Have you recently received a letter from LVNV Funding LLC? LVNV Funding is a debt collection agency that purchases debt from creditors all over the country and then attempts to collect it. This may be due to a past debt that you have associated with one of your credit lines. The situation can be confusing...
Hiring a credit repair company is akin to hiring a new employee to work on your project. You’d never conduct the process haphazardly because your time, results, and money matter. Preparing a list of questions to ask credit repair companies may result in better outcomes.
Don’t play nice and worry about a potential repair expert turning you down because you’re too inquisitive. If they want to hide behind a façade by brushing you off, they may be out to scam you.
It’s not that the industry is rife with swindlers as many would have, you believe. Scammers have it tough nowadays with the emergence of strong credit repair brands. Internet users have also become savvier, and there have been efforts from the government to regulate the industry through the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). We will be referencing some of the regulations contained in the CROA as a basis for some of the questions to ask credit restoration services.
Now, you’ll have a list of questions to ask credit repair companies, but when will you get the chance to ask them? Some inquiries pop up frequently in correspondence with clients. That’s why the credit restoration service may have included the answers in their FAQ section.
Let’s get started:
- 1. Where are you located?
- 2. Do you assign a personal advisor?
- 3. How many disputes will you send per dispute cycle?
- 4. Do you offer a service guarantee and what are the conditions?
- 5. Will you offer score tracking and report updates for this package?
- 6. Do you have a legal team to handle challenging disputes?
- 7. Where can I see independent reviews for your company?
- 8. How will I know the best time to cancel?
- 9. When can I expect to see results?
- 10. Do you send creditor interventions or challenges?
- The Bottom Line
1. Where are you located?
It’s a question that can be quickly answered by looking at the website’s footer section and checking their listed physical address. Alternatively, it may be a lead-up question before inquiring if the company offers in-person visits.
Most companies offer online services, with most correspondence handled through phone, email, or live chat. A website with no address should be a warning sign that something may be amiss.
2. Do you assign a personal advisor?
The value of having a personal case adviser cannot be understated. It’s someone that you’ll interact with during the credit repair process. They will be there to answer your phone calls, prepare custom disputes, or offer insights into credit improvement strategies.
3. How many disputes will you send per dispute cycle?
In the recent past, many firms would charge clients based on the number of removals. Nowadays, most services seem to have shifted to monthly billing. For instance, if you have 10 negative items to challenge and the company sends five disputes by dispute cycle, it may take roughly two months to resolve the errors.
Some companies will claim to offer unlimited disputes. However, they will advise you against disputing all errors at once. The reason given is that credit bureaus may label the challenges as frivolous.
When should you ask this question? Well, ask the question when you speak to the customer service rep or after the company conducts a thorough review of your reports to identify all errors. It can give you a rough estimate of how long it may take to clean up your credit.
4. Do you offer a service guarantee and what are the conditions?
Several top firms offer a service guarantee. It entitles customers to receive most of their money, excluding the initial work fee, charged for preparing the first round of disputes.
Ask if the credit repair company offers a guarantee. Additionally, check the eligibility requirements. For instance, you may have signed up for two months only to have no removals. If you try to claim a refund, you may discover that they only issue reimbursements if customers have signed up for 90 days.
Similarly, they may have deleted a few items, but you’re not satisfied with the results. You may try to claim a refund only to discover that a single removal voids the guarantee.
5. Will you offer score tracking and report updates for this package?
When the company is hard at work fixing your credit, you need a way to monitor the progress. Reliable companies provide online customer portals, where it’s easy to track the progress of disputes at any time.
You may also need to track your updated credit reports and new scores. If the company offers monitoring as part of its packages, you won’t need to sign up for a third-party monitoring service. Credit repair packages may also include identity theft protection and insurance, but they are not critical.
The company may provide this information on their pricing page as part of the descriptions for each package. If the information is not clear, ask the customer rep directly.
6. Do you have a legal team to handle challenging disputes?
Some of the oldest credit companies were founded by attorneys, such as Lexington Law, Ovation Credit, and Credit Firm. Owing to the challenging aspect of obtaining successful outcomes at the time, it was often necessary to have the extra-backing of an attorney.
Nowadays, credit bureaus have become more responsive, and take challenges very seriously. However, you may have a legitimate inaccurate item that the creditor or bureau is refusing to remove. It may help if you have access to attorneys who may file legal lawsuits.
7. Where can I see independent reviews for your company?
This is a question to ask Google. After finding a company that you want to work with, search for the “company name + Trustpilot/Google Reviews/BBB Rating”.
The sites may have some independent reviews from past customers. If the search doesn’t turn up leads, ask the company where you can see verified reviews. The ones on their website may not count, as the service may curate positive reviews to showcase their services in a positive light.
8. How will I know the best time to cancel?
With monthly services, it’s key to know the best time to cancel the membership, and this is a question to ask your case advisor. For instance, if they have removed 6 out of 10 negative items in the first six months, it may become increasingly difficult to remove the remaining items. You will end up signing up for additional months only to have two items removed.
There is another big problem with monthly subscription services. Most companies will not let customers go that easily. They will want to keep you as a paying customer.
Don’t let them drag you on. Most services require customers to call to halt their membership and use the chance to convince them to change their minds. So, when the time comes, be firm with your decision.
9. When can I expect to see results?
“Results in 60 days!” It is a message that you may encounter on a credit repair service’s website. It seems like a really long time to wait. The company may be playing it safe. They don’t want to promise results quite early.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allocates about 30 days for reinvestigations. They can add 15 more days if necessary. If the company sends mail disputes, they may leave room for the time taken to correspond with the bureaus.
You may see results sooner. Bureaus have automated the reinvestigation process. If the credit repair company utilizes electronic disputes, the results may be faster.
The question may be covered on their FAQ page, but you may also ask the customer rep personally.
10. Do you send creditor interventions or challenges?
When working with companies that only challenge the bureaus, there is a slight chance for previously deleted items to be reinserted again. The best companies send letters to information furnishers and bureaus. This prompts information furnishers to launch investigations internally and correct the error from their electronic records. It can prevent them from reconfirming inaccurate negative information after bureau reinvestigations.
The Bottom Line
You can use our provided script to evaluate both large companies and individual credit experts. Remain skeptical of “gurus” promising hidden techniques to remove items such as bankruptcies. Ask them to explain how their technique works and even ask to speak to previous customers.
We recommend working with a trusted provider from the onset to avoid disappointments. You can look at a list of credit repair companies considered to be industry leaders to ensure that you’re getting quality services.
As a final note, credit companies are there to serve you. Don’t shy away from asking tough credit repair questions.