Is Credit Repair An Ethical Solution To A Big Problem?
-by Gwenn Tanvas
Many wonder if it's unethical to attempt to remove valid bad credit issues from a credit report. I say, "Yes, it is," and here's why.
The credit reporting and ranking system has been and continues to be unfair to American consumers. We are forced to participate in something we did not volunteer for and are punished for mistakes whether they are ours or not. We cannot opt out of this system and no consideration is made for circumstances that are beyond our control. However, "credit repair" is a term that has gained a negative reputation, and has been connected with credit fraud and credit schemes. As a result, I'm often put in the position of having to defend my efforts to help others repair their credit.
Problems contained in a credit report can lead to feelings of being in credit prison; however, there are solutions. A credit report should not be viewed as proof of bad credit, but rather simply an allegation. Unfortunately, consumers rarely challenge the allegations. When my clients sign on to use our preferred attorney network for their defense, they are basically saying "prove it" to the credit bureaus and entering a plea of not guilty.
Putting the credit bureaus in the position of having to prove their allegations is one of the functions of our preferred attorneys. If the bureaus say they have already looked into and confirmed the charge then our attorneys will appeal the decision. It is eventually discovered that most credit report allegations are falsely based, and at that point the negative items are removed.
Our society has its roots in capitalism and the credit bureaus feed on this and use consumer information to their advantage. The bureaus are not motivated by the terrible consequences bad credit can have on a consumer. Profit margins - not consumer rights - are what motivate them.
Our legal system takes an oath to truth, equity and the common good; credit bureaus do not take this oath. Why should any citizen be obliged to support any company, let alone massive public corporations, when doing so could ruin his credit and financial standing? The credit bureaus would cling to every bit of credit data, true or false, forever if federal law didn't force them to delete many items after seven years time. Lucky for us, the government forces the bureaus to correct your credit at the end of seven years. If an item HAS to be removed after seven years, what would be wrong with removing it sooner?
My contention is you cannot always judge someone's credit worthiness by their credit history. It hurts and affects everyone when good people are pegged as deadbeats. The policies of the credit bureaus have been so grossly unfair to the consumer and that is why I feel it is fair to oppose the current system of credit reporting. It is just totally unfair to punish the consumer with seven years credit bondage (10 years for bankruptcy and some court decisions). Especially when there have never been any studies that say seven years is magic number for the time it takes to restore good credit. This seven-year mark is completely random.
"It is our understanding that computer models that predict credit information find that most information that is more than 2 year sold is nonessential," says Dr.Bonnie Gution, consumer affairs advisor to President Bush. I totally agree. Many of my clients feel that seven years is way too long. Most consumers are able to recover fully from a financial crisis within 2 to 3 years. Despite this, for the next 4 to 5 years they are often forced to live a reduced life-style, rent homes and pay high interest on other loans while being denied credit based on bad reports.
Although credit bureaus claim an error rate of less than 1%, that isn't necessarily true. Studies performed by independent agencies show that mistakes occur at a rate nearing 79% One credit bureau admits to an error rate of more than 50%, but they still choose to err on the negative side than the positive.
Credit reporting systems are commonly used in other countries. However, unlike America, most countries doll out credit based on a consumer's current credit status. For example, in England, Equifax and Experian are not allowed to keep credit information for more than five years. The point to all of this is this - the American credit reporting system needs changing. With this in mind, realize that it's not unpatriotic to want to ensure your credit report is accurate. And it is NOT unethical either.
When people can't buy things because of a poor credit report, our country's financial system suffers. That's why I offer to help my clients recover from this devastating hardship. My clients are excited to fix their credit and to return to the credit economy and be fiscally trustworthy. My goal is to help my clients escape from people who prey on people with bad credit.
Bad credit costs a person thousands and thousands of dollars and forces many into a vicious cycle that is very difficult to escape. They are forced to rent (where they pay someone else's mortgage), to buy items at a higher interest rate (cars, credit cards) or to take unfulfilling jobs. Sadly, even one negative item on your report can have far more impact than a lifetime of good credit.
In short, because of poor data collection, reporting and validation, many people suffer unnecessarily from the ill effects of a bad credit report. So to answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, yes, it is ethically sound to remove the record of a negative credit item from your credit report.
Gwenn Tanvas, Certified Mortgage Planner in Appleton, WI , specializes in helping release her clients from the "credit prison" that too many people find themselves in. If you, a friend, a family member or a colleague find yourself needing real answers and real solutions to credit issues, you can confidentially contact her at 920-560-5606 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at http://www.wisconsinloantips.com.
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