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Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:07

Collection Agency Law Explained

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If you have ever been contacted by a collection agency, you know that it can be an unpleasant experience. A collection agency can turn simple acts, such as checking the mail or answering the phone, into dreaded tasks. However, it is important to know that there is a law in place intended to protect the people that collection agencies contact. The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) was enacted to keep debt collectors from abusing, harassing, or deceiving a person when attempting to collect a debt. It also gives debt collectors strict guidelines to follow when collecting a debt. In this article, we will have this collection agency law explained in simple terms, to better inform debtors of their rights. For starters, the FDCPA outlines very clear practices for debt collectors to follow when contacting a debtor. Debt collectors are only allowed to call during reasonable hours (usually 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.), but they are also allowed to call a debtor at work. However, if the debtor notifies the collection agent that their employer wants the calls to cease, the debt collector must stop calling the person’s place of employment. There are also rules of conduct a collection agency must follow when collecting a debt. A debt collector is forbidden from harassing any person from whom they are trying to collect a debt.Examples of harassment include excessively calling, insulting the debtor, or using obscene language. A debt collector is also not allowed to make false statements when collecting a debt. Examples of false statements include posing as a government official, making threats (lawsuits, imprisonment, seizing of home and property, etc.), or telling the debtor they owe more than they actually do. In addition, a debt collector can not use unfair practices in attempting to collect a debt. These practices include collecting an amount larger than what the debtor actually owes, or suing the debtor for a debt they do not owe. The FDCPA requires collection agencies to notify debtors of their rights, and any correspondence (mail or phone) has to contain the information that the contact is being used to collect a debt. The only reason a collection agency can contact a third party (family or friend) is to acquire the debtor’s phone number or address. If the collection agency has this information, they are forbidden to contact a third party. It is also illegal for collection agencies to tell a third party that they are attempting to collect a debt. The FDCPA is in place to protect the rights of debtor’s while making a collection agent’s job clear and concise. If a person being contacted by a debt collector feels that they are experiencing the violations discussed in this article, it is important that these misconducts are accurately documented. The reason for this is so that the claims can be proven if the debtor decides to take legal action. Now that you have had this collection agency law explained, you should feel more confident about your rights if you are ever contacted by a debt collector. It is best to avoid the situation altogether by staying current on your debts, but it is good to know that the FDCPA exists if ever find yourself on the receiving end of a collection call.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:07

Simple Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

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Each year, thousands of people around the world fall victim to identity theft… the assumption of their identity by others in an attempt to empty their bank accounts, establish fake lines of credit in their name, or to take advantage of current lines of credit and max out any credit cards that they might currently have. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take that will help you to avoid identity thieves and keep your personal and financial information private. The tips provided below are designed to help you to protect your identifying information, though in the end the implementation of them is up to you. Lock Up Your Records One easy way to keep your financial information out of the wrong hands is to purchase a lock box in which to keep your personal and financial records until they are out of date. Though the lock box doesn't have to be expensive, it's important to buy a sturdy one with a good lock on it in the event of a break-in or if someone should be in your house looking for financial information. Buying a fireproof lock box can also have the benefit of protecting your financial and personal information in the event if a fire or other natural disaster. Buy a Shredder When it comes time to get rid of old records, unused credit card applications, and other identifying information, a personal shredder is one of the best investments that you can make. It's generally best to purchase a cross-cut shredder, which cuts paper at opposite angles and makes it virtually impossible to reconstruct at a later date. These shredders can usually be bought for not a lot of money, and can more than make up the cost in the peace of mind that they can bring. Be Careful with Your Information Before giving out any personal or financial information, you should make sure that the person that you're giving it to is legitimate. Avoid giving any identifying information to anyone over the phone unless you know for sure who you're talking to and that it's alright to do so, and don't submit personal information over the internet unless it's via an encrypted and automated system. You should also avoid replying to requests for passwords for websites that claim to come from administrators… almost all major websites have automated password generation features, so administrators would not have any need for your password. Report Suspicious E-mail If you receive an e-mail that claims to be from a company that you do business with but is asking for financial or personal information, don't believe it. Don't reply to it, and don't click any links contained within… instead, manually type in the main URL of the website, log in, and report the e-mail to the company to verify whether it's legitimate or not. Watch Your Credit and Accounts In order to stay on top of identity theft, you should periodically check your credit report and go over all account statements and account transactions via online bank account access. Verify that all charges and debits are legitimate, and report any that appear without your authorization. Look for accounts or listings on your credit report that you didn't open, and contact the issuer should you find any. By taking a little time to stay on top of your bank accounts and your credit report, you can usually discover attempts at identity theft while something can still be done to stop it… and might just catch the person in the act.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:06

Help I've Been Sued by a Collection Agency!

