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*Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty
Title: Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty

No part of this course or it’s course materials may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, and scanning without the prior written permission of its creator.

Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to Netiva Heard @ info@mnhcreditsolutions.com.

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: 

While the creator and author have used their best efforts in preparing this course and it’s materials, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this course and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation.

Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. 

The creator of this course makes no representations or warranties, expressed or implied, for any purpose of its use, which includes but are not limited to accuracy, applicability, comprehensiveness, suitability, or results.

The creator of this course shall not, in any event, be held liable for any damage or loss derived from the use of this course and/or it’s course materials. The results of implementing the methods and tools in this course will vary with each individual. This course contains material protected under Local & International Copyright Laws and Treaties and any unauthorized print or use of this material is prohibited other than what is outlined within this report.

*Let’s Get Rockin’!!!
Title: Course Objectives & Format

This course will be released in 4 Sections.

The first section will cover Credit Basics, Breaking Down Your Credit Reports & Planning Your Dispute Strategy & the actual Disputing Process.

In the first section you will learn:

  • What Your First Step Should Be, Before You Even Pull Your Credit Reports!
  • Review the Basics of Credit and the Entities Involved in the Credit Reporting Process
  • Discuss the Main Consumer Right Laws that will Support You In Your Credit Improvement Journey
  • Learn How to Read Your Credit Report for Each Credit Bureau
  • Learn How to Identify the Items on Your Credit Report that Are Inaccurate, Incomplete, Unverifiable and Untimely

At the end of Section One you will have your first set of dispute letters sent out, identified the errors reporting on your credit reports, and created a preliminary plan of action to tackle them 🙂

Section Two delves into Planning Your Dispute Strategy. You’ll Learn:

  • Strategies for Tackling Original Creditors
    • Late payments
    • Charge Offs
    • Foreclosures
    • Repossessions
  • Strategies for Tackling Collections 
    • Unpaid Collections
    • Paid Collections
    • Medical Collections
  • Strategies for Tackling Public Records
    • Judgments
    • Tax Liens
    • Bankruptcies
  • Strategies for Tackling Inquires
  • Stall Tactics You May Encounter & How to Address Them

At the end of Section two you will have created your dispute plan of action, mailed off your 2nd set of dispute letters, created your 3rd, and have a dispute strategy in place for the remaining negative items remaining on your reports, if any. This is the section where your Action Guides will be, which contains a WEALTH of information. The action guides alone are worth the investment for the course :).

Section Three breaks down your FICO Scores. You can’t Rock it if you don’t understand it!

We’ll break down:

  • Your payment history and how you can Rock this area of your FICO
  • The Amount Owed category and how you can use this section to Soar Your Scores in as little as 30 days
  • Products to rebuild your scores faster!
  • And MORE!

At the end of section three, you will have identified any items that are reporting in error on your Positive accounts and steps to correct them without having them deleted from your reports, worked on ways to improve your Payment History, products to boost your Utilization, tips to increase the Age of your credit and more!

Section Four will cover:

  • How to respond to the credit bureaus when they refuse to delete
  • Different tactics to employ to work around the credit bureau systems
  • How to tackle accounts that come back on your reports after deletion
  • Strategies, Tactics & MORE

This area is GOLDEN, it’s the stuff that credit professionals use all the time to help our clients soar their credit scores 100+ points in 6-12 months or less! 

You’ll get plenty of visuals and downloadable guides to ensure you have a complete understanding of the each concep we’ll cover.

For Additional Questions or Support, please join our Private Facebook Group: Rock Your FICO Study Group

Ready to Soar Your Credit Scores? Let’s GO!!!

*Understanding the Basics
Title: Copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The FCRA rules the credit reporting process and thus it rules the credit repair process.

Becoming familiar with it is a must! I won’t lie and tell you it’s easy reading, however, I am here for you 🙂

If you have questions, simply tag me in the group and we’ll get through it together.

Title: Let’s Rock!

We are going to go over so much more in the oncoming modules!

Demystifying your FICO Scores, Breaking Down Your Credit Reports, Deep Diving into Dispute Strategies & Soooooooo Much More!!!

Ready to Rock????

*Your First Step, YAY!!!
Title: Where to Pull Reports & Scores

Places to pull your credit reports:

Reports

Annualcreditreport.com

Equifax.com

Experian.com

Transunion.com

Quizzle.com (Equifax only)

Scores

Equifax.com (All 3 Credit monitoring reports & Scores)

MyFICO.com (All 3 Credit monitoring reports & Scores)

CreditCheckTotal.com (Cheaper FICO 8 version scores, reports are okay, though not as thorough)

FREE

Credit Karma (Transunion & Equifax; not always up-to-date, but it is free)

Free Experian Credit Monitoring (Experian Only)

Discover’s Free FICO (One Score Only)

NOTE: If you are a ‘paper person’ do not write on your original credit report. Make your notes on copies of the credit reports only. I suggest you always have two copies of every report: one for your notes, the other to be kept as a clean reference for your records.

Title: Download Step 1 Slides

File in the folder Your First Step, YAY!!!

*Breaking Down Your Credit Reports – Part 1

Title: Information That Can Be Found In Your Credit Reports

In the next couple sections, you’ll learn how to read and understand your credit reports. We’ll review the different parts of the credit report and how to read each bureau’s reports – YES, they do vary :).

Your credit report will contain a lot of personal and financial information, such as:

  • Your Name (past, present and any aliases (i.e. marriage, divorce, maiden names) 
  • Marital Status
  • Your Addresses (past and present) 
  • Your Phone Numbers (past and present)
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Your Work History (past and present)
  • Companies You’ve Had A Financial Relationship With & Their Addresses
  • Payment History (past and present)
  • Dates and Types of Loans 
  • Credit Limits, Highest Amount Used 
  • Current Balances 
  • Disputed Items 
  • Number of Active Accounts 
  • Accounts Sent for Collection 
  • Comments or Explanations 
  • Credit Report Inquiries 
  • Judgments and/or Bankruptcies 
  • Consumer Statements
  • Fraud Alerts

Each of the items mentioned above are separated into 6 main parts of your credit reports, as discussed in the Understanding the Basics module. Although the formats will be different – considering the credit bureaus are 3 separate, private companies, with 3 separate databases, and thus 3 different credit report formats/layouts – they all have the same 6 main components.

Let’s start off discussing the Personal Data section of our credit reports in the next video.

Title: Example of Identity Theft by Looking At Personal Data

Here’s an example of 2 credit reports that had noticeably incorrect information on them. Both were victims of identity theft.

Example One:  Multiple Social Security Numbers Reporting

When Consumer called to ask Experian why they didn’t see all of the inaccurate items on her report; their response was that it’s up to the consumer to monitor their reports; not them!

Example Two:  Multiple Addresses Reporting That Consumer Never Lived At

All of the addresses that were not his were tied to an account obtained via Identity Theft. Experian did not remove ANYTHING when he called, Transunion removed all of the addresses and put a dispute in to the creditors that weren’t his on his behalf, Equifax removed some of the addresses and none of the accounts.

He had to file an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit, Police Report, and send copies of both to each credit bureau and creditor to resolve the issue. It took over 9 months to clear up everything.

*Step 2

Title: Personal Data Form (Excel)

File is in the Step 2 folder – File name Credit Class Worksheets

Title: Letter Templates & Where to Send Dispute Letters

Please Review DAY ONE of my 5-Day Challenge, Your Credit Reports – Demystified, detailing Personal Data on your credit reports, with screenshot examples.


Personal Data Dispute Letters can be done online, here are the links to do so:

Equifax

Transunion

Experian

If you are removing an account tied to a negative account with Experian, phone and online very rarely works. You’ll need to fax, upload or mail it.


To call, it’s best to have the file numbers found on the reports for lesser hold times:

Equifax: 800-685-1111

Transunion: 800-916-8800

Experian: 888-397-3742


To fax:

Equifax: 888-826-0549, 888-826-0573 (yes all of these are fax numbers)

Transunion: 610-546-4771, 610-546-4606 (yes all of these are fax numbers)

Experian: 972-390-3848, 972-390-4979, 972-390-4918 (yes all of these are fax numbers)


To Mail: Remember to Attach a copy of ID, SSN, utility bill for identity purposes with current address on them

Equifax Information Services, LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374

Transunion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000

Experian’s National Consumer Assistance Center, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013


If you wish to Opt-Out of mass mailings, visit Optoutprescreen.com

If you wish to register for the Do Not Call List, register your number(s) here: DNC List

Note on faxing: The best time to fax is super early in the morning or super late at night, if you fax during normal business hours it’ll be busy. Keep trying, faxing is a big time saver and can be done for multiple forms of disputes, not just personal data.

