Credit score questions

I have a few negative items on my credit report from a situation I went through a few years ago. A family member was moving into an apartment due to a separation from her spouse and couldn’t get any bills in her name, so I had some of them put in my name, power and phone if I remember right. She died about a year later. A few months after her death I started receiving letters from collection companies about those accounts (I didn’t know until then that they hadn’t been paid). I paid them off but they are still on my credit report.

My question is this: Should I hire one of those credit cleaning companies to clean up my credit , or should I just wait for it to go off? I have heard that hiring those companies can actually hurt your credit.

Does anyone have any advice for me on this? Thank you for your help.

That’s great news. Does anyone know if the bills I have seem like something I could get taken off? On one hand they aren’t really mistakes because I really did put my name on the bills, but on the other it was kind of an unusual situation and I paid it as soon as I found out about it.

And has anyone heard that challenging things can actually be harmful?

In my experience with credit repair, one way it can backfire is if you dispute too many things at one time. Then you get a letter telling you it appears that you or credit repair agents are falsely challenging data and they take will take no action.

I would suggest you personally dispute the utility bills on your own.
Just send a letter to each agency that is reporting the negative item and say they are not yours. (Because technically they were someone else’s, just legally they were yours.)

There is a chance the creditor may not respond to your dispute and then it automatically comes off your report.

If they do respond and say it is valid, then there’s step 2.

The point is, this is a process, not an overnight fix. The sooner you get started, the sooner you get done.

Try the simplest solution first. You may be surprised with the results.

I was absolutely amazed when CapitalOne removed two late payments off my report, just because I asked them to. Even though they were really late. I like bragging about that one. I asked them really nice. :slight_smile:

matjone, I don’t know that you need to remove these items at all. How bad is your credit now? I am not an expert, I just met with a team last night that I put together to look at me purchasing about $2million worth of properties. This team consisted of real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, my CPA, and lawyer. One of the items we discussed was my credit. My credit is good, but I learned some things. One is that although credit stays on your report for 7 years, the issue is your FICO score. Nobody knows exactly what the formula is that they use to generate that score, but they have made changes to client’s credit behavior and they see what results from those changes and can deduce how it works. The issues that move your score up are recent activity. If these derogatory issues are more than 24 months old, and you have been good since then, it has a very minor effect on your score. Since what I am trying to do requires a mid to high 700 score (which is not a naturally occurring score) we have to configure my credit to maximize the score. The configuration that generates the highest score is one that contains some of each type of credit in roughly equal parts. Revolving credit (credit cards), installment loans (Appliances or furniture like Circuit City or Conn’s), and store cards (Sears, Macy’s). It also contains mortgages, car loans and bank or credit union loans. The next thing to configure is the credit power. This is the ratio of credit available to credit used. This is done by adding up all the limits and then add up all the balances. The balances need to be less that 30% of the limits. You also need to have the balance on each card be no more than 30% of each individual limit.

What high scores tell a lender is that this guy can juggle a lot of credit and not be late on any of them. It is like if I was hiring an electrician, I want to know if he has seen a lot of different electrical problems and handled them well. I don’t want a guy that only does high voltage, or one that only does low voltage. This configuration is unnaturally broad and thus generates higher than normal scores because it shows your ability to handle various types of loans not just mortgages.

I am probably rambling but I just got this info last night.

Yes you can get the bills taken off but you have to be very careful about how you go about doing it. Very difucult if you dont have a plan or someone that knows what they are doing

First of all, thanks to everyone for taking the time to answer my questions.

Gameface, can you elaborate about what you mean by ‘being careful’?

well when trying to get things off your report, it is very important that you have your information together because the credit bureaus will try to confuse you and they wont believe you. See the bureaus dont want to delete anything from your report because your creditor pays them to put info on your report, so if your report dosent have info on it then experian,transunion and equifax wont get paid.

In most states you can get copies of your credit reports for free. On those same sites you can dispute items directly with the credit agencies (the big three). I’ve done this myself and it wasn’t a problem – some items were complicated, such as liens from states on properties I no longer own. I have disputed several items at one time, they must send you their findings within 30 days. It’s a very good idea to check your reports regularly in this day an age.

You can also add commentary to your credit report to explain an item. I have a doctor’s bill to this day that is $38. Many lenders have told me I “NEED” to pay it off. I refuse (my husband now mentions to the lender before they see it, “Don’t ask her to pay it, it won’t happen.”) The doctor was a scam artist and I told them so directly. This note is on my credit report. But it looks like this: Doctor refuses to remove a fraudulent bill.

I personally don’t believe in those companies who charge you to clean up your credit. Dispute what is incorrect, pay close attention, and pay your bills on time.