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I just received notice of a lawsuit that was filed against me by a collection agency. What do I do now? I get that type of phone call at my office about once a week. Fortunately, the caller has made the obvious correct choice in contacting an attorney right away. This is an important aspect when a collection agency is involved because a collection agency lawsuit is a different type of lawsuit. The collection agency has either been hired by the original creditor or has purchased the right to collect the debt off of you from the original creditor. That makes a little more work for the collection agency and may provide you with a defense. A review of the lawsuit is the first order of business. As an attorney, I ask three questions right away that form the basis of the defense of the lawsuit. 1. Is the Debt is legitimate? 2. Does the collection agency have the legal right to attempt to collect it from you? 3. Does the lawsuit meet all necessary legal requirements to proceed? Looking at these questions individually, let’s start with “Is the Debt legitimate?” The client has to advise as to whether they ever had this type of loan or credit card. If a collection agency is involved, the Debt may have been incurred years ago, and may be difficult for the client to remember. Time is an important factor here, because all states have Statutes of Limitation that define when a lawsuit must be filed. In Pennsylvania, the Statute of Limitation to collect on a debt is typically four (4) years, with certain exceptions. The second question is whether the collection agency has the legal right to attempt to collect from you. What I look for here is any evidence that the collection agency has authority to proceed. This might be indicated by a purchase agreement or an assignment from the original creditor. In my experience, I often find that the collection agencies fail to attach this document to their lawsuit. In that instance, I would place an objection to the suit to make the collection agency prove that the have the legal right to proceed. If they cannot, I move to have the lawsuit dismissed. The third question is whether the lawsuit meets all of the necessary legal requirements to proceed. Again, in my experience, I have found that collection agencies often fail to properly articulate the claims against the debtor, either by means of failing to provide enough information or failing to provide the proper documentation. If you are sued in Pennsylvania by a collection agency and can answer NO to any of the three questions posed above, you likely have a valid defense to the lawsuit. Contacting an experienced attorney is the right first step.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:06

Help I've Been Sued by a Collection Agency!

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I just received notice of a lawsuit that was filed against me by a collection agency. What do I do now? I get that type of phone call at my office about once a week. Fortunately, the caller has made the obvious correct choice in contacting an attorney right away. This is an important aspect when a collection agency is involved because a collection agency lawsuit is a different type of lawsuit. The collection agency has either been hired by the original creditor or has purchased the right to collect the debt off of you from the original creditor. That makes a little more work for the collection agency and may provide you with a defense. A review of the lawsuit is the first order of business. As an attorney, I ask three questions right away that form the basis of the defense of the lawsuit. 1. Is the Debt is legitimate? 2. Does the collection agency have the legal right to attempt to collect it from you? 3. Does the lawsuit meet all necessary legal requirements to proceed? Looking at these questions individually, let’s start with “Is the Debt legitimate?” The client has to advise as to whether they ever had this type of loan or credit card. If a collection agency is involved, the Debt may have been incurred years ago, and may be difficult for the client to remember. Time is an important factor here, because all states have Statutes of Limitation that define when a lawsuit must be filed. In Pennsylvania, the Statute of Limitation to collect on a debt is typically four (4) years, with certain exceptions. The second question is whether the collection agency has the legal right to attempt to collect from you. What I look for here is any evidence that the collection agency has authority to proceed. This might be indicated by a purchase agreement or an assignment from the original creditor. In my experience, I often find that the collection agencies fail to attach this document to their lawsuit. In that instance, I would place an objection to the suit to make the collection agency prove that the have the legal right to proceed. If they cannot, I move to have the lawsuit dismissed. The third question is whether the lawsuit meets all of the necessary legal requirements to proceed. Again, in my experience, I have found that collection agencies often fail to properly articulate the claims against the debtor, either by means of failing to provide enough information or failing to provide the proper documentation. If you are sued in Pennsylvania by a collection agency and can answer NO to any of the three questions posed above, you likely have a valid defense to the lawsuit. Contacting an experienced attorney is the right first step.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:05

