Frequently Asked Questions
Your finance is extremely important, so it’s natural to have a lot of questions when choosing a financial service provider. Here are some of the most common questions we hear:
Why should we use Whitsett & Whitsett, LLC instead of anyone else?
We are Certified Credit Consultants and are Partners of Simple Solutions Credit and Debt Consulting. With over 29 years of combined experience, background, and expertise of working in the financial industry we can decidedly help you. We specialize in the following: Credit Education, Credit Repair and Rebuilding, Establishing Credit, Identity Theft issues, Collection Problems, Credit and Debt Consulting, and Debt Settlement. The majority of consumers do not know their legal rights, especially when it comes to improving their credit and raising their scores. So, it is imperative to hire a professional who has years of experience and that knows the necessary laws to help you with every aspect of your credit and debt situation. We abide by all State and Federal Laws concerning credit repair. Knowledge and experience count for a lot in this type of work. You want to get the best results possible and not spend a lot of money or time in doing it. We will make the process simple for your, answer all of your questions and in the end—you get amazing results.
Is credit repair legal?
Yes, it is totally legal. By utilizing the federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) under sections 611 (a)(1)(A) and (5)(A)(I), the law states that a consumer has the right to have an accurate credit report. If anything on a credit report that is inaccurate, obsolete, duplicate, misleading or unverifiable, then you can correct or delete ANYTHING on your credit reports including: bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, collections, charge-offs, late payments, tax liens, judgments, etc. By having these erroneous negative items deleted, your credit scores will improve. Keep in mind that by deleting an account on a credit report does not mean you do no owe that debt.
How long does the credit restoration process take?
It all depends on how many negative inaccurate, obsolete, misleading or duplicate items are on your credit reports. It also depends on the credit bureaus properly doing their job by heeding the federal law, Fair Credit Reporting Act. You will usually see results from all 3 credit bureaus in as little as 35 plus days. In some cases, clients need to do the credit restoration process more than one time. If this is the case, there may be just a small fee to cover our expenses only.
What guarantee can you give me?
Although we would love to give you a guarantee, unfortunately, we cannot as it is against the law to do so. It is the same as an attorney representing you in a court of law, they simply cannot guarantee a particular outcome of the case and that they will surely ‘win’ your case for you or a doctor giving you medicine and saying, “you will be cured in 24 hours”. There are too many factors and companies involved in the credit repair/restoration process. We can however guarantee that by using our years of formulated information and unique system, you will gain a better understanding of credit, debt and financial issues to help you have better credit and save money for years to come.
Can information be removed from my credit reports even if it belongs to me?
Any information on a credit report can be removed, but it has to be removed due to a violation of some type (which you will find described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act) (FCRA). There are many laws written to protect you (the consumer), so any account that is found to be in violation of these laws will be corrected or deleted including: late payments, collections, charge-offs, liens, judgments, bankruptcies and personal information that is found to be inaccurate, misleading, duplicate, obsolete or unverifiable.
I heard that you can just send letters to the credit bureaus to remove the information?
There is more to the credit repair, and rebuilding process than just sending letters to the Credit Bureaus. Yes, you could prepare the necessary documents yourself, but if you do NOT do them properly, request your investigation properly or send the mandatory requested items, then you risk the chance of being ignored, receive a rejection letter in the mail or have something deleted when you really wanted it corrected which can lower your scores even more. Whitsett & Whitsett, LLC uses various legal methods to improve your credit reports and raise your credit scores that most people or companies don’t know about or use. Our client testimonials and impeccable record says it all.
After starting the credit restoration process, I received a letter from a creditor stating that they know that I am disputing information on my credit reports? What should I do?
If you receive something from a bank, creditor or a collection agency, make sure that you read the entire letter and the BACK of the letter. You don’t have to respond to it unless it is a collection letter*. Most letters are just AUTOMATIC FORM letters that they send out to see if you are a victim of Identity Theft. If you are really a victim of Identity Theft then, by all means, fill the form out and send it in to them. Otherwise, it usually is not important so please file it for now.
