House-hunters: Beware of "credit rescue" services
to fix problems yourself, for free
Many house-hunters can't buy their own home with the help of mortgage finance from a bank because they don't have a good track record of repaying their debt on time and in full each month. Caroline Buthelezi of the office of the Credit Information Ombud spells out the facts about negative credit bureau listings and how you can help yourself to get rid of a major obstacle between you and home ownership.
You see posters on street poles. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair' or credit rescue' services. They all make the same claims:
Do yourself a favour and save some money. Only time, a conscious effort,
and a discipline debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.
Everyday, advertisements appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. They promise, for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job. The truth is, there is nothing they can do that you cannot do yourself - often for free. The only time that you need the assistance from an attorney is if you want to rescind (remove) a court order (usually a judgment).
The Warning Signs
If you decide to respond to a credit repair offer, beware of organizations that:
The office of the CIO is committed to protecting the consumer from being fooled by unrealistic promises made to them. No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. But you can request a reinvestigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. Everything a credit repair organization can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. If your application for credit is denied because of information supplied by a credit bureau, the company you want credit from must provide you with that credit bureau's contact details and you can take steps to rectify the information which you feel is incorrect or invalid.
Even if you don't have a poor credit history, it's a good idea to conduct your own credit check-up, especially if you're planning a major purchase, such as a home or car. Checking in advance on the accuracy of the information in your credit report could speed the credit-granting process.
Credit Bureaus charge approximately R20 for a credit report, however note that as per National Credit Act you are entitled to one free report per year.
Some Credit Bureaux Contact Numbers:
Experian: 0861 10 5665
As you can see, the Credit Information Ombud's office can assist for free when it comes to disputing incorrect and invalid information on your credit report at the credit bureaus. Everybody is going through the credit crunch, so let us be wise and take extra care with our money as consumers.
Article by: Caroline Buthelezi - www.realestateweb.co.za