data base to determine your approved credit, to determine interest rates to give you, to see how long loans have been active, and to see if you are paying your bills on time.

How Often Is A Credit Score Changed?

Credit scores are not fixed. It fluctuates reflecting a consumer’s current credit situation, based on the information in the credit report at the time the report is pulled.

What Is In Your Credit Report?

Although each credit reporting agency formats and reports this information differently, all credit reports contain basically the same categories of information.

Information.

Your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and employment information are used to identify you. These factors are not used in credit scoring. Updates to this information come from information you supply to lenders.

Trade Lines.

These are your credit accounts. Lenders report on each account you have established with them. They report the type of account (bank card, auto loan, mortgage, etc.), the date you opened the account, your credit limit or loan amount, the account balance, and your payment history.

Credit Inquiries.

When you apply for a loan, you authorize your lender to ask for a copy of your credit report. This is how inquiries appear on your credit report. The inquiries section contains a list of everyone who accessed your credit report within the last two years. The report you see lists both “voluntary” inquiries, initiated by your own requests for credit, and “involuntary” inquiries, such as when lenders order your report so as to make you a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.

Public Record and Collection Items.

Credit reporting agencies also collect public record information from state and county courts, and information on overdue debt from collection agencies. Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, law suits, wage attachments, liens and judgments.

How Is A Credit Score Determined?

 The formula used to calculate your credit score includes information based on several factors:

  • 35% on your payment history
  • 30% on the amount you currently owe lenders
  • 15% on the length of your credit history
  • 10% on the number of new credit accounts you’ve opened or applied for (fewer is better)
  • 10% on the mix of credit accounts you have (mortgages, credit cards, installment loans, etc.)

Do Credit Bureaus Have Anything To Do With Government Agencies?

No. Credit reporting companies are just that – companies. They are in business to make money, and they generate their income by selling credit reports to creditors.

How Long Do Negative Items Stay On Your Credit Report?

Negative credit accounts, or trade lines can remain on your credit report for up to 7 years, and bankruptcies and other public records for up to 10 years. Inquiries on your credit report may remain for 2 years. These are the maximum times that are permitted by federal law for reporting agencies to show negative items; however, these times are not mandatory. At any time, a creditor or credit bureau may remove a derogatory remark from your credit report if the consumer requests an investigation into remarks that they feel are incorrect. Therefore, bankruptcies, foreclosures, inquiries, tax liens, student loans, judgements, and more can be removed.

What Cannot Be Removed From My Credit report?

All information reported by the credit bureaus are subject to the same laws and criteria. Any items maybe challenge, and the credit bureaus must investigate these items.

Why Does It Take The Credit Bureaus So Long To Respond?

Credit Bureaus collect information on consumers. That is their job which is to collect, so anything involving investigating takes longer. Remember credit repair is a process.

Why Should You Review Your Credit And Repair When Needed?

It is your credit report that creditors use to determine if they will extend credit to you. If you have inaccurate information on your report, you may be turned down for the loan you need or pay unnecessary high interest rates.

Should All 3 Credit Bureaus Have The Same Information?

Depending on which lender you go through will determine which credit bureau the item will appear on. It could be one, two or all three bureaus.

Who Can Access My Credit Report Without Consent?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a credit reporting company may only disclose your credit report if someone is:

  • Granting credit, reviewing your account, or collecting on your account
  • Reviewing you for employment purposes
  • Reviewing your application for insurance
  • Reviewing your eligibility for a license or government-related benefits
  • Providing information for a business transaction, such as renting an apartment
  • Has a court order
  • Has an IRS subpoena
  • Someone to whom you have given written permission

How Can There Be Errors On My Credit Report?

It is estimated that as many as 80% of credit files have errors. If your credit report contains errors, it is often because the report is incomplete, or contains information about someone else. This typically happens because:

  • You applied for credit under different names (for example, Margaret Jones versus Margaret Jones-Smith)
  • Someone made a clerical error in reading or entering name or address information from a hand-written application
  • You gave an inaccurate Social Security number or the number was misread by the lender
  • Loan or credit card information was inadvertently applied to the wrong account

Are Credit Bureaus Only Allowed To Remove Items From My Credit Report?

Yes. Only the credit bureaus have the power to remove items from your credit report. But, as required by law, the credit bureaus must delete inaccurate, unverifiable, or outdated information from your credit report.

Should I Open Or Close Accounts?

At first glance, it may seem like a good idea to close old credit accounts or open a host of new ones. But it’s not. More accounts can hurt, not help. Financial experts agree that you should not open multiple new accounts just to show a credit history. If you have had little credit in the past, build your credit history slowly. Open no more than one or two accounts initially. Also, don’t close your old accounts. A long credit history has a positive impact on your credit score. Having a large number of accounts in good standing with zero balances is a plus, not a negative.

Will Paying My Bills Raise My Credit Score?

Paying your bills on time should do nothing but help your credit score. Good payment histories will help clients who are trying to buy a home, refinance a home, or qualify for new credit. We often tell people that while we work on the past, you should be working on the future.

How Long Should I Wait Before Applying For Credit?

You should be in a much more favorable position as long as you meet several requirements of the credit grantor, such as a good credit history over the past 6-12 months, length of employment, debt ratio, length of time at current residence, and have amount of down payment, etc.

Questions?

Your FES Protection Plan Team

  • Your Credit Specialist (Samantha Barnes): 866-933-1377
  • Phone us: 248-848-9065
  • Enrollment and Payment Office – ext. 222 or 282
  • Customer Support – ext. 369
  • Spanish Customer Support – ext. 299

If I Am Having Difficulty Paying On My Sign Up Date, Can I Call To Have Payment Date Changed?

Yes. Call the Payment Office.

  • Your FES Protection Plan Team
  • Phone us: 248-848-9065
  • Enrollment and Payment Office – ext. 222 or 282
  • Customer Support – ext. 369
  • Spanish Customer Support – ext. 299

How Do I Cancel My Service?

  • Your FES Protection Plan Team
  • Phone us: 248-848-9065
  • Enrollment and Payment Office – ext. 222 or 282
  • Customer Support – ext. 369
  • Spanish Customer Support – ext. 299

(Click here to enroll)