When I receive all of my results back from the credit bureaus what should I do?
When you receive all 3 results back from each of the credit bureaus: Experian, Trans Union and Equifax, you can either forward these to our office by regular mail, fax or scan/email or even better… call us so we can tell you how to get an updated credit report (all 3 reports and all 3 credit scores) for just $1. Then we can log in to print this new report out and process your file on exactly what we have corrected and deleted for you and if we need to do the process one more time. Please allow for 24-48 hours to email you your results.
What if I receive two of the credit report results back but not the third one?
For the most part, you should receive all results back from each of the three credit bureaus. If by chance that you don’t receive results from one of the credit bureaus, then just call us after you have received at least two of them. We have a way to get the third credit report that is missing and continue to process your exact results. If by chance any of the credit bureaus send a “stall tactic” letter out to you, just call our office and we will get another process started right away without delay- and will take a stronger stance on the next action, doing everything legally possible so make sure that the credit bureaus do their job by federal law.
Why does one credit bureau delete and account, but the other credit bureaus did not delete that same account?
The 3 credit bureaus are 3 separate for profit companies. They are not government agencies or have some superior authority. So, if one credit bureau deletes an account, it doesn’t mean the other two have to. Each of the credit bureaus does not know what the others are doing. We need to hold each credit bureau accountable for the information that they are providing on your credit report.
I paid a collection account and it did not come off my credit report. Why?
Paying a collection debt doesn’t mean it will come off of your credit report. What it does mean is that now it will be reported as a “Paid Collection.” This is the most common myth when it comes to a collection account. The collection agencies will lie to you to get your money. They have been known to say, “Yes, we will update your account if your pay this collection account”. Did you really hear what they said? Updating doesn’t mean DELETING your negative collection account; it just means updating to show that you finally paid the collection account. This will then appear as: “Paid collection”. We can advise and teach you in how to properly negotiate any unpaid debts with your creditors or collection agencies. It is all done in writing, not by phone calling. This way you always have documented proof and a paper trail of every transaction.
If I pay my old debts will my creditors delete the account from my credit reports?
If the debt falls within the *Statute of Limitations that a creditor can sue for, then you will want to either pay it in full, or even better- negotiate a lower settlement amount with them. (Make sure to have the settlement put in writing before you pay them a dime). If you are going to pay them then you can save money by only paying them as low as 20%- 30%of the total det. If the debt is past the Statute of Limitations time for them to legally sue you regarding this debt, then you have an option to pay it OR not pay it. Yes, you read that right! Be careful in how you proceed at this point because if you even pay$1 on an old debt, you will start the time clock all over again for them to collect or sue you AND keep it on your credit reports years longer! (*See your States Statute of Limitations to sue on debts in our Credit and Debt eBook)
Why do the Credit bureaus make the credit repair/restoration process so complicated?
The credit bureaus do not want you to be educated about how to read your credit reports, understand what certain details mean, what is a positive account, what is a negative account, what is a red flag and how it can hurt you, how to delete or correct inaccurate, misleading, duplicate, obsolete or unverifiable items, how to add positive credit, ow to delete unauthorized inquiries, addresses, employment information, etc. Keep in mind that their main purpose is to report positive and negative items about you on your credit report of which your creditors give them whether it is accurate or not. The credit bureaus receive money; yes, MONEY from your creditors, collection agencies, courts, or anyone who is obtaining your credit report- with or WITHOUT your authorization! It is up to YOU to defend yourself. In this particular situation, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. The original fact is that: ‘You are innocent until proven guilty.’ If you don’t review your credit reports often for inaccuracies, then who will do it for you? No one! The creditors and others will get away with putting any information on your credit report because the credit bureaus work for them and get paid by them, not you.
What is a credit score, and how can I improve it?