Beware of Black Friday

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As the mass chaos of Black Friday rapidly approaches you can already see people starting to lose their minds. Kids throw fits at the sight of their favorite toy, grown men beg their wives for the new Xbox Kinect and wives across the nation take the weight of pleasing everyone on their wish list on a limited budget. It is no wonder that the lure of 20% can cause the strongest of men to wait in the cold at 3:30 in the morning! To help you maximize your 20% savings I would like to offer you credit tips during the holiday crunch time! Don't Get Caught in the Retail Card Hype 1. Retail Cards are just "Pretty" Junk Cards. Did you know that typical retail credit cards offer a $750 credit limit with a rate of up to 24.9% - and this is for people with GOOD credit!!! They entice you with 20% off and can be having you pay 4.9% more than the original price, how is that for savings? Don't get caught with a junk card with a logo, it is a bad investment. 2. Inquiries Can Crash Your Scores. Retail cards are not looked on as favorably as credit offered by auto dealerships or mortgage companies. Because of this multiplie inquiries from a retail credit cards can affect your scores more drastically and for longer periods of time than other inquiries. 3: New Accounts can Hurt Your Credit. 10% of your FICO score is based on the age of your credit. This is used by taking the averages of all the accounts opened. Opening new lines of credit will lessen the average age and potentially affect your score. The more your open then more you can affect your score. Also according to FICO it takes an average of 90 days for an account to score correctly which can make your credit scores suffer during this period. Using Credit the Smart Way If you are planning on using credit this holiday season then use an existing card with a low interest rate and a decent credit limit. Anytime you are using a credit card for purchasing keep in mind that 30% of your score will be based on how much you owe and how high your credit limits are. So think before you buy or that 20% off may cost you more than the original asking price! Keith Knapp | Credit Guys

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:05

Beware of Black Friday

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As the mass chaos of Black Friday rapidly approaches you can already see people starting to lose their minds. Kids throw fits at the sight of their favorite toy, grown men beg their wives for the new Xbox Kinect and wives across the nation take the weight of pleasing everyone on their wish list on a limited budget. It is no wonder that the lure of 20% can cause the strongest of men to wait in the cold at 3:30 in the morning! To help you maximize your 20% savings I would like to offer you credit tips during the holiday crunch time! Don't Get Caught in the Retail Card Hype 1. Retail Cards are just "Pretty" Junk Cards. Did you know that typical retail credit cards offer a $750 credit limit with a rate of up to 24.9% - and this is for people with GOOD credit!!! They entice you with 20% off and can be having you pay 4.9% more than the original price, how is that for savings? Don't get caught with a junk card with a logo, it is a bad investment. 2. Inquiries Can Crash Your Scores. Retail cards are not looked on as favorably as credit offered by auto dealerships or mortgage companies. Because of this multiplie inquiries from a retail credit cards can affect your scores more drastically and for longer periods of time than other inquiries. 3: New Accounts can Hurt Your Credit. 10% of your FICO score is based on the age of your credit. This is used by taking the averages of all the accounts opened. Opening new lines of credit will lessen the average age and potentially affect your score. The more your open then more you can affect your score. Also according to FICO it takes an average of 90 days for an account to score correctly which can make your credit scores suffer during this period. Using Credit the Smart Way If you are planning on using credit this holiday season then use an existing card with a low interest rate and a decent credit limit. Anytime you are using a credit card for purchasing keep in mind that 30% of your score will be based on how much you owe and how high your credit limits are. So think before you buy or that 20% off may cost you more than the original asking price! Keith Knapp | Credit Guys

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:03

How Much Weight Do You Put in the BBB?