Title: Step Two: IMPORTANT NOTICE

When you dispute personal data, the bureaus automatically place a Fraud Alert on your credit report.

If you need to rebuild your credit and will be applying for new forms of credit, this may create a problem.

You can call or write each bureau to remove the fraud alert from your reports.

“I did not request to have a fraud alert placed on my credit reports. It is preventing me from being approved for a (loan, credit card, etc); please remove this alert from my credit files.

Thank you”

Title: Download Step 2 Slides

File is in Step 2 folder – File name is Second Task

Title: **** EXTRA CREDIT ****

If you have pulled a credit report from a credit monitoring site or Equifax, there will be an Account Summary listed. Review it, as well as the comments if applicable, to see what is going on with your credit.

Do you have any collections? Public Records? Maxed out credit cards?

Are you paying on time? What suggestions are listed, if any to improve your credit scores?


Review DAY TWO of my 5-Day Challenge, Your Credit Reports – Demystified, detailing the Account History Section of your credit reports, with screenshot examples.

*Breaking Down Your Credit Reports – Part 2

Title: Credit Tradelines & More!

You’ve gotten the Personal Data dispute sent off (YAY!!!), now it’s time to dive into the other areas of your credit reports.

In the next couple of videos, we’ll cover your Account Information, Public Records, Inquiries and Consumer Statements.

I’ll include an additional video teaching you how to identify errors so that when you are reviewing your personal reports, you’ll have a guideline to follow.

This information is also covered in Days 3-5 of the Five Day Credit Challenge. I’d review those as well for more in depth understanding. Here are the links:

Learning how to read your reports is of the utmost importance when learning how to improve AND maintain your credit! 

Ready to Get Started?

Let’s GO!!!

Title: Steps to Take if You Believe You Are A Victim of Identity Theft

  • Contact the bureaus first to see if your account has been merged with another consumer’s.
  • Contact the creditor to see if there was a data entry error or a computer glitch that inadvertently tied you to an account that was not yours, the credit contact information will be found on your credit reports, usually towards the bottom or within the account details itself.
    • If the account is actively being used, tell them to close/freeze the accounts so that no one else can add new charge. Change all pin numbers and passwords to your current accounts.
  • If they verify it is reporting according to their database and you are SURE this is not your account, complete the steps to file an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and follow the prompts there. (The FTC has a summary listed here: https://www.identitytheft.gov/Steps)

Title: How to Read Your Credit Reports – Downloadables

Download this file to further understand how to read your credit reports.

File is in Breaking Down Your Credit Reports – Part 2 (File names – Equifax Sample Report, Sample Experian Credit Report, Sample Transunion, How to read a credit report)

*Step Three

Title: Negative Accounts Worksheet (Excel)

File is in Step Three folder – File name is Credit Class Worksheets

Title: Statute of Limitations (SOL) By State

File is in Step Three folder – File name is Statute of Limitations by State, BONUS – State Tax Liens

Title: List of Common Errors Found on Credit Reports

File is in Step Three folder – File name is Common Errors Found on Credit Reports

Title: General Rule of Thumb

People often ask, “If I have a late payment, what’s the best strategy to use to get it removed?” or if I have a collection, what should I do first?

Well, here it is! Keep in mind, this is a general rule of thumb. Again, credit professionals utilize many methods, I often send a dispute letter to the Credit Bureaus first; then utilize the methods below if the item comes back as ‘verified’. 

You’ll review each item on your List of Negative Items and assign it an appropriate credit repair action:

30-60 Days Late —> Goodwill Letter 

90+ Days Late —> FCBA Letter/Goodwill Letter

Charge Off —> Original Creditor Investigative Letter

Collection Accounts that have been Purchased —> Debt Validation Letter

Collection Accounts that have been Assigned —> Knock Out Letter

Medical Collection —> Medical Validation, Financial Assistance w/Hospital, Goodwill Letter

Public Record —> Courthouse

Tax Liens —> IRS Validation

NO credit repair tactic works all the time. So, if one of the above works; great! If it doesn’t; don’t feel bad, it even happens to professionals. Instead, do what we do; try another method, OR wait about 60-120 days and try again. Didn’t work again? Try another tactic; wait 60-120 days and try again.

My point is: DON’T GIVE UP!!!


CFPB Credit Card Agreement Database

Title: Download Step 3 Slides

File is in Step Three folder – File name is Third Task

*Planning Your Dispute Strategy – Part 1

Title: Plan Your Strategy – Downloadables

File is in Step Three folder – File name is Estimated Credit Repair Timeline Flowchart

Title: Disputing Flowchart

*Pick & Choose!

Title: Pick & Choose!

The next section will take a deep dive into specific tactics and strategies to take to update, remove and resolve negative information found on your credit reports.

Now, it’s time to review the Negative Accounts Worksheet and select which items you will tackle first, second, third and so on. 

There is an area (pictured below) that you type this in. You can put 1 – for Round 1. 2 for Round 2, and so on. OR you can put Now for the first round. Later for later on, and Next Round or 2nd Round to depict your next set of letters. Segmenting & pre-planning your disputes this way is apart of your First Task to stay and remain consistent during your entire credit improvement process. 

So, review your list of negative items and select which ones you will dispute first.

It can be disputing all collections that are not close to your statute of limitations.

It can be disputing the inaccurate items that are the most recent to receive the largest boost in your scores.

Or, it can be to dispute the older, easier items first in order to get a little experience under your belt before tackling the more tougher items.

The choice is truly yours! Just make sure to follow my rules of leaving items that are close to being past your statute of limitations alone if they are not super negative and reporting in error.

So, take a moment to segment your disputes! 

Upon completion, move forward to Part #2 of Planning Your Strategy 🙂

*Planning Your Dispute Strategy – Part 2

Title: Original Creditor Dispute Action Guides — Late Payments, Charge Offs, Foreclosures, Repossessions

File is in the Planning Your Dispute Strategy – Part 2 folder – File name is Tackling Charge Offs, Tackling Foreclosures, Tackling Late Payments, Tackling Repossessions

Title: Collections Dispute Letters, Downloadables & Action Guides

MORE TIPS!!!

Sample Dispute Verbiage for your dispute letters:

• This collection is inaccurate because I’ve paid the balance in full (Please see the proof attached). I am requesting that the item be removed from my credit report immediately. 

• This account is inaccurate because I have never had an account with this company and they have failed to validate this debt in accordance with FDCPA. (Please see the proof attached). I am requesting that the item be deleted from my credit report immediately in accordance with the FCRA.

• Review this collections date of opening I feel it’s not a 100% correct. Please remove this collection from my credit report

• Can you please review the responsibility and current amount of this collection? I do not believe it’s a 100% accurate and remove this item immediately from my credit report.

• Please do a complete investigation on account name, number, type and terms because it does not match my records. Delete and Discard this account from my credit report immediately please.

• Can you please review the financial obligation without a contract and I have a feeling it is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The company has failed to validate the debt in accordance with the FDCPA. Please delete this collection in accordance with the FCRA.

• This item is in dispute because I believe the date of last activity and date of opening is not a 100% accurate. DELETE this account for its mistakes.

• The following items do not seem to have the correct status date, opening date and last activity date. Please review and remove this account from showing on my credit report.

• Please run a full investigation on the date of opening, date of first delinquency and status date I don’t think it’s 100% accurate. Please and remove this account for its inaccuracies.

• I would like you to review account status and account comments they seems to be inaccurate. Please remove this account for its inaccuracies.

• The following items do not seem accurate: account name and account number. I don’t think it’s 100% right. Please remove this item immediately.

• I am requesting investigation date of opening, date first reported, date of first delinquency and date of last activity. I have a feeling it is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, so please strike this account in accordance with the FCRA.

