Credit Report 102: Hiding Blemishes

In keeping with the Credit Report 102 series we would like to take a few moments to discuss the importance of protecting yourself and the many ways in which you can do so. Once you have filed, or registered, a dispute you will be entitled to a free credit report directly from the credit bureau, in most states. This free credit report gives you the opportunity to verify the updated information that you have filed. Unfortunately credit report errors can sometimes take quite a bit of time, and work on your part, to be corrected. However, be assured that your time and effort spent is not in vain.

When you find that an item you disputed is taking an awful long time to reach resolution you will have to be diligent in your follow up. In many cases follow up means more than just checking for corrections and changes on your credit report. Follow up, in these cases often means disputing the same errors repeatedly and providing additional supporting evidence whenever possible. It is at this point where many individuals elect to solicit the assistance of professional credit services. While these disputes can be completely resolved by you, the time, effort, and energy spent writing letters repeatedly and being persistent about pursuing resolution is something many people prefer to entrust to our team of well trained and experienced credit professionals.

While there is often a great deal of work involved in disputing items on your credit report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in the process of tightening up their requirements for lenders and their timely response to contested errors. This means closer reviews and changes appearing on your credit report more quickly than they have in the past. Nevertheless, the responsibility of finding and reporting these errors and reporting them to both the credit bureaus and creditors still falls on you, the consumer.

By now we have discussed having inaccurate information removed from your credit report and the process for doing so. But what about when the negative items on your credit report are valid!? Is there still hope if you did in fact slip up and miss a payment?

Everyone in pursuit of good credit wishes there was some way to have those negative blemishes removed for good. Well, the answer is YES! There is still hope, here are a couple of options to consider:

 Option 1: Request a "goodwill adjustment" to remove a late payment. You may not know this, but there are many creditors willing to "forgive" late payments and make adjustments to your credit report (or even remove the entire account from being reported to the bureaus) if you have established a good previous relationship with the lender. In order to do this, you will need to write a letter to the creditor detailing the circumstances surrounding your missed payment and why they are the exception and not the norm for you.

You can use Google to find sample goodwill letters. Be sure to personalize for sincerity. The person reviewing your request and the specific lender will determine your success. If you have an otherwise pristine credit history with this lender outside of one or two exceptions it will be worth the effort to try. The worst they can say is “No.”

Option 2: Negotiate full blemish removal. With open accounts that where good relationships have been maintained with the lender or creditor, you may be able to negotiate having the negative marks removed altogether. By offering a payment or repayment plan such as an automatic debit payment in exchange for the creditors removing late payment entries you give an incentive for them to cooperate with you. Ask to speak to a decision maker, manager or above, to explain your circumstances and find out what your options are. Once you reach an agreement, be sure to get it in writing!

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