Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Sorry For the Silence But I Promise......
I sent out 3 Certified Mail letters today to the three major Credit Reporting Agencies. They are disputes for my DH's reports. His are the only ones we have bought - mine were all done on the free credit reports through FACTA and that gives them 45 days to respond. I think I'll wait to do mine until my hubby's are almost finished then I can buy the 3 reports and get busy on mine.
I disputed 4 accounts with each CRA. There seems to be differing opinions on the best way to do this. Blanket disputes = dispute all negatives at once or 1-5 at a time. I decided to try just a few at a time. Keep in mind - every account I disputed was reporting incorrectly. Do NOT dispute correctly reporting information because it can and quite possibly will bite you in the butt. But, if it is reporting errors, you can and should dispute it. They have to follow the laws, but they won't unless you step up and challenge them.
One of the reasons I have been silent is because I've been researching a ton. I am learning more and more every day. I read the FCRA and FDCPA every day. I may not make it all the way through them all, but I'm definitely absorbing more and more information. You need to read these and become familiar with them. They laws are your friend, know them and know them well.
Also, I have two other blogs I do - 1 solo and 1- I'm a contributor on, so I've been busy keeping up those. I had family in town for a few days and that has kept me busy as well. Plus, it's summer, so I spend a lot of time outside with the kids.
I know it sounds like I'm prioritizing the Credit Repair fairly low on the totem pole, but I'm not, I promise. But I cannot let it consume my life or I'll miss out on the lives of the most important reasons I'm even doing this - Our Children.
Happy Credit Repair
Side Note: I have added a new link so check it out. Full of GREAT information.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Legal? Yes. But Is It Ethical?
The recent Validation Letter was send immediately following their first attempt at contact and I feel good. Actually, I feel great. There had been numerous calls on my caller I.D. from the same place and I called the number back to find out what was going on. When I reached a live person, I was told they were trying to collect for X debt. I told the rep that she needed to send a letter. Her response was, "Beeeccccaauuuusse?" She didn't want to communicate that way. Is it any wonder? If they send me something in writing I have a chance to Legally dispute the debt. The CA doesn't want me to be able to do this, they just want me to automatically roll over and pay them. The problem with this is - I'm pretty damn sure this account was paid nearly 5 year ago. They better prove to me I owe even a penny of this.
Is my thinking skewed? I don't know. I'm still thinking about it. I don't think so. On one of the Forums I frequent I recently witnessed a Collection Agent try to defend the industry. In one breath they talk about not making threats and not using scare tactics or abuse. THEN, they go on to describe a situation where some one owes them $200, they take them to court and get awarded $400. The guy still won't pay. So, they figure since he makes so much money they'll just go rep his car. Keep in mind this is a very high end car that they are going to repo for $400!!!! Does the guy owe the money? Yes. Should he pay this money? Absolutely. Should a collection agency go after a $50,000+ car instead of simply putting a hold on his bank account until he coughs it up? NO! The CA did this to embarrass the man and to try and make an example out of him. They are NOT nice people. And in trying to defend the reputation of the job this person simply made the case of debtors stronger.
All of this made me start thinking about the ethics of Credit Repair. Is it ethical for me to want my and my DH's credit reports to be positive? There are several ways of doing it and they are all legal. But just because something is legal it isn't always ethical. So, when is it right to do Credit Repair? I think it is right to do CR when you know you are going to fix your situation and KEEP it that way.
In my opinion, if a person is deeply in debt and they are behind on payments or in Collections, simply because they do not want to pay the bill (even though they have the means) and they decide to go about fixing their credit reports, LEGALLY, and use those means to not pay the debt, it is not ethical. Say they look at the credit reports and there are reporting errors, they are able to get the debt off the Credit Reports and get more credit, they still have no desire to pay the old debt and no desire to pay any new ones. That would be unethical.
Our situation is no where near close to this. We are in debt. Most of the debt is very old. We had circumstances out of our control that caused the start of our problems. The problems became bigger through mis-management of money and ignorance. We do not want to shirk our responsibility of the debt, BUT we want to get the best possible outcome of paying it off. Should we continue to pay for our mistakes for a few more years, knowing we may deserve this bad credit and accept that our children as well as we, will pay dearly for it? Or should we rectify the mistakes and get them paid and see our scores raise? Yes, we should see our scores benefit. We are ready to rebuild a faulty credit and we are able to do this now.
So, I suppose the ethical question, much like all else, is not black and white. Every situation is unique. When individual people with individual minds are involved, there will never be a one size fits all answer.
Just venting here. I have no news to report on my progress yes, as soon as I do, I'll let you know!
Happy (Ethical) Credit Repair
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Sending Second Set of Letters Tomorrow
You see, we've made ourselves a very strict budget. Something we have never really bothered to do before. The budget was step one in our journey to Credit Repair. I should probably devote more of that budget for CR purposes, but at this time - since I'm still learning so very much - it seems that taking it slow is probably the best way to go. Our horrible credit has been 6 years in the making, I can go slow and fix it right, what is an extra few months after all.