Title: 10 Rules to Dealing with Debt Collectors

Rule 1: You Don’t Have to Talk

If you do not want to deal with debt collectors on the phone, simply send them a cease-and-desist letter by fax or mail that says you no longer want to be contacted by them. If they continue calling you after that, they are in violation of the FDCPA, which means they have broken the law. Record the occurrences (even take a pic from your phone) and report them, you can even sue in small claims court and get up to $1000 per occurrence. Keep a log of all calls and letters from them. Write down the time and date they called and the agency’s name. Keep any voicemails and letters of correspondence, including ones you sent to them.

NOTE: Sending the cease and desist letter does not mean they won’t still try to collect the debt. It just means they can’t call you to discuss it. They will mail you, but if your letter states ‘do not mail me’, which should ONLY be used for debts past your statute of limitations, then really check your mail! They may attempt to sue you for a judgment.

Rule 2: Check Your Statute Of Limitations

Creditors have a certain amount of time – six years in most states – to collect a debt before the statute of limitations runs out and they can no longer get a court judgment against you. You still owe the money and debt collectors may still attempt to collect it, but not with the help of a court judgment.

If you make a payment or agree to a repayment plan, you could restart the clock on the statute of limitations.

If you are not sure whether the statute of limitations applies in your case – the rules vary from state-to-state – simply ask the collection agency if your debt is “time-barred” meaning the statute of limitations has run out.

The FDCPA rules say the collection agency must answer consumer questions truthfully.

Rule 3: Watch Out for Fakers

The only phone call worse than the one from the debt collection agency, is one from a fake collection agency.

Fake collection agencies use the same intimidation tactics, the same threats of arrest and the same claims they will tell family members about the debt if you don’t pay them. Often, the fake collection agencies are trying to collect on “phantom debts” that are too old to collect or were never proven to be valid.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down two fake collection agencies in Miami that had bilked Latinos out of $2 million in 2014. The FTC warned consumers this type of fraud was spreading to communities across the country.

The fake collection agencies use the same avenues to find debtors that real agencies use: databases that sell personal information; mailing lists; information from credit applications; calls to relatives, friends or employers; and forwarding addresses from the post office.

To stop the scam before it costs you, the FTC suggests that you ask the caller from collection agency to provide their name, the company’s name, their street address and business phone number. Verify each of the answers before talking to the caller again.

Rule 4: It’s OK To Negotiate

If you want to settle matters with the debt collection agency, you or your attorney can negotiate a deal. First, figure out how much you can afford to pay and see if the collection agency will agree to that amount. The money should be a lump sum (If you elected to do monthly payments, do not do bank drafts, make sure no extra fees are added each month, including interest, try to do monthly payments on teh settled amount; not the full amount unless they agree to delete from your reports)

If possible, conduct negotiations at the end of the month. Collection agents often have deadlines and monthly goals they must meet. If they are desperate to reach one of those goals at the end of a month, they might be more willing to negotiate.

If the collection agency accepts your terms, get it in writing before making payments. There should be written proof on how much will be paid and by what date that amount must be paid. (Record the phone calls if they refuse).

Rule 5: No Big Early Payments Required, No Deadline To Act

Most collection agencies work on a commission basis, so it is not unusual for collectors to tell a debtor that he or she has to make a large down payment on the owed amount. They may say that a hefty initial sum is required in order to prevent collection fees from growing, or that it is necessary to begin the process of eliminating the debt from their records.

What they don’t want you to know is that there is no such requirement. They merely want to get as much money upfront as possible to inflate their commission.

Debt collectors also may tell you that there is a deadline for payment and threaten you with dire repercussions if the debt is not paid within the prescribed timeframe.

What they don’t want you to know is that there is no such thing as a deadline. It is a complete fabrication, one designed to get you to repay your debt as quickly as possible, because they know that the longer they have to wait to get paid, the less likely it is to ever happen.

Rule 6: Your Credit is Already Damaged

Collectors often exaggerate the consequences of delinquency and non-payment. Threats are illegal under the FDCPA, but suggestions that your credit score will suffer or that your possessions may be seized are simply scare tactics with nothing to back them up.

In fact, if your debt already is in collection, your credit score already has been damaged and the potential loss of your is a lie without a judgment. What they don’t want you to know is that all they can really do is ask, cajole, and demand that you pay. The rest is bull.

Rule 7: Don’t Give Up Personal Information

Sometimes, debt collectors will ask you for personal information – your bank account number, Social Security number, where you work, references from friends and colleagues. Why? To put together a “financial statement” they need to work out any repayment plan.

They don’t want you to know that they are merely fishing for information that will help them find you if you move, sue you if you don’t repay, or get into your bank records. There is no financial statement, and you should never give out proprietary information to anyone – ever.

Rule 8: Collectors Can’t Cross State Lines

Debt collectors also don’t want you to know that they cannot pursue you across state borders to enforce a judgment levied against you by a creditor who sued you for non-payment and won. Transferring the judgment to another state is time-consuming and expensive and not likely to occur very often.

Rule 9: There Are Limits to Garnishment

Debt collectors don’t want you to know that there are limits on the amounts they can legally garnish from portions of your income, like salary, social security or pensions. For example, the maximum amount that can be taken from a paycheck is the lesser of 25% of your disposable earnings or the amount by which your wages exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage.

You can also file for complete exemption from wage garnishment, if you can verify that it will cause you or your family financial hardship to have any monies withheld.

Rule 10: There Are Options for Student Loan Debt

Debt collectors don’t want you to know that if you have student loan debt, while it still must be paid, you have the right, under the 1992 Higher Education Act, to set up a short-term payment schedule with the collection agency, requiring only “reasonable and affordable payments” – sometimes as little as $10 per month.

Successful completion of the student loan rehabilitation program (making nine out of 10 payments on time) takes the debt out of the collector’s portfolio and sends it back to the Department of Education. The collection agency loses its various commissions and bounties, and your loan is now being held under more favorable conditions.

Remember, high-pressure tactics by bill collectors are used solely to scare or bully you into paying them. While it is still your responsibility to square all your valid and legitimate debts, you don’t have to endure illegal, harassing or irritating activities.

Arming yourself with the right knowledge can help free you from the frustration – and empower you.

(inspired from a bomb.com article from debt.org)

Title: Public Record Action Guides & Downloadables

File is in the Planning Your Dispute Strategy – Part 2 folder – File name is IRS Lien Withdrawal Application, Bonus FOIA Letter, Court Clerk Letter-Sample, Public Record – Freeze Requests, Tackling Public Records

*Step Five

Title: Advanced Dispute Letter Package

Attached is the ‘How to Write A Dispute Letter’ download as well as my Advanced Dispute Letter Templates that contain over 100 dispute letters that you can personalize to send out to the Credit Bureaus, Original Creditors and Collection Agencies.

Initially (except with Identity Theft and in some cases Collections), your initial dispute will be with the Credit Bureaus. So, for Step 5, open up the folder for Credit Bureaus.

*File is in Step Five Folder – File name is How to Write a Dispute Lette and 100-Dispute-Template-Library.zip

Title: General Disputes Verbiage

In this lesson, I mentioned that sometimes you won’t know if something is reporting in error, OR you may want to see if it can be verified.

Here are some examples of how you can dispute an item to see if it can be verified with the Credit Bureaus:

General Reason:  Please verify and validate all data for this account, every notation, dates and balances, whether reported or not

Collections: Unknown/Please validate | Unknown company/Please validate 

Late Payments: {Date of Late} does not seem accurate, this needs to be verified or corrected to show paid as agreed never late

Charge Off: I do not agree with the charge off status on this account, this needs to be verified or deleted.

Bankruptcy: The date filed (discharged, dismissed…whatever you want here) does not seem correct. Please correct or remove this account.

Tax Liens: The balance reporting does not seem accurate. This needs to be verified or deleted completely.

Judgments: The balance reporting does not seem accurate. This needs to be verified or deleted completely.

Inquiries: I do not recall giving my authorization for this credit pull, please remove this.

