How is a bad credit history making you feel? Dumb question or is it a real problem? My money says it's a real problem. It becomes a stark reality when you apply for loan help of various kinds only to learn that your application had been refused by the lender and you only have the vague knowledge that it's due to the bad credit history shown on your credit report.
First of all, I want to dispel the idea that is forming in your mind that you are a bad or irresponsible person. Yes, your credit history is not perfect and may be marred by one particular event or a series of them. The key is to put that behind you and to start to repair the damage. Start by initiating some simple credit repair steps.
Before anything else, you must get your credit report to accurately reflect your real history without any errors. Don't kid your self that the credit bureaus only publish strictly accurate information. They include errors as reported by various creditors who frankly do not have your best interests at heart. So start by getting the necessary corrections made. Having said that, getting the correction is not the easiest thing in the world. You will have to supply copies of all the correct documents to disprove the entry. Send the copies with a clear and factual statement of the actual situation in a certified letter to all three of the major bureaus - Experian, TransUnion, Equifax. By the way, you are entitled to a free copy of your report from each one of them. If the credit bureau cannot prove it's facts, it is obliged to remove the item from your file. Furthermore, if they fail to respond within one month of receiving your complaint, they have to remove that item.
Once all your credit reports correctly reflect the real story, contact any creditor with whom you still have an outstanding account and negotiate a settlement. Complete honesty is the best policy in this case and you may be able to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding through this method. Make a reasonable offer for settlement over a fixed period of time. Many creditors will be willing to take what they can get rather than losing the entire amount. Don't make idle threats but be straightforward about your ability to repay. Part of such a settlement is to seek to get that creditor to amend their filing on you to a current status. Stick to any new arrangements you can make, otherwise your situation will go from bad to worse.
In my personal experience, you would be unwise to sign up with a credit repair company. There are a number of fly by night operators who will fleece you for whatever you may have left and do nothing to repair the damage you have caused. Be cautious in selecting who can help you. Look for a nonprofit organization in your area which offers free or low cost help for people in your situation. Be prepared to do the spadework yourself. Do not destroy any documents that can help you in your desire to "come clean" with your creditors and develop a new series of relationships. Add to that the ability to stretch your commitments over time based on agreements that you honor and which will be reflected on your credit history.
By following these steps you will gain a much clearer view of your real financial situation and you will be in a better position to seek bad credit loans or consolidation to help you dig out of your problems.
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