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Better Business Bureau: Pay for Play? The Better Business Bureau, one of the country's best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a "pay for play" scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don't. To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group. "Right now, this rating system is really unworthy of consumer trust or confidence," said Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal in an interview to be broadcast as part of an ABC News investigation airing tonight on 20/20. In an official demand letter sent to the national headquarters of the Better Business Bureau Thursday, Blumenthal called on the BBB to stop using its grading system, which he said was "potentially harmful and misleading" to consumers. "The BBB accreditation and the BBB ratings systems is not about generating money," said BBB national president and CEO Steve Cox. He said the A minus grade for Hamas was given in error. "Plain and simple, we made a mistake," Cox told ABC News. Errors seem to abound at the Better Business Bureau. As reported by an anonymous blogger the BBB also awarded an A minus rating to a non-existent sushi restaurant in Santa Ana, California and an A plus to a skinhead, neo-Nazi web site called Stormfront. Each listing cost $425. "They ran the credit card and within 12 hours they were an approved, accredited member," said the anonymous blogger, who runs a site called bbbroundup.com. "They're more interested in the money than their credibility," he said. The BBB's Cox said the three listings were all mistakes made by sales people. "That's an inaccurate statement that business people are able to buy A's," Cox said. "We have more than 500,000 non-accredited businesses who have A ratings," he added. Yet, as part of the ABC News investigation, an ABC News producer with a camera was present as two small business owners in Los Angeles were told by Better Business Bureau tele-marketers that their grades of C could be raised to A plus if they paid $395 membership fees. Terri Hartman, the manager of a Los Angeles antique fixtures store, Liz's Antique Hardware, was told only a payment could change her grade, based on one old complaint that had already been resolved. "So, if I don't pay, even though the complaint has been resolved, I still have a C rating?" Hartman then read off her credit card number and the next business day the C grade was replaced with an A plus, and the one complaint was wiped off the record. In a second case, Carmen Tellez, the owner of a company that provides clowns for parties was also told she had to pay to fix her C- grade, based on a two-year old complaint that she says had already been resolved. The C minus became an A plus the very next day after she provided her credit card number for the $395 charge. "If I'm paying for a grade, then how are the customers supposed to really trust the Better Business Bureau?" she asked. Cox said the examples provided by ABC News were violations of sales policy and not a standard way of doing business. "The BBB is not operating fraudulently," Cox said. In his demand letter to the BBB, the Connecticut attorney general said, "I am deeply concerned that certain BBB practices threaten its reputation and effectiveness as a reliable resource for consumers." Allison Southwick, media relations manager for the BBB, said that the BBB had worked with Attorneys Geneal across the country, including Blumenthal, across the country to fight fraud. "We disagree with his characterization that BBB does not adequately disclose the fact that Accredited Businesses financially support BBB," said Southwick. "However, we are always interested in hearing from our partners in consumer advocacy and are pleased to accept constructive feedback from his office and other consumer advocates." "We have made good progress in working with his office on these issues, and anticipate that we will satisfactorily address his concerns," said Southwick. Better Business Bureau Grading System The Better Business Bureau, a non-profit group that began 98 years ago, instituted its A plus through F grading system just two years ago, replacing a "satisfactory/unsatisfactory" ratings system. Critics say the BBB has used the new grading system as part of an extensive tele-marketing campaign to increase membership and revenue. An ABC NEWS examination of filings with the federal government revealed that at least 25 of the Better Business Bureau's top officers had salaries in excess of $100,000. The head of the Los Angeles Better Business Bureau, William Mitchell, was paid more than $400,000, according to the Better business Bureau. "I think the Better Business Bureau changed course and lost its way by adopting a system of pay to play that maybe enhanced its revenues but also greatly diminished its credibility and honesty," said attorney general Blumenthal, who was elected to the United States Senate from Connecticut last week. "It's very troubling and it could be illegal because the failure to disclose to consumers could well be deceptive and misleading," he added. The ABC News investigation found numerous examples of well known companies that are not members of the Better Business Bureau being branded with F grades, often apparently based on scant evidence or a small number of complaints. The five-star Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston was given a F rating after only two complaints. "A million customers served, two complaints resulting in an F rating, seems to be somewhat unusual, to say the least, " hotel general manager Erwin Schinnerl told WCVB-TV in Boston. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck told ABC News that parts of his food and restaurant empire have received an F grade because he refused to pay to join the Better Business Bureau. "You know, if you become a member, you're sure to get an A, but if you don't pay, it's very difficult to get an A," said Puck, who has been a regular on the ABC News program "Good Morning America" since 1986. "I think where you have to join an organization to get a good grade is wrong," Puck said. This article is courtesy of www.NACSO.org

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:03

6 Steps to Credit Success

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The Credit Guys 6 Steps to Credit Success 1. Evaluate: Our Credit Consultants review balances and credit limits, determining if new credit needs to be established, identifying accounts believed to be inaccurate, and determining how to pay off the negative debt. 2. Establish: Often times new, positive credit will need to be established to maximize our clients FICO® scores. We offer tools from Secured Credit Cards to large Unsecured Lines of Credit for clients who need to establish new credit. 3. Dispute: Inaccurate, unverifiable, or misleading information reporting against our clients are aggressively disputed with the Credit Bureaus AND the Creditors to ensure a permanent change - not a Band-Aid. It is not uncommon for our clients to see over 80% of the inaccurate items removed within 4 to 6 months! 4. Settle: Many times accounts report a balance that is past due. We help our client to settle and pay these past due balances to ensure that these accounts do not appear again on the credit report with a different company. 5. Save: When we have seen improvement on our clients FICO® scores we will identify areas that our clients can save money from having better credit scores. This may include refinancing an automobile, re-applying for insurance, consolidating credit cards, or refinancing their home. 6. Equip: Our clients receive the added benefit of financial tools and credit tips to help them sustain lasting credit success. Others who have used these same tools have enjoyed a lifetime of great credit!