General Verbiage – Information Requests (Remember the burden of proof is on THEM not you!):


To Credit Bureau: “The account type being reported on my credit report is inaccurate and/or misleading; please provide proof that you have not violated the fair credit reporting act by reporting the account type as you have. If you cannot provide proof that you have not violated my rights granted to me under the (FCRA, FDCPA, etc…) please immediately delete this erroneous entry on my credit file”

To Credit Bureau: “The Account Liability of this report is misleading and or inaccurate, please provide proof that I am the responsible party for this account or immediately remove it from reporting on my credit report. This entry is causing me severe financial hardship”

To Original Creditor: “Number of times late that is being reported on my credit report is inaccurate and or misleading. Please provide proof that the alleged account was in fact late and that you have taken the necessary steps to properly investigate your allegations. Please provide proof of receipt of payments to your company, and your company policies for investigating this type of dispute. Please also provide the required employee handbook sections that describe your company’s methods when dealing with lost or misapplied payments and the internal procedures for review and investigation of misapplied payments. If you cannot provide this information in a timely manner, that would be a violation of my civil rights as granted to me under various statutes. Please provide this information or delete this account immediately!”

To Credit Bureau or Original Creditor:  “The Account Status as being reported on my credit report is severely affecting my ability to be approved for a recently applied for loan. Please provide proof that this is being reported accurately as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines, this is a serious thing to mis-report, my formal request must be investigated immediately and proven to be correct. If you cannot prove it, please immediately delete it!”

You can replace balance with different pieces of information that seems questionable or inconsistent, or to see if it’s accurate in order to get an investigation initiated. Any Q’s post them to the group :)!

Title: Download Step Five

File is in Step Five folder – File name is FIFTH TASK

*FICO – Demystified & Step Six

Title: Delinquencies and Your Credit Scores

This chart is from MyFico.com. They analyzed credit scores in different ranges to see how many consumers in each bracket had late payments and how often.

Those with scores between 300-600 had way more late payments and other delinquencies than those with credit scores of 650+.

Delinquencies are the #1 thing affecting consumers with lower credit scores. 

Paying on time every time truly is the key to increasing and maintaining high credit scores!

Delinquency Rate By FICO Scores
300-49987%
500-54971%
550-59951%
600-64931%
650-69915%
700-7495%
750-7992%
800-8501%

Title: Step Six – Pay On Time

Paying on time is KEY to ensuring your increase and keep your credit scores in tact.

For this reason, I usually work with my top tier clients on budgeting at this point.

I want you to do the same. Using the following spreadsheet, create a budget to ensure that your monthly income fully covers your monthly expenses.

Cut whatever expenses you can to pay your financial obligations on time. Once you’ve cut everything you can, start brainstorming and enacting ideas to bring in additional income.

Budget_-_Current___Goal.xls

Title: Step Six – Review Your Positive Info

Most people will only address the negative items on their credit reports.

I want you to make sure you are paying attention to your Positive Open Accounts as well. 

  • Is the right account reporting?
  • Is the correct credit limit reporting? High balance? Balance due?
  • Is the loan type correct? Responsibility? Payment history? Last Payment date? Payment status? Terms?

Review it all!

YOU DO NOT WANT DELETIONS ON POSITIVE ACCOUNTS!!! You Want an Update.

This can be resolved by a simple phone call to the creditors, followed up by a letter. And/or a letter to the credit bureaus detailing the error and asking for an UPDATE.


You also don’t want to touch errors that are helping your score, here’s an example:

This account was closed on February 26, 2012 yet has positive payment history through July 2015. Leave it be.

Title: Step Six – Open Positive Accounts/Rebuild

Don’t have any Positive Open Accounts? You need some. That’s the only way you can improve your scores.

Credit Cards are the way to go if you don’t have any or only 1 credit account reporting. Just having student loans or a car note won’t do. Credit cards are supreme when looking to Rock Your FICO.

Review “What to Consider When Applying For A Credit Card”(below) and feel free to utilize the credit card comparison sheet when making your decision.

You’re going to want a mix of at least 3 credit cards and 1 installment loan (student loans, car, personal loan, mortgage, etc).

Downloadable: Applying_For_a_Credit_Card.pdf

Credit Card Usage:

When rebuilding, it is imperative to keep all of your credit card balances below 10%. While disputing and obtaining new forms of credit, your scores are sensitive to higher balances and will tank significantly (yes even more).

For those of you with scores below 550, secured credit cards are the way to go. Here is my list of no credit check credit cards, my preferences are First Progress and Open Sky: No Credit Check Secured Credit Cards.

Option #2 for an easy to qualify for secured card is the Credit Builder Card.

You’ll keep these cards for no more than 11mths and will apply for another card: Capital One, Credit One, or First Premier (my least favorite) when your scores start to move up (use the Attachment below). Capital One and Credit One have a prequalification feature; start there, and if you aren’t matched to a card of their’s don’t apply. It is okay to have 2 secured credit cards as well until your scores improve.

I also have 2 merchant account cards that I use as well, they both require a minimum of a 500 credit score. Their other requirements are available by clicking the links here: Hutton Chase and My Jeweler.

Both Options are Gateway Cards. Gateway cards you keep for 11-15 months and use to soar your scores. They will both give you a credit limit of 1500-6000, and you can only spend that limit at their online merchant stores. You will never be late. You will only spend a small amount. You do not need to make a purchase on it every month; simply every 5-6mths (so twice during the time that you have it), and will use it as a tool to obtain better credit card options. Once you have 2-3 better cards under your belt, you will cancel the card (this usually happens at the 11mth mark).

If your scores are between 550 to 580, consider a sub-prime card such as Credit One or First Premier. These cards have high interest rates and high fees, and I absolutely abhor them. I had to apply for them myself when I was rebuilding after applying for bankruptcy (read more about that here). The point is, they’re a tool. You do not keep them for a long time, you use them to get to better credit options – thus the term ‘gateway card’. 

Fingerhut’s Fresh Start program is great for those who can’t come up with the funds for a secured card as well. 

At this score range, you can try Capital One and a secured card with your credit union as well.If you need a secured credit builder loan, credit unions are excellent for this too. 

Self Lender is another lender that offers credit builder loans. If you qualify for a loan with Self Lender, the money is kept in an FDIC-insured CD account until you repay the debt.

There is an administrative fee to apply for this loan and the interest rates can be as high as 14.77% APR, so read the fine print. If you have any questions, their customer services is great.

After the loan is paid off, they’ll give you the option of:

  • Cash out your CD worth $1,101.10
  • Roll it over into another CD
  • Get another credit builder loan

You will not need a personal loan with a credit union or Self Lender unless you don’t have any open installment loans on your credit (this includes student loans).

Below is another form I’ve listed to assist you in identifying products at your credit score range.

Any questions, post them to the group! 🙂

Downloadable: Card_to_Match_Your_FICO.pdf

Title: Step 6 – Amount Owed

Successfully mastering The Amount Owed category can boost your score in 30 days or less. This is because creditors submit information on our accounts with the bureaus on a monthly basis, sometimes more. 

So, if we are able to make changes that positively impact this area, we will see the results as soon as our creditor updates it. Amount Owed accounts for 30% of your FICO score, so it’s right up there with Payment History. Most of this category is based on your debt-to-credit utilization, which is how much of your credit limit you have spent.

As I’ve mentioned, Credit Cards hold the most weight here! 

As an example, if you have a $1000 credit card limit and you’ve spent $900 of it, your utilization is 90%, which is waaay too high! Ideally you want your charges to be below 10% of your total credit limit. Using the $1000 credit card example above, that would be $100 and below.

Keep in mind utilization is calculated two ways – per card/account, and the average of all of your accounts. If you have accounts that are over the 10% threshold, here are the 7 tools that I use to soar scores up to 50 points in 30 days:

1. Work on a debt payoff strategy to bring the utilization percentage down, yes this can happen in 30 days or less with a good, solid spending plan – DO NOT CLOSE ANY ACCOUNTS UNTIL THE BALANCE OF ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS (credit cards) ARE AT $0.

2. If you know your utilization will be high due to a vacation or unexpected charges you had to make on the card, Pay Before the Reporting Date (call them to find out this date). If you do this, the high utilization will not report on your credit.

3. Ask for a credit line increase. This will increase your credit limit. If you increase your credit limit, then the utilization will decrease. Using the example above, the credit card limit is $1000, the charges are $900. If you obtain an increase to $2000, your utilization is now 45% versus 90%; still high but MUCH better. You’ll see a boost in your score as soon as the creditor reports your updated account information, which in most cases is less than 30 days.

