We have warned for years that credit repair services can harm consumers. Some credit repair companies falsely promise consumers that they can remove negative but accurate information from their credit reports. Such scams often cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year for no meaningful long-term benefit.
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent out an advisory to consumers, reminding them that some have the right to cancel credit repair services. The announcement follows a proposed settlement between the CFPB and two of the country’s largest credit repair companies, Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com. The settlement would impose a $2.7 billion—with a “b—judgement on the companies for collecting illegal advance fees for credit repair through telemarketing.
The CFPB advisory says that some Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com customers will receive an email advising them of their rights. It states, “….you have the right to terminate your credit repair services at any time and for any reason (or no reason at all),” with no penalty.
The CFPB’s recent actions to curb credit repair scams are welcome and important first steps for consumers. We will continue to work with the CFPB and other agencies to hold credit repair companies that abuse consumers accountable.
Meanwhile, it can be tempting for consumers to offload the work of fixing their credit reports to a credit repair company. It’s also important to know what they can and can’t do on their before subjecting themselves to credit repair companies’ fees and potentially fraudulent promises.
If a consumer reviews their credit report and finds their personal information to be inaccurate or incomplete, they may file a dispute online with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The dispute process is an important tool to notify credit bureaus about any data that may have been furnished inaccurately.
Whichever route consumers take, it’s important to know how to spot red flags when it comes to credit repair. Visit cdiaonline.org/creditrepair to learn more about how to avoid credit repair scams.
Dan Smith is president & CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), a trade association representing the U.S. consumer reporting industry. At CDIA, Dan is responsible for the leadership, direction, and overall management of the organization. MORE…