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:02

How Your Balances Affect Your Credit Scores

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30% of your credit scores are determined by your balances. So let's take some time to understand this aspect of your credit report and how it can affect you. Understanding Your Balances: FICO® will calculate the ratio of your available credit to your balances when determining your scores. This is very important for you to remember when trying to maximize your credit scores. Generally keeping your balances below 50% of the credit limit or original amount owed will help you to maintain your credit scores at a good level. To maximize your scores you will want to keep your balances below 10%. Remember FICO® trying to determine the likelihood of you going 90 days late and statistically when your balances are high the chances for financial difficulties raise. Proving your ability to manage your credit will provide the best results for your credit scores. Calculating Your Utilization Ratio: There is often much confusion about calculating your balance ratio. FICO® takes the credit limit of revolving lines of credit and the original balance of installment loans to determine your available credit. Then they take the actual balance of the accounts that are reporting to determine the used credit. The dividing the used credit by the available credit will determine your Utilization Ratio. Total Balance / Total Credit Limit or Original Balance = Utilization Ratio Maximizing Your Scores Now here is where the game gets tricky. I have heard hundreds of times that, I have bought a car to raise my credit scores. This is not a wise way to raise your FICO® score! It will take YEARS to get your balances down to maximize your scores going this way. This is also the reason that you DO NOT want to buy a car if you are trying to finance a home - it will have a negative affect on your score while FICO® is determining whether you can handle the debt. To maximize your scores I recommend the following steps: If you don't have credit cards get 1 or 2. I do no recommend or condone going into debt but there are times that you have to dance the FICO® jig to maximize your finances. So keeping this in mind, if you don't have any credit cards get 1 or 2 with a high limit that you can easily pay off monthly. I recommend getting a name brand card (Mastercard, VISA, Discover, American Express) and avoiding junk cards (which will be covered at a later date) that you can use for a part of your budget such as a credit card just for gas or groceries. This way you know that you will have to pay them off monthly to continue using them. If you have credit cards with high balances pay them down or raise the limit. If you can afford to pay down your cards then do it! Another great trick to maximizing your scores is to ask your creditors for a credit limit raise. Being out of debt is the most important aspect to your finances but if you are one of the millions paying 30 to 40% more monthly on your debt and utilities because of your credit scores then again we are going to do the FICO® jig to help you maximize your finances. Don't refinance your auto loans. When you refinance your auto loan your may be lowering your payment but utilization ratio will be raised again. Also keep in mind that an installment loan will charge you a bulk of your interest on the front part of the loan so many times it may be more beneficial financially to keep the loan instead of paying more interest again. Don't open new installment loans. New installment loans will have a negative impact on your scores and will take months (even years) to recoup the points lost. If you are in the market of buying a new home or a new car you may want to explore these steps. Credit is not something that should be leaned on as an everyday part of life (even though the Credit Reporting Agencies would like that!) but used for large purchases so understanding that your scores may drop when you make a large purchase can help you to plan to maximize your finances! As always if you have any questions for our staff please don't hesitate to call us at 816-463-4626 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Keith Knapp CEO | Owner Credit Guys

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:02

Remove Accounts In Dispute

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Recent changes in underwriting guidelines with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA now prohibit a loan to be closed with accounts labeled "Consumer Disputes This Account". If you are running into this issue reporting on your credit report it can be very frustrating to remove this information. Below we have made a detailed list of how to rapidly remove these accounts in dispute on your own. To remove the accounts in dispute status quickly the following steps need to be taken: Contact the Credit Bureaus: TransUnion 1-800-916-8800 Experian 1-888-397-3742 Equifax 800-846-5279 or 866-322-3162 CSC 1-866-487-0264 Obtain a credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com (you will need the report numbers for the next 2 steps) Ask the bureaus to take the accounts out of dispute: The customer support rep that you are speaking with can tell you if the remark is reporting from them or the creditor. Tell them “THESE ACCOUNTS NEED TO BE TAKEN OUT OF DISPUTE” Find out a timeline for the accounts being taken out of dispute Obtain the credit report or dispute identification code to follow up on the process online Periodically check your reports online: (This can be done every 2 or 3 days) TransUnion - click here Experian - click here Equifax - click here CSC - click here Accounts in dispute with the creditor: Some accounts may have been disputed directly with the creditor – they are required by law to update your credit report to show account in dispute. To remove this comment you will need to contact the creditor directly. Some creditors may press you to pay a balance on the account and it may be a step required to do if the creditor is unwilling to provide documentation. Press the creditor to get a letter faxed while you are on the phone with them that this account is no longer in dispute. Issue’s and FAQS: We have found that some accounts (few) have never been disputed but are showing that they are in dispute. This will take persistence to get the company to send information that the account was not in dispute and you may need to climb the corporate ladder to do so, but it can be done. The run around – if the credit bureaus tell you that they did not place the dispute comment on the credit report and they cannot remove it tell them you would like to initiate a dispute that the account is not in dispute. They control what is posted on your credit report and can remove the information. If the creditors tell you they do not have a letter for this simply tell them that you still need one because they are reporting inaccurate information on your report that needs to be deleted. You may also get them to update their online dispute system (E-OSCAR) with the bureaus to remove any comments. TIPS: Documentation beats confrontation. Document, Document, Document every person that you talk to, every conversation so that you can refer back at all times. Be persistent. Don’t take no for an answer – if the person you don’t know can’t give you the answer you want then ask for their manager and keep climbing until you get answers. BE NICE. Sugar attracts more flies than vinegar. The nicer you are the further you will get and the more help people will be willing to provide you. Be nice as much as possible. Once you see your report updated it may take some time before the credit provider of your lender to updated their report. To find out how soon this account will updated the lender will need to contact their credit provider representative to find out when their reports update with the credit bureaus. If you wish for Credit Guys to help you with this problem we are more than happy to help you with these accounts.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:01

Tax Lien Killer!

