Can You Repair Your Own Credit?

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This viewer says only a professional can properly repair a consumer's credit. What do you think I said?

I want to share a viewer email I recently received on the subject of credit repair. This viewer is taking issue with the story we recently did on credit repair. 

Here’s what he says:

Just an FYI…your story reports “they (credit repair companies cant do anything you cant do yourself). This is an incorrect statement…Having been in credit and collections for 30+ years working for some of the largest banks and finance companies in the world, there are things (legal) that companies can do that the average consumer cant accomplish.  Creditors DO NOT negotiate with consumers over their own debt…(see the B of A story today.  But when a credit repair company gets involved, using the language of the inside credit world arena, it makes a difference.  This is why and there is a reason that valid credit repair companies exist and are successful.  Knowledge, talent, time, and networking contact that the consumer does not have and even if they did, creditors do not negotiate with consumers.  Please make sure you have all the facts.  I am retired from that industry and know of what I speak. 

– S

And here’s how I responded to S:

While I’m sure you’re a smart guy, S, and respect your years of experience, I think you’re dead wrong.   The act of repairing damage to one’s credit history in an attempt to achieve a higher credit score can absolutely be accomplished by consumers without the help of professionals, and it’s done every day.  I have personal experience negotiating with creditors on my own behalf and have talked to many other individuals who have done the same thing.  More to the point, I’ve also personally known of many people who turned over hard-earned money…sometimes hundreds of dollars… to a credit repair agency only to be ripped off when their credit score wasn’t improved at all.  It’s not hard to see this is a unscrupulous industry: just Google “credit repair” and see how many obviously slimy predators crawl out from under the rock.

So while a professional may theoretically offer better knowledge and personal contacts, seeking one comes with the very real potential of being ripped off.  And if you assert that a professional is the only proper way to get the job done, I flatly disagree and can use myself as an example.  I do agree that repairing credit requires a little general knowledge and perhaps a little industry-specific vernacular.  But this is far from rocket science.  Everything you need to know has been described many times in many books available free at the public library; including mine, Life or Debt.  

Thanks for your comment, and for watching Money Talks!

Stacy Johnson

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