I made some bad credit decisions back in 2008 or 2007. A company called The Financial Expert Group, Inc
26650 The Old Road, Suite 110,Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381 is telling me if I pay them $5400 they can make this debt go away for every.
Save your money.
If you think you can pay $5,400 a have bad debt magical disappear without any consequences, you would be mistaken.
I agree, inaccurate information can be removed from a credit report. That’s something you can do yourself for free. All you have to do is get a copy of your consolidated credit report and notify the credit bureaus of information that appears on each credit report that is not accurate.
I did visit the Financial Expert Group website and found what I consider to be some misleading statements. For example, “Our Credit Restoration service is the most popular. It permanently removes derogatory accounts from your personal credit reports such as (Late Payments, Charge-Offs, Collections, Judgments, Bankruptcies, Tax Liens, etc.).” – Source
That gives people the impression that this company has some way to remove accurate but negative information from your credit report. If you actually did that and then went and applied for credit using a false credit report you are committing credit fraud.
Additionally, any company that charges you in advance for credit repair services is in violation of the Credit Repair Organizations Act. No advance fee may be charged. And from their website it looks like an advanced fee may be charged since they say, “Our clients pay on a per-item basis. In the case that we are unable to delete an item by the time your contract expires, you will receive a full-refund* for that item, should you choose for us to stop working on it.” – Source
The company website seems to indicate their approach is to reportedly dispute items in hopes they go away.
The problem with that approach is while the credit bureaus may miss a review date and remove an item, there is nothing to prevent it from being re-reported by the original creditor.
If you want to clean up your credit of inaccurate information and rebuild a better credit score you can do that almost for free just by following the advice below.
Get a Copy of Your Consolidated Credit Report
Get a copy of your consolidated credit report. It is the type of report that includes all the major three credit reports in one report. I only use a consolidated credit report to check my credit and the link will take you to the credit report I use.
Your credit report is like a report card of sorts. You need to look it over and make sure that all the accounts listed on your credit report are yours. If they were not, you need to write to the credit bureaus that are reporting them and tell them they are not your and ask to have them removed. It’s like you looked at your school report card and it listed classes you did not take. They should not be there.
If the rest of the accounts belonged to you but you had a bad track record with them, that information stays on the report just as if you got a D in a class you took. Just because you got a bad grade does not mean the class is removed from a report card.
After seven years the bad credit items will no longer be reported on your credit report. When you look at your consolidated credit report if any of them list negative information longer than the seven year period, then when you write to the credit bureaus to point out any incorrect information, you can tell them about the old items.
Generally the credit bureaus are good about automatically removing the old items.
While you are at it, look for any delinquent accounts that may be younger than seven years old. If you have any, pay them off. The contact information for the creditor will be on your credit report.
I also recommend you get a free account on Credit Karma so you can use the free credit simulator to see how changes to your balances or accounts will improve your credit score. This way you can plan what actions to take first to get the maximum improvement.
Boosting Your Credit Score With Good Credit Using a Secured Card
Using the report card analogy, if you wanted to bring up your GPA you would need to earn some better grades to do it. It is the same with your credit report. If you want to bring your score up you need to start having new and good credit reported about you.
The best way to do this is to get and use a secured credit card. In fact get two different ones. I put together a section of the site that lists reviews for secured cards. Look at the secured cards here.
The advantage of getting a secured card is that you will get the credit card and not get a rejection on your credit report that will further hurt your credit. A rejection can be easily spotted by looking at the inquiry section of your credit report and seeing there is not a corresponding card opened. And with your current bad credit, if you applied for an unsecured card, you would get rejected.
The reason you will get the secured credit card on the first attempt is because you need to put up a deposit with the bank that is equal to your credit limit. The deposit will earn you interest and in the unfortunate event you were unable to pay your card and defaulted, the bank would use your deposit to pay the debt.
When looking for a secured card you want one that will report to all three credit bureaus. This is key. We need your new good payment history reported.
Now when I say use the card, you do not need to carry a balance from month to month. Just use the card for regular purchases and pay the card off either immediately or at the end of the month.
Also, if you get a secured card with a $300 limit, never have more than 35% of the limit on the card. Even though your initial limits may be low, you don’t want to max them out. You can always increase your limits by increasing your deposits. You can increase your credit limit by increasing your deposit with the card company.
I suggest getting more than one card so you can get as much good juice flowing to your credit report without having too many credit cards open. You could actually go with three if you wanted to, but no more than that.
Just make sure the card will report to the credit bureaus.
Who is The Financial Expert Group?
The website for the company (financialexpertgroup.com) says the company is:
The Financial Expert Group is a team of experienced credit experts, knowledgeable support staff and professional customer service representatives who’s only goal is to assist you in improving you credit. – Source
They also list their address as 26650 The Old Road, Suite 110, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381. An online search using this address identified multiple companies. I have no way to confirm independently that this is not a mail drop or shared address.
The company is a registered California corporation since 2002.
Interestingly the owner and administrative contact of the domain name is listed as:
Sunshine World Services
18501 Calle Vista Cir
Porter Ranch, California 91326
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.