Tips to Negotiating a Lower Interest Rate:

  • Look for a card with a lower interest rate first (I love Magnifymoney.com and Bankrate.com)
  • Call your credit card provider
  • Use your new rate as leverage when negotiating with your current credit card provider. Be polite. Be persistent. Escalate the call if you have to in order to speak with the authority to make the final decision. If you have to try every month until they lower it, do so.
  • This will not work if you do not make timely payments on the card.

4. Transfer the Balance. If you obtain a card with a 0% interest rate for 12mths or more, you’ll achieve 2 things.

(A) More Credit, so just like above, you’ll be increasing the amount of available credit in the average utilization calculation.

(B) You have an opportunity to transfer your other credit card debts over to a new card, which means you’ll be paying 0% interest on it and can pay it off faster. (Make sure to review the terms in full, paying careful attention to the fees involved in transferring the balance(s) over. You can also transfer the balance by obtaining a personal loan to pay off the cards either partially or completely. You’ll be able to immediately bring down your utilization, and thus increase your score. Just make sure the numbers make sense. You wouldn’t want to have a 9% credit card, and obtain a 15% personal loan just to boost your scores. My personal preferences are Prosper {min. credit scores of 650 req’d, affiliate}, Lending Club, Avant, Springleaf (watch the interest rates!, min. credit scores of 550 req’d, affiliate), One Main (again watch the interest rates, min. credit score of 600 req’d).

If you do decide to do a balance transfer, do not cancel the original card. Keep it open because it’s contributing to your utilization and the age of your credit history.

5. Open A New Account. By applying for another credit card account you immediately improve your utilization. I’ve had clients with super high utilization apply for an increase on their current credit cards and apply for new forms of credit to reduce their utilization; thereby increasing their scores. If you are not able to get approved for an increase or another card with a large enough credit limit consider a Merchant Account – discussed previously, but let’s explore some more :).

Merchant accounts allow you to have large credit limits reporting to your credit and have super lenient approval requirements. You can only use the cards on their online store, but the mere appearance of them on your credit report is great for your utilization. Here are 2 merchant accounts that I am affiliated with, FDIC insured, super easy approval guidelines.

The key is to keep these type of cards for 11 Months so that you won’t have to pay the annual fees again, if you have to keep it longer and it’s helping your scores, great. BUT make sure to continue to use it for the positive credit reporting while you make strides to pay down debts, and/or rebuild using better forms of credit:

You can click on the name of the cards for additional info on their website. MyJewelersClub: Reports to all 3 credit bureaus, up to $5000 credit limit reporting, processing fee of $99, minimum order of $100 on first order, 50% payment required on this order. I tell my clients to charge ONCE, pay it off, and never charge on it again for the 11 months that they keep it. The only reasons for denial are active bankruptcy that has not been discharged, unpaid child supports and excessive IRS tax lien(s).

Hutton Chase: Reports to all 3 credit bureaus, $1500 credit limit, (more info found at cards.mnhcreditsolutions.com)

Title: Step Six – Increase Your Age

To improve your length of age don’t open a lot of new accounts too soon, it has to be spaced out accordingly. The #1 mistake I see people make is to apply for a lot of credit cards once their scores start to increase; it must be strategic. 

The plan I gave you for rebuilding your scores is just that, a plan. If you do not need another credit card, don’t get one. If you do not need another loan, don’t get one. If a store is offering you a 30% discount for a credit card, think of what you went through to rebuild your credit – the patience, the work, the disputing – is that 30% worth that drop in your scores? I’m hoping you said no. 

Next, keep non-subprime accounts open. Remember, subprime cards are all of the ‘gateway cards’ that I listed in the Amount Owed section. 

If a card has high interest rates and high fees and the credit card issuer is not willing to reduce/eliminate them, it’s time to close the account. The key is to close them when all accounts are at $0. I have a post on how to close accounts without harming your scores here: How to Close Your Credit Cards.


Another tip to improving credit age is Piggybacking.

Credit piggybacking is when you are added as an authorized user on another person’s account.

As an authorized user, you will gain all of their credit card history, payments, utilization – all of it! So, if you decide to use this method think carefully on how well that person manages the account you’re looking to be added to:

  • Make sure the card is at least 3 years old – older if you have newer credit, at least 5-8yrs old.
  • Make sure the card has a low balance.
  • Make sure the card has perfect payment history.
  • Make sure the credit card issuer reports the authorized user accounts to the 3 credit bureaus. 
  • Reassure the person you’re asking to be an authorized user on knows they do not have to give you a credit card account, you just want the good history :).
  • Make sure they know that you are not responsible for paying their debt on the account.*
  • Make sure they know that your credit will not negatively impact their credit in any way.

*If the account you are an authorized user on goes into a negative status, all you have to do is have yourself removed from the account and ensure the bureaus remove the account from your reports as well.

The best authorized user accounts come from close friends and family members, however, there are some companies that you can purchase them from. I trust 3 companies:

  • SuperiorTradelines.com
  • CallCreditPro.com
  • Boostmyscores.net

Ensure you are aware of ALL the terms prior to going this route, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a trade line unless you are close to purchasing something and the boost in scores is worth the investment.


Review your Age of Accounts (found on your credit reports). Is there anyone that can add you on as an authorized user? It doesn’t haur to ask! 

Age is only 15% of our credit scores, however, it’s usually the main reason a person can climb into the 800s.

As you can see, those with excellent credit scores have much older accounts on their credit reports. This does not mean that those with accounts less than 25 years of age can’t get there, but on average, most of those with excellent credit scores do have older accounts on their credit reports.

Title: Credit Mix & New Credit Takeaways

Credit Mix

The main thing to remember here is not to go into debt trying to ‘mix it up’. If you have mostly credit cards, yes a personal loan will provide you with a nice mix of credit, especially if you make timely payments.

However, can your budget afford another monthly expense? More importantly, do you need another credit account. I feel so many people get caught up on watching the scores that they fail to watch out for the King – CASH MONEY, aka Your Budget!

If you must mix it up, do not spend the money. Put it up in an account, adding a little more for interest, and have the payments for the loan come out of that account automatically. That way you are mixing up your credit without adding to your debt load.


New Credit

Inquires make up the bulk of this section, and the reason why you don’t have an action guide for removal is because they make up less than 10% of your scores. I personally only dispute inquires that:

1. Are less than 6 months old

2. That are not tied to an active open account

3. My client does not want to have an account with the company for at least 3+ years.

Why?

When you dispute inquiries, you are saying that a company gained access to your credit files without your permission; this is against the law (FCRA). So in essence, you are accusing them of breaking the law.

If you have an account open with them, why will they want to keep it open? They gave you credit/funding based on your credit profile, when you gave them permission when you completed an application; now you’re accusing them of breaking the law?

If you don’t have an account with the creditor associated with the inquiry now, but you want one in the future, the creditor may deny you in the future. I mean, you did accuse them of breaking the law, remember? If you apply when you’re a good credit risk, they may approve you but will require additional documentation before doing so – i.e. a signed statement, physical signed application, notarized documents, etc. 

Remember, inquiries are called the ‘5th factor’ for a reason. Focus on the big stuff to Rock Your FICO!

Title: My FICO Guide

File is in FICO – Demystified & Step Six folder – File name is myFICO_UYFS_Booklet

*Responding to Responses – Step Seven

Title: 2nd Round of Disputes – General Rule of Thumb

Did an account you disputed come back ‘verified’?

Take that ‘verified’ with a grain of salt. Remember, it’s all automated, and all they did was send a code to the creditor’s computer, and a code was sent back. That’s it! How is that a reasonable investigation, and further, how does that verify anything?

This is why you move on to your next dispute, namely Round 2.

NOTE: If you have created your next set of dispute letters to mail out, disputing the next set of negative items on your account, go ahead and mail those out; that way you have time to carefully craft your Round 2 action plan.


General Rule of Thumb:

If a credit bureau verifies an item, you can

A. Send them a Method of Verification (MOV) letter found in your dispute letter package, and described in the Dispute Boss section.

