Credit lawyers work on your behalf to repair your credit based on their knowledge of credit-related laws. They can help you in many ways, such as filing credit disputes with the credit bureaus on your behalf.
Millions of Americans have errors or unfair negative items on at least one of their three credit reports, which can harm their credit scores. It is usually your responsibility to inform the credit bureaus of these errors. Depending on your situation, the process may take anywhere from a month to a few years.
A credit lawyer can complete the process faster and with fewer errors than if you handled it yourself. Their knowledge of credit laws, as well as their experience working with credit bureaus, debt collectors, and other entities, are great qualities to have.
A Credit Lawyer Handles a Variety of Credit Matters
A credit lawyer is someone who works on your behalf to repair your credit based on their knowledge of credit law.
Listed below are some ways credit lawyers may be able to help you:
- Check your credit report for errors
- Dispute credit bureau errors
- Communicate with your creditors
- Deal with collection agencies to settle a debt
- Represent you at trial
- Provide you with suggestions for improving your score
In most cases, they will begin by reviewing your credit reports and history to look for errors or misreported information. Once the appropriate documentation is gathered, a credit lawyer will contact the relevant entities to verify, challenge, and ideally correct any misreported information.
Depending on your situation, a credit lawyer may take other steps. Credit bureaus may remove the error if they believe the evidence provided is sufficient, or you can make your case a few more times to the bureaus.
What Laws Should I Be Familiar With?
To understand your rights, you should familiarize yourself with credit-related laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Credit Repair Organizations Act.
These laws were put in place to protect consumers and ensure that they were treated fairly.
Learn more about a few of them below:
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Gives you access to your credit reports, the right to dispute errors, and many other rights related to credit repair.
- Fair Credit Billing Act: This act protects you from unfair credit billing, and permits you to dispute inaccurate charges with credit card companies.
- Debt Collection Practices Act: This law limits when debt collectors are allowed to contact you, protects you from harassment, and grants several other rights to protect you from debt collectors.
- Credit Repair Organizations Act: This act protects consumers from unfair or deceptive advertising from credit repair organizations and holds them to certain standards.
Is There a Difference Between Using a Credit Lawyer and a Credit Repair Company?
Typically, a credit lawyer will only have experience from previous legal cases. Credit repair companies may have more diverse experience across a variety of credit-related issues.
Despite being well versed in the law and the steps you will need to take from a legal standpoint, credit lawyers may lack experience with specific cases or specific steps if they have not handled similar cases before.
A credit repair company’s staff is trained to handle a variety of cases, and they can usually handle multiple clients at once. However, not all credit repair companies employ lawyers, so you may end up working with someone without a legal background.
How Much Does a Credit Lawyer Charge?
The costs of credit lawyers can range from $500 to $5,000 or more. Your lawyer’s fees will vary depending on many factors, including the number of errors on your credit reports, what services the lawyer provides, and many others.
It’s important to read your credit lawyer’s contract carefully to know what you’ll be paying and what services they will perform on your behalf. Also, walk away if you don’t feel comfortable with the services they offer.
Credit Lawyers vs. Credit Repair Companies
Both credit lawyers and credit repair companies have advantages and disadvantages. Credit lawyers, for example, are not employed by companies. A credit lawyer can work alone or with other credit lawyers in a firm. When you work with a credit lawyer or law firm, you receive individual attention and time to improve your credit.
Most credit lawyers require fees, depending on the results of the case. Therefore, while you might end up owing less money to a credit card company or collection agency and have better credit, you also have a legal bill to pay.
Additionally, the positive impact on your credit rating and the resulting reduction in interest rates you pay, as well as the access to loans and credit cards that you may have, may make the cost worth it.
Companies that repair credit include large corporations and small, local firms. Generally, they handle multiple cases at once, have many years of experience, and are trained to handle a wide variety of credit-related problems rather than just a few specific ones. Depending on the size and complexity of your credit issues, you may benefit more from hiring a credit lawyer.
If you cannot afford a credit lawyer, non-profit organizations can help. A number of non-profits offer services such as credit counseling, budgeting workshops, and other financial resources. Some non-profits may also have volunteers who are attorneys.
Depending on their budget and availability of staff and volunteers, non-profits often have limitations, so if you’re interested in going this route, you should inquire about their process.
Even if you’re planning to work with a non-profit, you should still check their reviews and do some research to make sure the organization is legitimate.
What Can I Do to Avoid Scams?
By doing your research, asking the right questions, and familiarizing yourself with your legal rights, you can avoid credit lawyer scams.
You should check out the lawyer’s reviews and testimonials to learn what you can expect if you hire them. You can also check their records with the state bar association. Here are a few websites where you can find information about credit lawyers:
When you meet with each lawyer for the first time, you should prepare a list of questions and note any warning signs. These questions include:
- How much experience do you have working on credit-related cases with people in my situation?
- Based on my situation, what services will you provide for me?
- How much will this cost me?
Watch out for the following red flags as well:
- You must pay in advance
- Misrepresents your information in an attempt to gain an advantage
- You are offered a Social Security number for sale
- Doesn’t explain your legal rights, such as your right to repair your credit yourself
- The promise of delivering results in a specific time frame or at a specific point
- A claim that they can remove accurate information from your credit report
To conclude, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of some of the laws mentioned earlier. Then, you can quickly determine if the lawyer has the necessary experience and is knowledgeable enough to help you.
Is it Necessary to Hire a Lawyer to Fix My Credit Score?
There are many things credit lawyers likely have experience with that you may not have time to learn about or handle yourself. Examples include:
- Reviewing credit reports and dealing with creditors and credit bureaus
- Knowledge of credit laws and consumer rights
- Taking time throughout the day to contact creditors and bureaus
The best option for you will depend on a variety of factors, but hiring a credit lawyer is likely in your best interest.