A credit score is a score that is based on the number of credit accounts you have, your payment history, and your personal information. It is made from a calculation so complex that there is no exact formula, but the scoring ranges from 300 to 850. You can improve your score by paying your bills on time; closing accounts that are no longer needed; not maxing out your credit cards (never owe close to your limit); not letting prospective creditors pull your credit reports unless it is absolutely necessary; deleting negative credit; deleting inquiries; and doing your best to settle outstanding debts, collections, and judgments.
If I don’t do credit repair, how long will negative information stay on my credit report?
The Credit Bureaus would like you to believe that all information stays for 7-10 years, regardless of anything you do. However, since credit repair is fully legal by federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the different types of dispute processes that we use may correct or delete these inaccurate, misleading, duplicate, obsolete or unverifiable accounts before this time frame. If you had the choice to have better credit in 1-4 months ow wait it out for years for bad credit to eventually fall off your reports, which one would you choose?
- Good credit- 10 years or longer
- Negative credit (late payments, collections, charge-offs, closed accounts, child supports, civil and small claim judgements, paid tax liens) -7 years from the date paid
- Chapter 7, 11 and 12 Bankruptcy- 10 years
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy- 7 years
- Unpaid tax liens- 15 years
- Inquiries- 2 years
I have a couple of credit cards that are usually maxed to their limits. Are these hurting my credit scores?
Yes! You should always keep your revolving credit card balances down to 1/3 or less of overall limit. Having credit cards can improve your credit scores but only if you do not abuse them and if you have no more than two to three of open accounts at any time. This also helps to keep your Debt-to-Income Ration (DTI) down to qualify for loans. Of course, always making your payments on time will also help increase your scores as well.
With the interest rates being the lowest they have been in years, can I purchase a home with a few negative accounts on my credit reports?
Yes, there are companies who will give you a mortgage loan if you have less than perfect credit, but you can expect to pay higher interest rates, which will make your monthly payments higher. This will cost you literally thousands of dollars over the term of the loan. It is much better to do credit repair to clean up your credit reports so that you can have higher credit scores, which will result in the best interest rates possible. If you want to clean up your credit reports or raise your credit scores give us a call, we can help you!
Why do I need to know about Credit Identity Theft?
Credit Identity Theft is on the rise and one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States especially since there are recent Date Breaches even at the credit bureaus who hold our most private information such as Equifax in October 2017 and Experian in September 2016. Out of all 50 states, Arizona is #1. Studies show that about 1 in 5 families in the U.S. has been a victim of identity theft. It is imperative to protect your credit. If you don’t do it, no one will do it for you. In our Credit and Debt ebook, we have several different pages on topics such as: ‘What is Identity Theft’ and also includes Top 10 Causes of Credit Fraud and Identity Theft and 10 Tips to Help Prevent Credit Fraud and Identity Theft.
Do you think that Credit Monitoring Services are good?
Although credit monitoring services give you current updates on changes or additions to your credit reports, the monthly costs may add up over time. It is very helpful though if you are. going through a credit repair/rebuilding a program or are a victim of identity theft so you can keep an eye on if anything new appears on your credit reports that looks inaccurate or any fraud activity with a great company such as: Identity IQ. You can get them here for a nominal fee: www.IDIQ123.com
If I have some credit cards that I cannot pay, can credit counseling help me?
Yes. They can help you to lower the interest rates, over-limit fees, late fees, etc with your original creditors, and you may be able to make one monthly payment to the credit counseling service rather than many payments to all your creditors but there is a price to pay for that service, money, bad credit and a huge chance of getting sued. However, there are several reasons of why you shouldn’t work with them (for either profit or non-profit agencies). Should you miss a payment or pay less than the minimum amount due to your original creditor, the creditor has the right to report you to the credit reporting agencies for making late or insufficient payments. You will still be paying back approximately 100% of your credit card debt. These companies definitely make money and do get ‘kick back’ monies from the credit card companies. By working with them the creditors will add a statement “working with a credit counseling agency” on your credit reports and the lenders do not look at this favorably. They have stated “if a person cannot pay their own bills and cannot budget their own money, they may as well have filed bankruptcy”. If you do not want to work with credit counselors, or can’t make their requested high monthly payments, you may want to look at the other 7 options that you legally have, specifically settling your debts down to 20%. We understand that you truly want to do what is right morally, ethically and/or religiously but you have to look at all of your legal options logically. Note- credit counselors do NOT help to improve your credit or raise your scores or help you if you have been sued.