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February 24, 2011 President Obama announced new policies regarding Federal Tax Liens. Some of the highlights of these changes are: No Federal Tax Liens will be placed for amounts under $10,000 No Delinquent balances under $10,000 will be reported with the credit bureaus A consumer who makes a payment arrangement with their tax lien and makes their 1st payment as an auto-debt will be able to get the tax lien removed from their credit report. This policy is retroactive which will affect all Federal Tax Liens current in place! There has been no report on whether the States will follow suit on this but Credit Guys has found that the credit bureaus have made a broad adjustment to the reporting of ALL tax liens and we are seeing the similar results for State Tax Liens.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:00

What's Your Question?

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Do you have a question about Credit that you would like answered? Leave me a comment and I will reply back with an answer for you!

Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:00

Statute of Limitations

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What is the Statute of Limitations? Statutes of Limitations: A statute setting a time limit on legal action in certain cases. How the Statute of Limitation Affect Your Credit and Finances The above definition describes in detail what the statute of limitations (SOL) is. There are many misconceptions on what this means to a consumers credit report as well as their finances.There are 2 time lines we need to address to really understand the statute of limitations. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows for negative (and positive) information to be report against you for up to 7 years from the date the incident occurs. If the item is a Bankruptcy the information can be reported for 10 years and Tax liens can report for up to an atrocious 15 years! The statute of limitations differs from the amount of time an item can be reported on your credit report. SOL refers to the amount of time a creditor has to take legal actions against you (sue you!). The common misconception is that a collector cannot attempt to collect on a debt past the SOL - this is not true. A collection never just "goes away", a collection agency or creditor can attempt to collect on it for as long as they would like, the SOL just sets the date that they are allowed to take you to court for it. A best practice when trying to pay collections or old derogatory accounts off is to wait until you can pay them off in 1 lump sum. Making a partial payment on an account can reset the statute of limitations and give the creditor the right to press legal actions sometimes 10 - 11 years after the incident. Here are the key points to remember about Statute of Limitations: Your debt never magically disappears SOL determines how long a creditor or collection agency has to press legal actions Just because an account has passed the statute of limitations does not mean that it cannot be reported Making a partial payment resets the statute of limitations Even if an account is past the statute of limitations - you still owe the money

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:58

Do I Need to Establish New Credit?

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With all the talk about negative turns of the economy and the jobs market the question for personal credit is raised – How Important is it to Have New Credit? This is a great question, so let’s take a look at what is required for positive credit to affect your FICO score. The ratio for your credit scores consist of the 5 factors that are: 35%: Credit History 30%: Balances (or Debt Ratio) 15%: Length of Credit 10%: New Credit 10%: Types of Credit Used (or Mix of Credit) When consideration whether or not you need to establish credit there are several of the Factors that you must first take into consideration, not just one. If you have positive open credit you may not need to apply for new credit, to affect the Mix of Credit Factor we have found that you need about 1 to 1.5 revolving lines of credit to every 1 installment loan. If you get heavy either on either side of this equation it will offset you FICO score to reflect a higher risk. If you have had a negative payment history and have not established new credit you will want to take the step to re-establish a positive credit history. This step alone can affect 4 of the 5 Credit Factors in a positive way. Re-establishing credit and leaving a low balance will have a very good affect on your FICO scores and it highly recommended. Bottom line is that if you establish new credit your FICO score will more than likely decrease while you are establishing a payment history for this account. We have found that an installment loan will have more of a drastic affect for a longer period of time (due to Debt Ratio) where this factor can be controlled with an installment loan.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:58

How to Remove Tax Liens

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In this weeks Credit Corner we address dealing with Tax Liens and some of the changes that have taken place over the last year. The form needed to complete this process is in the link below. Please feel free to leave your comments! Tax Lien Form

