Have you ever received one of those emails from your friends that sound too good to be true? Like the one where you can help lower gas prices if you stop buying from one of the big name oil companies? Or if you add your name to the bottom of the list and send to 10 of your friends that Microsoft will donate money to charity and end world hunger?
They sound good. But the reality is that most of them are nothing more than a myth (well, they're also a big pain in the neck, too!).
The "cyber world" is full of myths. Some are fun to believe in. Some can be dangerous to your (or your computer). But the lesson here is that you should NOT believe everything your read online.
A few years ago I was struggling with debt. I tried everything to get out of it. But nothing worked. So after months of research, I decided to use the controversial method known as "debt settlement". You can argue whether you like it or not. And you can easily get ripped off if you're not careful. But for me, it was the right solution at the right time.
But everything I read said that debt settlement will ruin your credit until the end of time (ok, it actually said that it would ruin my credit for 7-10 years, but for some people that can seem like a lifetime).
Being the skeptic that I am, I looked into credit repair. I went to the library and local bookstores. Read lots of horror stories online about people who signed up for various types of debt relief and ended up ruining their credit (and there were lots of them). And read lots of information on the Internet from all the "experts" who said you absolutely could NOT get this stuff removed from your credit report, unless you waited 7-10 years.
And despite the fact that there was apparently no chance it would work, I decided to give it a shot. On my own. Using a simple book I found in a bookstore.
And much to my surprise, within about 18 months, my credit was back to normal!
I didn't do anything illegal.
I didn't do anything unethical.
And I'm certainly no legal expert with special skills.
So all this "crap" I read about ruining my finances by using debt settlement was actually a myth! Well, it is true - if you sit back and let it ruin you. But there are ways to fix your credit without doing anything even close to "shady" or evil or devious.
You may think, "well those are the rules and you just have to play by the rules and wait 7-10 years for your credit to fix itself". And if you do, I commend you.
But at the same time, when I asked the credit card companies for help during my darkest days, they refused.
And trust me, I'm one who always plays by the rules. I always stop at stop signs. I always put on my turn signal. I'm neat and organized to a fault. But I just happened to feel that those credit rules were fair. And to get clean up my credit, it only took one simple action - all I did was ask for the bad credit to be removed. I didn't lie. I didn't cheat. I just asked (the key is HOW you ask).
Here are the 5 truths (and myths) I learned the hard way about fixing credit problems:
1) All bad credit MUST remain on your credit report for 7-10 years. If you sit back and do nothing that is correct. But it doesn't have to stay there that long. You just need to ask the right way to get them removed.
2) And you can't get bad credit removed unless the information is wrong. If anything on your credit report is wrong, you should have it corrected. But even if it is not wrong, you can still ask to have it removed. And if the credit bureaus can't verify it (which I learned that they often cannot) they have to remove it. Nothing unethical at all.
3) Debt relief programs will ruin your credit. If you've got so much debt you can't buy groceries without using your credit cards, then you probably need to focus on getting out of debt, and worry about your credit later on. And if being out of debt improves your life, it will be worth it.
4) You need to hire a lawyer or repair company. These companies might work. But even it they do, they're expensive. And they won't do anything you can't do on your own. If you do decide to use a professional company, make sure to check them out very carefully.
5) Credit repair is unethical - after all, if you messed up, you deserve to pay. True, to some degree. But is charging 20-30% interest, or more, ethical? And is giving another credit card to someone struggling to pay the ones they already have ethical? No. So asking the credit bureaus to remove bad credit isn't unethical either.
So if you've had credit problems in the past, you can do something about it. It takes some effort. There are no "secrets" involved. Just a few well-written letters, and a little persistence. And you can take charge of your finances too!