B. If a generic response is sent back, send them a 609 letter (PULEEZ personalize this letter, as with any template you get better results this way)

C.  Dispute with the entity reporting the information – collection agency, courthouse (read public record action guide), original creditor to see if they can validate/investigate the account (remember the rules in your action guide, check SOL, gauge the level of impact the error has, etc.)

Here’s an example:

I dispute a collection account with the credit bureaus first. It comes back verified.

I then sent a validation letter to the collection agency, confirming receipt first via the signature confirmation and then immediately mail a Method of Investigation letter to the credit bureaus.

You want to see if 1. the item was investigated properly, according to FCRA guidelines by the credit bureaus, and 2. if the collection agency has the proof they need to collect on the debt — More info on this in your Collection action guide.

Here’s another example:

You disputed the balance on a charge off and it came back as verified. You noticed the past due date is off by a couple of months as well. You send the creditor an investigative letter requesting payment history on the account to prove you that the balance is inaccurate.

You THEN send a second letter in disputing the dates on the account. Remember what happens when you send a validation letter to a collection agency OR an investigative letter to the original creditor? They can’t verify anything with the bureaus until the investigation on the account is complete. So, by disputing another error on the account, you prevent the bureaus from ‘verifying’ it with the entity reporting.

NOTE: If the credit bureaus do send you a verification response, you now have a bonafide VIOLATION on your hands and this is leverage!

Violations means the ball was dropped, the law was broken, you have proof, and you want this account deleted. Submit proof, mail & fax this proof to the credit bureaus at their regular disputing and legal address (provided in the dispute boss section). File complaints if you need to.

So, You Choose!

After reviewing your Responding to Responses video and downloading the corresponding Action Guide AND reviewing the action guide for the account you are trying to remove, you should have your plan of action in place.

When in doubt, just send a Method of Investigation letter to the bureaus, and a validation letter to a Collection Agency.

Title: Action Guide – Responding to Responses

File is in Responding to Responses folder – File name is Responding to Responses.pdf

*Dispute Boss!

Title: Method of Verification (MOV) – Examples

There are some examples of a Method of Verification in your Dispute Letter package, but I wanted to give you a couple more tips.

1. A basic MOV will simply state:

“I am requesting the method of verification, including the name, address and telephone number of the person who furnished this information to you.”

The bureaus will typically send a generic response and you’ll send a follow up letter: 

“On (date of MOV letter) I requested you to send me your method of investigation, including the name & address of the entity/person who furnished it to you during your investigation. You have failed to provide me with the information, as mandated in the FCRA. Please delete this account immediately or I’ll have no choice but to file complaints with the FTC (or avoid civil liability).”


Then there’s a more lengthy MOV dispute:

“Explain exactly how you completed your investigation, because the error is still there! Did you speak with the creditor on the phone? Who did you speak with? What documentation did they provide you that proves the accuracy of the account? Please provide me with the date of first delinquency on the account, which you should have record of.

Do not give me some canned or generic response to this letter, especially since the error is still reporting! I have attached detailed documentation that proves so. 

if you refuse to comply with this request I will aggressively pursue my rights, starting with filing a complaint to the FTC.”

Title: Bureau Addresses for Address Shuffle Method

Equifax Information Services, LLC, 

P.O. Box 740256, 740241, 740256, 105873, 105788; Atlanta, GA 30374

 Legal Dept, Address: PO Box 740193, Atlanta GA 30374-0196

Transunion LLC,

P.O. Box 2000, 1000, Chester, PA 19022-2000

PO Box 34012 Fullerton CA 92831

Legal Dept Address: 555 West Adams, Chicago, IL 60661

Experian’s National Consumer Assistance Center

 P.O. Box 4500, 9600, 2104, 2002, 9595, 9556, 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Legal Dept. Address: 701 Experian Parkway, Allen TX 7501-1240

Title: Letters – Knock Out, Estoppel, 609 Letter Package

Knock Out Letter:

Reference # (account #):

Dear (name of debt collector; or Collection Representative):

I must decline your invitation to do business. Return this account to whomever asked you to invite me to pay whatever it is you are attempting to collect.

If you feel there is some written agreement between us that gives you the authority to force me to do business with you, please produce a copy of that agreement.

Otherwise, cease and desist all attempts to collect and return account to whomever you received it from.

Sincerely,

Estoppel by Silence Letter & 609 Letter is attached 🙂

Title: Tips for Filing A Complaint

FTC

FTC Complaints can be made to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

You can also send a written complaint to your regional office (locations on the FTC website)

BBB

The BBB complaint should always be enacted after attempting to resolve the issue with the company first. You file a BB complaint to get to a higher officer in the company, to take note of any violations, difficulties with a staff member or a particular location, or simply to have a more favorable response to your dispute from someone with true power in the company.

Customer service complaints work wonders with BBB complaints.

You start a BBB complaint here: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-com…

Your State Attorney General

The attorney general can either contact the creditor and intervene on your behalf or take a complaint and investigate. You must know what you want prior to contacting them.

AG complaints are good when a violation has occurred, especially if it was a state law that was broken; when you have been abused by a company while they were marketing services/products in your state; or when you simply aren’t getting anywhere with your dispute tactics and there is a factual error in place. The key is to keep everything 100% factual.

To file a complaint, you’d need to go to your state’s attorney general’s office website; Google is your friend :).

With any complaint you want to state:

  • What happened, what was the violation, the offense, etc
  • How you initially attempted to resolve the issue with the company
  • Proof how you tried to resolve it, if applicable
  • What you want happen next
  • Reason/Logic behind why it is in the company’s best interest to give you what you want

And also, be kind. This is not the time to be attitudinal, rude or basically act a butt. You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar (in layman’s term, be kind, act as a worried, concerned, stressed, confused consumer in need of assistance).

Title: Other Advanced Credit Tip – Use Case Law

Use Case Law!

I’ve quoted some in this course, and it’s simple to search for a particular company/credit bureau that you are having issues with to see if there is a previous lawsuit that proves your case. Here are some websites that I search:

Cornell University Law School

California Legislative Information

Lexis Total Research System

Westlaw

FindLaw

Google Scholar

California Courts

Here are some popular ones that can be searched on the above sites, AND googled to see how they were used in disputing negative accounts on your credit reports:

FCRA

JENNIFER CUSHMAN, v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION

LINDA JOHNSON v. MBNA AMERICA BANK, NA

TOBY D. NELSON, v. CHASE MANHATTAN MORTGAGE CORP

JUDY C. THOMAS v. TRANS UNION LLC

TRW INC, v. ADELAIDE ANDREWS

FDCPA

CURTIS BARTLETT, V. JOHN A. HEIBL

GEORGE W. HEINTZ, v. DARLENE JENKINS

JAMES C. MAHON, v. CREDIT BUREAU OF PLACER COUNTY INCORPORATED

NIELSEN v. DICKERSON, et al

GREG A. SPEARS, v. TIMOTHY L. BRENNAN

LARRY SPROUSE V. CITY CREDITORS COMPANY

EXAMPLE OF MOV WITH CASE LAW:

Date

Transunion

PO Box 1000

Chester, PA 19016

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is a formal request for the description of the procedure used to verify the accuracy and completeness of the attached previously disputed items. The attached items have been disputed with the creditor. Please include the business name, address and the telephone number of any furnisher of information contacted in this reinvestigation in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act section 611 (a) (7). I must have the information requested within 30 days of your receipt of this request.

It is at this time that I will point out that in Cushman v Trans Union, Stevenson v. TRW (Experian) and Richardson v. Equifax, el al, the courts ruled each and every time that the CRA couldn’t merely, “parrot” information from the creditors and the collection agencies…that they have to conduct an independent and reasonable investigation to ensure the validity of the debt and the honesty/integrity of the creditor in question. Sending out a generic form does not contain my reason for the dispute is not reasonable.

It is my hope that you will initiate an investigation regarding my disputes without any legal action. Each violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows damages of $ 1,000 should this matter end up in court.