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:57

Issues With Paying Off Collections

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Too often we hear real estate agents or loan officer tell a client to pay off some old collections, and then wonder why their credit score DROPPED! So I want to try and explain how sometimes doing the right thing, is not doing the right thing. Each creditors information or trade line reports to the credit report with a MOP Rating (Current manner of payment) with a 1 rating being good, and a 9 rating being the worst. All charged off and collection accounts are recorded as a 9 MOP rating. The moment an account in collections reaches a 9 rating, the dollar amount of that account no longer matters. Meaning a $10 collection and a $5000 collection are viewed the same in the eyes of the FICO scoring algorithm. The 2 most important factors now are paid/unpaid and the date of last activity or date of last update. When it comes to credit issues time helps heal things. Let me explain, if you have a $50 medical collection on the credit report that hasn't updated since 3 years ago, and you have a $50 medical collection that just reported last month. The newer collection that reported last month will have a much greater negative impact on the client’s credit report. Here is where it gets tricky and what normally causes the issues of scores dropping. When you just go through and pay off old collections, it will re-age or update the collection to the present. It is basically updating the date of last activity to now. Since it is a collection, it will still be rated as a 9 MOP rating. What this means is the FICO scoring algorithm doesn't differentiate that it was an old collection that was just updated. Rather it just sees it as a new MOP 9 rated account was added to the credit, hence dropping their scores because it thinks a new collection hit their report. Credit Guys has a few ways we can help your clients avoid this pitfall. We can attempt a pay for deletion on these accounts, meaning we can negotiate a settlement amount with the promised the collection will then be completely removed from the report. If we are unable to receive the previous outcome, we will negotiate a settlement amount where they will NOT update the date of last activity.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:56

How Credit Card Balances Affect Your Credit Score!

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On a daily basis we hear people complaining to us about how they pay their bills on time and wonder why they don’t have perfect credit. Well that is because credit is complicated and there are many different factors that go into the scoring. Payment history only accounts for up to 35% of what goes into your scores. So I want to explain “Credit Utilization” which can account for almost just as much as paying your bills on time at 30% in this short article. An important note to remember is credit scores were developed to help the banks determine how much of a Risk you are to lend money to. So the second largest (30%) factor in helping the banks determine your risk factor is “Credit Utilization”, which is simply referring to your balances in relation to their limits on revolving accounts. They have developed certain thresholds to help them determine your risk as it relays to balances on your revolving accounts. Those thresholds are as follows; 0% = No Data- If you don’t ever carry a balance they have nothing to report so there is “No Data” being submitted to your credit reports. 1-10% = Perfect Ratio -Consistently carrying a balance in this range will maximize your credit utilization factor. 11-30% = Good Ratio- This is considered acceptable and will get you a good positive rating. 31-50% = Neutral Ratio - You are getting closing to becoming a “Risk” so you will not get hurt here but you won’t get rewarded either. 51%+ = Bad Ratio - Once you break this threshold you are becoming more of a risk and the closer you get to 100% or Maxed Out levels the more of a risk you become and the more your scores will be negatively affected. How to determine your “Credit Utilization” is very simple, just take your balance and divide it by your limit. Example: Your have a $387 balance on a $1000 limit credit card. You are 38.7% utilized on this account. While Credit Utilization is a large factor that can negatively impact your scores, another important note to remember is your credit score is a snapshot of what is on your credit at the time a report or scores have been requested. Meaning it is very simply to fix this issue. Your final utilization score is based on an aggregated total of all of your accounts. Sometime it is easier to pay your balances down, sometimes it might be easier to open a new account or increase the limits on existing accounts. Some people are going to call me crazy about raising the limits or opening a new account. Remember the goal here is to bring your utilization percentages into anacceptablerange, thisdoes not always need to be done by paying down the balances. While that is the most preferable route, it is not the only way or the best way in some cases. Yes, I understand that increasing old limits or adding new accounts will require a new inquiry to be placed on the report and the length of history could also be affected. But in this game of percentages, inquiries and history hold a MUCH lower % than Credit Utilization in regards to credit scores. So getting your utilization in line at the expense of a new inquiry or account is well worth it. Credit Utilization is a constant battle, and is something that always needs attention. It is not something that can be reviewed once a year and addressed then.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:56

Guide To Understanding Credit

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In this book Keith Knapp CEO and Dave Fulk President of Credit Guys will give you an in depth look of what is in your credit and how to understand it. **DOWNLOAD HERE** Guide_To_Understanding_Credit.pdf

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:56

What is Credit Repair?