The letters I'm sending about my Reports are to get all the old addresses and name variations off. I'm in my second marriage and have been for over 7 years, so anything they have other than my current name and address are inaccurate. I mean, really, we've been at our same address the entire time we've been married.
The letters that are going out for my DH's Reports are disputes on accounts that are inaccurately reporting. We are hoping for deletion of these accounts. They are past SOL anyway and I am really hoping we can get these baddies off. If it raises our score at all, that will be HUGE, as we can then open up a new TL (trade line) and keep utilization low, and that should help the score also.
So, my tummy is in knots today, trying to get these letters done EXACTLY right. The other letters I sent out have both been received and now I'm just waiting for the validations. Actually, I'm hoping they won't validate, all the easier to get deletions or rack up a few violations.
I'll post about the letters tomorrow. I'm very excited and more than a little anxious.
Happy Credit Repair
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Research - I'm Feeling Overwhelmed
I've stated before - the situation we are in didn't happen over night. I'm not going to get us out over night. I understand that. I even accept that - most of the time. I wonder if it is that way for everyone. Does every one that starts on the road to Credit Repair feel overwhelmed? I'm guessing - yes. Because the thing of it is, there is more to Credit Repair than just getting your scores up or getting new cards. If you want to fix the current problem and fix it for good, you need to look at all the events that landed you where you are. You really need to take a good hard look at yourself and figure out why you are in the situation you are in. And unfortunately, the answer will probably not be pretty.
Then, once you have come to terms with what got you here, are you prepared to take steps to make sure history doesn't repeat itself? The answer for me and my DH is yes. We will do everything within our power to make sure we never get into this kind of predicament again. That's good, right? Yes, I think so.
Which leads me to wonder - Why do I feel so damn overwhelmed? Why have I had fleeting moments of wanting to quit and just go back to running scared? These are things I'm working on right now. I'm having a lot of inner struggles.
BUT, while those struggles continue, I am researching, making a plan of attack. I've already taken a few steps, and it is too late to back out now. But some hours of the day seem more promising than others. The hours that I feel too stupid to live are coming at regular intervals, but I'm fighting them with Knowledge. Knowledge is power. Soon, those hours of helplessness should fade. Hopefully soon, I'll be looking back at this entry with a rueful smile and thinking, how silly you were. Because by then my DH and I will be well on the road to decent credit.
Well, just needed to get out a few of the thoughts that were taking some of my concentration away. Back to research.
Happy Credit Repair
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
First Validation Letters SENT!
I have to admit - I'm a bit anxious about this. For the first time (if I'm completely truthful) we are really doing something about the credit mess we have created. It is exciting and empowering AND it is scary most definitely terrifying. These collection companies are asshats. They use illegal means to try and collect debt. Whether they can legally try and collect it or not. These people have been at this collection business for years upon years, and I have only been working on credit repair for a short time.
I'm sure it will take more than just these letters to get these CA's to leave us alone. I am prepared to fight though. As soon as I get the Green Cards (the card showing their signatures) I am going to dispute with the CRA's. Actually, I think I'm going to go ahead and dispute with the CRA's now. There are mistakes on the way they have this listed and I want it DELETED!! I need to do more research though, because I have to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before going to the mattresses.
Research! That is all I have been doing for the past few days. I know, I've sort of neglected the blog in that time, but I'm trying to learn everything I can so that I have all the facts right before I have to get dirty with them.
So, Next post will be me looking at some entries in DH's CR so that I can find the errors and the facts to back them!
Happy Credit Repair
Friday, June 16, 2006
Validation: Will I EVER Figure It Out?
What is the problem? You may be wondering. Well, I'm new to the Credit Repair World. For so long we lived our lives in ignorance. It wasn't nearly as blissful as some will claim - yet we knowingly lived that way. Now, we have decided to get serious and DO something about our situation and some of these accounts are complete messes.
The one I am starting on, for instance, has switched hands (as best I can tell) FOUR times! One Collection Agency (CA) is reporting to the Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA), but now we are getting letters from a new CA that hasn't reported to the CRA's. So, who should we send validation letters to? I'm going to err on the side of caution here and send a VL to BOTH CA's. Because, I'm pretty sure that the one that is reporting is in violation of federal laws.
We don't mind paying this account, but we are not going to pay fees and interest that we are not legally bound to pay. And, we want the account to be removed from the CR. I've been trying to draft the appropriate letters since Tuesday. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have them done. I picked up the Certified Mail green cards today, and the Return Receipt stamps. So, once I finish the letters this week-end, I only have to fill out the cards, and go to the USPS and get them on their merry little ways. I'll keep you updated.
Setting goals is one of the points I have listed on the side of the blog as one of the Baby Steps to my credit repair. What goals have my husband and I set? We want credit scores of over 700 in a years time. To be able to replace my husbands gas guzzling car with a fuel efficient vehicle with single digit financing (we are paying 16.5% on our family vehicle right now and it is used!), and we want to be able to sell our home in about two years and buy a new one with a nice zero down mortgage.
These are the main goals. I'll break them down in a future post. Back to research. I'll post more details as soon as I get this validation letter finished. But, I really need to get this thing done and in the mail by Monday!
Happy Credit Repair