Sincerely,

Name

Title: FTC Staff Opinion Letters On The FCRA

Links for the FTC opinion letters below 🙂

Section 603(b)Definition of “person”Allison (02-23-98)Section 603(d)(1)Definition of “consumer report” (general)Buchman (03-02-98)Schieber (03-03-98)Goeke (06-09-98)Beaudette (06-09-98)Islinger (06-09-98)Poquette (06-09-98)Lewis (06-11-98)Halpern (06-11-98)Slyter (06-12-98)Hinkle (07-09-98 )Haner (08-27-98)Leathers (09-09-98)Tabler (10-27-98)Sum (09-15-99)
Section 603(d)(2)Definition of “consumer report” (exclusions)Islinger (06-09-98)Hinkle (07-09-98 )Pickett (07-10-98)Kelley (07-16-98)Novak (09-09-98)
Section 603(e)Definition of “investigative consumer report”Hinkle (07-09-98)Willner (03-25-99)Vail (04-05-99)Meisinger (08-31-99)Fischel (10-01-99)
Section 603(f)Definition of “consumer reporting agency”Cast (10-27-97)Goeke (06-09-98)LeBlanc (06-09-98)Islinger (06-09-98)Copple (06-10-98)Slyter (06-12-98)Lee (06-26-98)Pickett (07-10-98)Leathers (09-09-98)Throne (11-20-98)Vail (04-05-99)Meisinger (08-31-99)Sum (09-15-99)
Section 603(h)Definition of “employment purposes”Allison (02-23-98)Greathouse (10-20-98)Solomon (10-27-98)
Section 603(k)Definition of “adverse action”Schieber (03-03-98)Greathouse (10-20-98)Hall (10-26-98)Spritz (11-05-98)Vail (04-05-99)Gowen (04-29-99)
Section 603(m)Definition of “credit or insurance that is not initiated by the consumer”Gowen (04-29-99)Section 603(o)Definition of “consumer report” (exception for employment agencies)Basting (06-11-98)Hahn (07-08-98)
Section 603(p)Definition of “consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis”Cohan (06-29-99)
Section 604(a)Permissible purposes for which an CRA may furnish a consumer report
Section 604(a)(2)Written authorization of consumerShibley (06-08-99)Landever (10-12-99)
Section 604(a)(3)(A)Credit transactionCoffey (02-11-98)Bauchner (08-05-98)Throne (11-20-98)Gowen (04-29-99)Benner (04-30-99)Woolford (08-06-99)Landever (10-12-99)
Section 604(a)(3)(B)Employment purposesRoss (09-02-98)Greathouse (10-20-98)
Section 604(a)(3)(C)Underwriting of insuranceBuchman (03-02-98)Greathouse (10-20-98)
Section 604(a)(3)(D)Grant of license or benefit by governmental instrumentalityGreathouse (10-20-98)
Section 604(a)(3)(F)Legitimate business needCoffey (02-11-98)Buchman (03-02-98)Kaiser (07-16-98)Greenblatt (10-27-98)Gowen (04-29-99)Benner (04-30-99)Shibley (06-08-99)Section 604(a)(4-5)Child support purposesBaughn (04-30-99)Woolford (08-06-99)
Section 604(b)Consumer reports for employment purposesAllison (02-23-98)Rosen (06-09-98)Beaudette (06-09-98)Lewis (06-11-98)Hauxwell (06-12-98)Slyter (06-12-98)Pickett (07-10-98)
Section 604(b)(1)User certification requirements; CRA obligation to provide summary of rightsHahn (12-23-97)Kilgo (07-28-98)
Section 604(b)(2)Pre-report disclosure to consumer by employer; authorization by consumerSteer (10-21-97)Solganik (10-23-97)Hawkey (12-18-97)Coffey (02-11-98)Brisch (06-11-98)Hauxwell (06-12-98)Slyter (06-12-98)Kilgo (07-28-98)James (08-05-98)Leathers (09-09-98)Willner (03-25-99)Fischel (10-01-99)
Section 604(b)(3)Employer pre-adverse action reportcopy and summary of rights to consumerWeisberg (06-27-97)Solganik (10-23-97)Hawkey (12-18-97)Coffey (02-11-98)Rosen (06-09-98)Brisch (06-11-98)Lewis (06-11-98)Hahn (07-08-98)Hinkle (07-09-98)Leathers (09-09-98)Solomon (10-27-98)Willner (03-25-99)Vail (04-05-99)Meisinger (08-31-99)
Section 604(c)(1)(A)Reports for non-consumer-initiated credit or insurance transactionsBuchman (03-02-98)
Section 605Information contained in consumer reportsSection 605(a)(1)Time limits: BankruptciesAnonymous (11-05-99)
Section 605(a)(4): Section 605(c)Time limits: Charge-off and collection accountsJohnson (08-31-98)Kosmerl (06-04-99)
Section 605(a)(5)Time limits: Reporting adverse information (general)Seham (04-17-98)Goeke (06-09-98)Nadell (12-10-98)Rosen (06-04-99) Sum (09-15-99)Holland (12-16-99)
Section 605(a)(5)(repealed 11-02-98)Time Limits: Records of arrest, indictment, or convictionRosen (06-09-98)Halpern (06-11-98)
Section 605(b)Time Limits: Exempted casesSum (09-15-99)
Section 606Investigative consumer report disclosures Allison (02-23-98)Beaudette (06-09-98)Pickett (07-10-98)
Section 606(a)Disclosure of preparation of investigative consumer reportHawkey (12-18-97)Brisch (06-11-98)Hauxwell (06-12-98)Willner (03-25-99)
Section 606(b)Disclosure of nature and scope of reportBrisch (06-11-98)Hauxwell (06-12-98)Willner (03-25-99)
Section 607(a)Reasonable procedures to comply with §§ 604 and 605LeBlanc (06-09-98)Landever (10-12-99)
Section 607(b)Reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracyLovern (04-24-98)LeBlanc (06-09-98)Harris (03-22-99)McCorkell (06-03-99)Watkins (06-24-99)
Section 607(d)Notice to users and furnishersLeBlanc (06-09-98)
Section 607(e)Procurement of reports for resaleGoeke (06-09-98)LeBlanc (06-09-98)Rosen (06-09-98)Beaudette (06-09-98)Benner (04-30-99)
Section 609Disclosures to consumersBeaudette (06-09-98)Lee (06-26-98)
Section 609(a)(1)Information to be disclosedHahn (07-08-98)
Section 609(a)(3)Identification of recipientsLeBlanc (06-09-98)Rosen (06-09-98)Benner (04-30-99)
Section 609(c)Summary of rights to be included with disclosureLeBlanc (06-09-98)Cohan (06-29-99)
Section 610Conditions and form of disclosure to consumersBeaudette (06-09-98)
Section 611(c)Notice of dispute in subsequent reportsEdwards (07-15-98)
Section 612Charges for disclosuresLee (06-26-98)
Section 613Public record information for employment purposesSlyter (06-12-98)Allan (05-05-99)Holland (12-16-99)
Section 615(a)Required notice of adverse action based on a consumer reportWeisberg (06-27-97)Solganik (10-23-97)Cast (10-27-97)Hawkey (12-18-97)Allison (02-23-98)Schieber (03-03-98)Pickett (07-10-98)Everson (07-28-98)Hall (10-26-98)Sheffield (11-10-98)Cohan (06-29-99)
Section 615(b)Required notice of adverse action based on information from a third partyRiddle (03-17-99)
Section 616-617Civil liabilityGreenblatt (10-27-98)
Section 618Statute of limitationsKilgo (07-28-98)
Section 621Administrative enforcementGreenblatt (10-27-98)
Section 623(a)(1)Duty of furnishers to provide accurate informationJaffe (07-17-98)Watkins (06-24-99)
Section 623(a)(2)Duty of furnishers to correct and update informationHarris (03-22-99)
Section 623(a)(3)Duty of furnishers to provide notice of disputeHarvey (12-23-97)
Section 623(a)(5)Duty of furnishers to provide date of delinquency on charge-off, collection or similar accountsHarvey (12-23-97)Gillespie (03-10-98)Johnson (08-31-98)Kosmerl (06-04-99)
Section 623(c)Liability of furnishersWatkins (06-24-99)

