Financial Goals

Debt Planning: 20 Dont’s for Credit Repair

Debt planning and expense tracking are two things that we care about here at Mint. Learn more with great debt planning tips in our blog article index.

Whether you’re fixing the nasty credit history that your ex-hubby screwed up, debt planning for the future, or just digging yourself out of past credit mishaps, the to-dos to credit repair are abound on the internet.

Having said that, here are 20 things you definitely shouldn’t do while repairing your credit history, from the veterans of credit repair at Creditboards.com:

  1. Don’t supply too much information. You may accidentally verify your negative items on your credit history, where it becomes impossible to remove later.
  2. Don’t deal with collectors, a debt planner, or a credit reporting agency over the phone, unless you are extremely confident and have nerves of steel. A paper trail is important!
  3. Don’t close accounts for the sake of closing accounts. Some of these accounts may be helping your credit history.
  4. Don’t dispute an account without verifying and double-checking the account numbers. You may accidentally dispute or delete a wrong account.
  5. Don’t dispute positive information (long history account, paid-on-time accounts, etc.). Those positive lines can accidentally get deleted from your credit history if you’re not careful.
  6. Don’t sign anything sent to a collection agency. At shady collection agencies, signatures have a habit of jumping from one document to another.
  7. Don’t ignore your state’s statute of limitation.
  8. Don’t confuse statue of limitation with the reporting time limit on your accounts. Just because a debt has passed the time limit for a lawsuit does not mean the accounts will no longer be reported on your credit history.
  9. Don’t attempt to dispute a negative entry in your credit history (that’s incorrectly positive on another report) by using the claim “This other reporting agency shows it as positive.” Credit reporting agencies share all negative information. If a negative is incorrectly positive, they will inform the other agencies of the inaccuracies!
  10. Don’t send your bankruptcy paperwork (or any part of it) to credit reporting agencies!
  11. Don’t add the 100-word “personal statement” to your credit files. They will generally do more harm than good.
  12. Don’t give the collection agencies your banking account information or anything with your financial information on it (bank statements, post-dated checks). Shady collection agencies will have no qualms about withdrawing funds from your account — regardless if you have enough fund to cover the debt or not.
  13. Don’t pay the collection agencies with a personal check. Use a money order.
  14. Don’t send written communication to collection agency via regular first-class mail. Use certified return-receipt requests for all of your correspondence. You will need proof that you’ve sent or requested certain information.
  15. Don’t send any payment in until you have a clear written agreement on what will occur after you make payments.
  16. Don’t assume your credit scores and history will improve just by paying off a collection. As with the above tip, ensure that you have negotiated for the removal of the negative item in question before you pay a collection agency!
  17. Don’t call a collection agency with your home phone number! If need be, use the many available VoIP services out there.
  18. Don’t send a cease-and-desist letter to a collection agency unless you have done your homework. If you leave out important key words, and the account in question is still within the statue of limitations, you may be forcing a collection agency to sue you! Leaving room for further correspondence through mail may be a better option than a complete cease-and-desist letter.
  19. Don’t take the word of a customer service representative from a collection agency or credit reporting agency as fact. Remember to always do your own research before taking a specific course of action.
  20. Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged! Repairing a credit history from bad credit to excellent credit is entirely possible as long as you have the will, discipline, and patience.
  21. Bonus Tip from Awesome Reader Misiti:

  22. Never pay for a collection over the phone!

Mint’s Take Away:

Repairing your credit may seem like an incredibly difficult task filled with numerous caveats — but the important thing to note is that before you begin the process of debt planning and dealing with collection agency, you should carefully research your to-dos before you take any action. With some patience and a calm mind, you’ll be able to tackle the important task of repairing your credit. Check out the resources below to read more about collection agencies, if you have further concerns and questions on the topic.

Helpful Resources to Dealing with Collection Agencies:

  • Collection Agency FAQ from Cardreport.com.
  • Debt Collection Practices from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.