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Credit Repair is relatively new to the financial industry and has started to gain some notoriety within the last several years. With this young industry’s new found fame there has been many questions about what exactly is credit repair, so let me help define it for you: Credit Repair is working to correct or remove inaccurate and/or unverifiable information from a consumer’s credit report. The Credit Repair Organizations Act allows for a consumer to hire a third party company (Credit Repair Company) to dispute erroneous accounts on their behalf. When a Credit Repair Company has been hired they assume the responsibility of the dispute process with the credit bureaus and creditors. Understanding what happens during the dispute process will help you have peace of mind about the time and practices of a Credit Repair Company. Step 1: Identify The dispute process outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows a consumer the right to dispute an account that is believed to be inaccurate or unverifiable. A trained professional can help a client identify errors on a credit report that can be disputed. Creating the proper dispute will help the credit bureaus and creditors understand what is being asked for by the consumer and help expedite the process. Step 2: Dispute When the credit bureaus receive a dispute letter from (or on behalf of) a consumer the letter is scanned into a computer system called e-OSCAR (Electronic - Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting). E-OSCAR reviews the dispute letter and then will identify the account being disputed and the dispute instructions for the account. At that time the dispute instructions are translated into a 3 digit code and transmitted to the creditor. Often times the only information the creditor receives is the 3 digit code and no additional documentation or instruction.. Knowing how to work with E-OSCAR and getting the correct 3 digit code is crucial in the outcome and time it take to get repaired. Step 3: Response After the creditor has received the 3 digit code disputing the account, they are allowed up to 30 days to investigate and it is their responsibility to either correct the error, delete the account, or leave the account unchanged. The creditor will then respond to the credit bureaus notifying them of their action and in turn the credit bureaus will respond to the consumer notifying them of the result of the disputes. ***DISCLAIMER*** While this article makes the process sound fast and easy please keep in mind this is a general overview of the dispute process, but of course like any process there are variations in the execution. Often times just 1 round of disputes with the credit bureaus is not enough to get inaccurate or unverifiable information removed from a credit report. This is why it is extremely important to work with a knowledgeable and reputability company like Credit Guys.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:55

Mining in the Margins

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Our President Dave Fulk was interviewed and quoted in this article from Realtor.com CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Saturday, 28 November 2015 05:54

Debunking a few Credit Myths

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A Few Credit Myths Myth #1:You share a credit score with your spouse. Myth #2:Your credit score only counts when you're looking to borrow money. Myth #3Always pay your credit card balance in full and that will give you the best credit. Myth #4:If a judge in a divorce preceding orders a spouse to pay a debt, it's no longer affected by credit. Myth #5:Multiple auto/mortgage loan inquiries will hurt your score for each one. Myth #6:A serious financial crisis like as a foreclosure or bankruptcy permanently hurts your credit score. Myth #7FICO scores are locked in for six months, and that they change every six months. Myth #8Paying off an old collection or charge off will increase your credit score. Myth #9The credit bureaus are government agencies. Myth #10Your salary makes a difference in your credit score These are just a few of the top myths we have to debunk on a routine basis. Contact us if you would like more info on our other top Credit Myths

Who Is Epic Insurance? Epic Insurance is your local insurance agency that brings together the experience and expertise of local agents with over 75 years of combined service in the Lee’s Summit and greater Kansas City areas and throughout Missouri and Kansas. While all of Epic Insurance agents are skilled in serving a wide variety of insurance needs, each has a central focus. Wayne Retherford’s forte is in personal lines of insurance while Paul Crisafulli’s lies in commercial insurance and business insurance. Todd Miller is the agency’s life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits expert; Patty Noel and Mendy Doak provide knowledgeable, friendly customer service and account management for Epic’s clients. Together, the Epic Insurance staff form an adept team of service providers who draw on deep knowledge and broad experience in the insurance industry in order to meet each client’s individual needs. Why Choose Epic Insurance? More than anything else, the agents at Epic Insurance strive to build long-lasting relationships with their clients and to serve them well. Their goal is always to go above and beyond client expectations, providing the protection and peace of mind that come from an individually tailored insurance program and a skillful insurance agent. Because their focus is on relationships rather than on sales and commissions, Epic Insurance agents offer personal service and strategic planning as they work to find the most cost-effective solutions. Most people find insurance a little confusing and unsettling. Auto and home, life and health insurance, personal and commercial insurance can feel like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that don’t quite fit together. Epic Insurance job is to analyze your overall insurance needs, answer your questions, and help you put all the pieces together. When you work with Epic Insurance, you know you have a local agent on your side, whose first priority is to serve you. Epic’s agents have a proven track record of excellent service. They know the area and they’re invested in the Lee’s Summit community. As Todd puts it, “I am trying to always treat the client the way I would want my own family to be treated: professionally, and with the utmost respect.” Why Choose an Independent Agent? Agents who work for one insurance company are limited to the policies and premiums offered by that one company. In contrast, the independent agents at Epic Insurance are free to “shop around” on your behalf. This gives them the freedom to find the most cost-effective solutions available and to tailor personal and commercial insurance plans to meet your unique needs. As a result, you will have a wider range of real choices with less hassle along the way. Insurance policies can be nuanced and confusing. Epic’s agents will explain the differences between policies and factors that affect premiums so that you feel comfortable with and confident about your insurance choices. How Do You Contact Epic Insurance? Epic Insurance is conveniently located in the Eastport Office Park at Highway 291 and Woods Chapel Road in Lee’s Summit, MO. Call 816-795-6600 or email Mendy and Patty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your insurance needs and to get a free quote. We’ll Shop ~ You Compare ~ You Decide http://www.epicinsurance.com

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