Title: FTC Staff Opinion Letters On The FDCPA

Links for the FTC opinion letteres below 🙂

Section 803(2) [1692a(2)]Definition of “communication”Gibson (07-13-94)LaScuola (05-17-94)Jones (12-30-92)Novak (10-08-92)Section 803(3) [1692a(3)]Definition of “consumer”Goff (12-13-93)Section 803(4) [1692a(4)]Definition of “creditor”Fedele (08-30-96)Pratt (09-16-93)Goeringer (09-15-93)Zepkin (09-13-93)
Section 803(5) [1692a(5)]Definition of “debt”Chesworth (09-16-97)Cutter (12-13-96)Green (09-17-96)Dempsey (09-13-96)Samuels (06-26-95)Evans (08-12-93)Palmer (08-27-92)Dunn (08-17-92)
Section 803(6) [1692a(6)]Definition of “debt collector”LeVine (03-20-98)Stanley (09-13-96)Fortney (09-13-96)Bergstrom (11-17-95)Goodacre (11-06-95)Arbuckle (12-22-93)Zepkin (09-16-93)Goeringer (09-15-93)Cardonick (05-17-93)Isgrigg (12-22-92)Zager (11-10-92)Isgrigg (11-10-92)Novak (10-08-92)Masters (09-10-92)LoPresti (05-04-92)
Section 803(6)(A) [1692a(6)(A)]Creditor exemptionZepkin (09-16-93)Goeringer (09-15-93)Cardonick (05-17-93)
Section 803(6)(B) [1692a(6)(B)]Affiliates exemptionFeldman (03-23-94)
Section 803(6)(C) [1692a(6)(C)]Government agency exemptionMezines (05-17-94)Willison (07-15-93)
Section 803(6)(F) [1692a(6)(F)]Collecting for another exemptionFarmer (08-30-96)
Section 803(6)(F)(iii) [1692a(6)(F)(iii)]Debt purchaser exemptionFortney (09-13-96)Cardonick (05-17-93)Torkildson (11-09-92)Sheehan (08-31-92)
Section 804 [1692b]Acquiring location informationCharest (09-13-96)
Section 805(b) [1692c(b)]Communications with third partiesJones (12-30-92)Borowski (11-06-92)Zbrzeznj (09-21-92)Fisher (08-19-92)
Section 806(3) [1692d(3)]Publishing lists of consumersMezines (05-17-94)
Section 807(1) [1692e(1)]Misrepresenting affiliation with governmentCrouch (09-10-96)Burwell (08-11-92)
Section 807(2)(A) [1692e(2)(A)]Misrepresenting legal status of debtMezines (05-17-94)
Section 807(3) [1692e(3)]Impersonating an attorneyChalled (05-16-94)Douglass (11-26-93)
Section 807(5) [1692e(5)]False threats of legal actionDouglass (11-26-93)
Section 807(9) [1692e(9)]Misrepresenting affiliationChesworth (09-16-97)Douglass (11-26-93)
Section 807(10) [1692e(10)]DeceptionLaScuola (05-17-94)Challed (05-16-94)Douglass (11-26-93)LoPresti (05-04-92)
Section 807(11) [1692e(11)]Disclosing collection purposeGamache (07-15-97)Kramer (11-13-96)Stewart (01-05-93)Zager (11-10-92)
Section 807(14) [1692e(14)]True business nameBergstrom (11-17-95)LaScuola (05-17-94)Zager (11-10-92)
Section 807(16) [1692e(16)]Impersonating a credit bureauIsgrigg (12-22-92)Isgrigg (11-10-92)
Section 808(1) [1692f(1)]Illegal chargesGibson (07-13-94)Wilson (05-13-94)Matthews (05-17-93)
Section 809 [1692g]Debt validationCass (12-23-97)Berger (05-29-97)Pavelka (05-18-94)Castle (06-13-95)Isgrigg (12-22-92)Novak (10-08-92)
Section 809(a) [1692g(a)]Notice of validation rightsBerger (05-29-97)Kroft (03-08-96)Miller (05-13-94)Halverson (11-15-93)Stewart (01-05-93)Zager (11-10-92)
Section 809(b) [1692g(b)]Validation of the debtBergstrom (11-17-95)Berger (05-29-97)Wollman (03-10-93)Krisor (03-03-92)
Section 811 [1692i]Inconvenient forumsKrisor (02-10-94)Halverson (11-15-93)Zepkin (09-16-93)Masters (09-10-92)
Section 812 [1692j]Furnishing deceptive formsBeekman (12-13-96)
Section 816 [1692n]Relation to State lawsPratt (07-22-92)

*Step Eight

Title: Who Can You Sue and What Can You Sue For?

Attached is a document that details who you can sue and what you can sue for. To summarize:

Invalid Lawsuits Would Be:

• This collection is not mine because the insurance company was supposed to take care of it.

• The collection agency wouldn’t take my calls and I couldn’t work out a settlement agreement.

• I sent in paperwork proving that this collection was my sister’s debt, not mine on <date>. They still wouldn’t take it off my credit report.

• I told the collection agency over the phone to stop contacting me and they still called and wrote me.

• I sent a debt validation letter to a collection agency and they didn’t get back to me in 30 days. So, why aren’t the above reasons valid?

• This is not a legal argument, but a narrative of the chain of events. No laws violated or contracts breached.

• Collection agency doesn’t have to settle with you or take your calls under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

• Collection agency does not have to use information sent in before <date> to investigate disputes.

• Collection agencies must be notified in writing to cease communication. Verbal requests do not have to be honored.

• Collection agencies do not have to respond to debt validation requests, ever. However, if they do not validate the debt, they cannot continue collection activities. In addition, the debt validation request must be sent in within 30 days of the initial written notification of the debt.

Valid Lawsuits Would Be:

You will notice in the examples below, valid bases for a lawsuit is shown because specific laws violated are cited.

• I wrote a letter to a collection agency asking them to cease communication and they still kept calling and writing me. This is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Section 805 (c).

• Citibank Account Number XXXXXXX was removed from my credit report on <date>. Then on <date> the account was reinserted on my Experian Credit report. Experian never notified me, in writing or otherwise of the reinsertion. This is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 611 (a) (5)(A)(i).

Fines and Damages Depending on Which Law You Are Citing

FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are allowed to ask for $1,000 per violation. For example, if a collection agency is reporting negative information erroneously on Experian, Trans Union and Equifax, this is $1,000 per credit bureau, or $3,000 total. You can also ask for attorney’s fees.

FDCPA – Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, you are allowed to ask for $1,000 per account. For example, if a collection agency repeatedly calls and harasses you, no matter how many times they do it, this is a single violation. You can also ask for actual damages: damages resulting from missed lower interest rates on loans, pain and suffering, etc. Most judges do not have to award you $1,000 per violation of the FDCPA, they are allowed to award up to $1,000.

State Consumer Laws It is to your advantage to look up and cite your state consumer laws regarding collection agencies. In some cases, you are able to collect more money under state statutes, or sometimes multiply the maximum federal fines. In other cases, citing a state law will prevent a judge from trying to get you to move your case to Federal Court.

Title: Remove the “In Dispute” Code 

When you dispute an account the credit bureaus code it as “In Dispute” which effectively pulls parts of the account out of the FICO scoring model.If you are looking to purchase a home, no accounts can be left with the “in dispute” code. The lender will not proceed with approving you for your loan until you have taken the account(s) out of dispute.
Keep in mind, removing the account in dispute makes it more difficult for the account to be disputed again in the future. So, if you are not done attempting to remove it, AND you are not seeking home ownership right now, you may want to leave it alone until you are positive you will not be disputing it again in the near future.
`First Letter to Credit Bureaus AND Creditor:To whom it may concern,The account [Account Number] that has been disputed with the credit bureaus and with you directly. The items previously disputed on this account are no longer in dispute.Please take this account out of dispute with you and with the credit bureaus. At this time I have no other claims against the accuracy of this account, this account is no longer in dispute.Please send me confirmation that you have received this notice to close the dispute on this account as well as documentation that this account has been taken out of dispute.Thank you,


2nd Request:To whom it may concern,On [Account in Dispute Date1] I had sent you a request to remove this account from the in dispute” status. I just reviewed my credit report and this was NOT handled properly.You are now reporting this account inaccurately and violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is my final request for this account to be removed out of dispute, my next steps will be to file a complaint with the CFPB. Leaving this account in the “Dispute” status is adversely affecting my credit report and scores, this is needs to be correctedimmediately.Thank you,
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