When your financial future is at stake you can’t be too careful. Not all credit repair companies are created equal – some may be outright frauds while others have your best interests in mind but lack expertise. Choosing the wrong one can lead to a lot of wasted time and money, even potentially costing you (your) future home, car or other large purchases you may have been preparing for in the first place.
Before you entrust a company with repairing your credit, ask these important questions.
Do You Offer a Money Back Guarantee or Other Warranty? The company should have either a Money Back Guarantee or some other warranty for their clients, which is reinforced in any contracts or agreements. If their website mentions a guarantee or warranty, ask for details as to exactly what it includes.
What is Your Audit and Setup Fee for New Clients? A normal setup fee for a new client should never be over $500.
What is the Exact Cost for Your Service? Price alone shouldn’t be a deciding factor when choosing a company, but an unusually high or low fee can be a warning sign.
How Can I Monitor Your Progress on My Credit Repair? Credit repair companies should offer online monitoring for their clients in today’s world. Having to call or make an appointment to check in isn’t ideal. In addition to some type of online portal, the company should also offer in-depth progress reports monthly, at minimum.
(Let’s change this to something like “Can I see proof of recent results /deletions?)
The reason I say that is because most companies aren’t going to release those type of reports. I keep track of mine, but I wouldn’t release records.
Can I See Reports on Your Deletion Rate or Success Rate?
It’s easy for a company to claim they have a high success rate but press further and see if they will show reports or other information that can back their statements. If they can’t prove what they say, it’s a red flag and they should be avoided.
What Are Your Affiliations and Certifications? Reputable credit repair companies should be in association with the NACSO, the National Association of Credit Service Organizations or the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance (I added this because this is the organization I’m a part of) Anyone working within the company that directly handles credit repair should be certified. If they don’t, ask them why.
What Do You Offer That I or Another Credit Repair Company Can’t Do? Some may feel uncomfortable asking this type of question but it’s worth it to see how the agent answers. If they are honest with their answer and it doesn’t come off like a vague sales pitch, that is a good sign. If they go the route of claiming they have some special secret system for credit repair other companies don’t have access to, that is a bad sign.
How Will You Repair My Credit Score? Ask them how they will go about fixing your credit. They should be willing to explain the gist of their technique for repairing your credit, what credit reports they use and overall be transparent.
Red flags to look out for include:
- Companies that have been in business less than 3 years
- Companies with a Better Business Bureau rating lower than A
- Companies lacking testimonials from clients
- Companies that have a small team or are a one man operation
While the above red flags may not be sole reasons to avoid a business, these deal breakers are:
- Companies that have a bad BBB rating or a history of unresolved complaints
- Companies with no testimonials or testimonials that seem fake
- Companies that only allow payments in cash
- Companies with no third party reviews on trustworthy sites
- Companies that make deceptive promises of how much they will increase your credit score
Check Yelp, Google, Customer Lobby, Shopper Approved and other websites to see how the company is rated. Bad reviews can be removed on their website or on their FB page so avoid relying on those.
If you’ve settled on a credit repair company that meets all of the requirements, is happy to answer questions and doesn’t have any red flags, you can proceed with working with them. Before you pay them anything, be sure to carefully look over the contract and ensure everything is clear. Any verbal agreements not included in the contract should be added before you sign.