How is credit consulting different from credit counseling?
Credit Consulting, such as what we do, does not hurt your credit like credit counseling does. Whitsett & Whitsett, LLC consults and educates you on your legal rights and how you can manage your credit, debt and financial matters. We break everything down to a few simple steps: 1. Credit Education 2. Understand your Rights by law 3. Understand ALL of your Options 4. Choose the Best Option 5. And last, but not least, clean up your Credit Reports (if necessary) to make sure that you have a great credit and high credit scores for years to come. We are a non-based, 3rd party, independent company that has your best interest at heart, not the creditors or debt collectors.
What is the debt collector required to tell you about debt?
They must adhere to the federal law, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Section 809 specifically says that the debt collector has to send you something in writing within five days after you are first contacted by phone, telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do owe the money.
Where can I get a copy of the federal laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
You can Google search it; obtain a free online booklet from the Federal Trade Commission, or request it from us at: www.mycreditsolutions.com
Can a collection agency harass me?
No, they legally cannot. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Federal Law) governs collection agencies and collection attorneys in what they can and cannot do. Most consumers do not know their credit rights. It is time for you to get educated and stop them from harassing you! Here are your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: (condensed version of full law)
- Debt collectors may contact you only 1 time per day
- Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 am and 9 pm (your time)
- Debt collectors may not threaten, harass, oppress, or abuse you
- Debt collectors may not tell you that they can take your house, or vehicle
- Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves
- Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime
- Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to in writing
What can I do if a collection agency keeps calling me and harassing me?
First, you want to make sure they are following all federal laws that govern them. (The Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act). Most know the laws but do not always fully abide by them. They prey upon consumers and harass them because most consumers do not know how to stop them. You have more rights than you know and can fight back! Some of these choices are: send them a “Debt Validation Letter”, or a “Cease and Desis Letter”. Even if you think that the information may be yours, you don’t want to pay a collection agency that merely sends you a letter that says, “Hey you, you need to pay us”. How do you know you really owe this debt? What proof do they have that this debt is yours? The harassing collection calls and letters can be very frustrating and overwhelming to consumers. Contact us to help you if you have any unpaid debts or collection problems.
By Federal Law, you have the right to stop the Collection Agencies from contacting you. You can exercise this right by sending them one of our specific documents such as the “Debt Validation Letter”. This letter quotes in legal terms that you are notifying the collection agency under provisions of Public Law 95-109, Section 805-C, of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that they will CEASE AND DESIST in their efforts to collect on an existing account.
What can I do if a debt collector violates the FDCPA?
You can sue the collection agency and the creditor that hired the collection agency or attorney for up to $1,000 in small claims court for violating this federal law. Put together as much proof of harassment as you can. If possible, try to record the conversation with a debt collector if you think they are violating your consumer rights of the Fair Debt Collections Act. Taping is permitted without the debt collector’s knowledge in all states except CA, CT, DE, FL, IL, MD, MA, MI, MT, NY, PA, WA. After you get your proof in order, then file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, 6th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20850. Or you can call #202-326-2222 or file an online complaint to: https://ftc.gov Next, file a complaint with your state Attorney General’s office. Finally, send a copy of the complaint to the creditor who hired the collection agency. If the violations are severe enough, the creditor may stop collection efforts or change collection agency to buy you more time to settle the debt.
If I believe that a credit bureau or collection agency has violated my rights, can I sue them or file a complaint?
Yes, to both. A consumer can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Attorney General, or Consumer Credit Commission. If you feel that they have violated your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can sue a credit bureau or collection agency and can file a complaint with the small claims court in your area. You don’t need an attorney to do this. With proper documentation, you can effectively do this on your own. Check your local small claims court office for the fee but usually is between $14-100.