What to Do About a Credit Repair Scam
The credit repair industry is known for scamming consumers. Though there is a Federal law - the Credit Repair Organizations Act - that governs credit repair companies, some of these services still blatantly violate the law by guaranteeing results they can’t promise or requiring customers to pay upfront. If you become a victim of a credit repair scam, here’s what you should do.
Keep a copy of all documents related to the transaction.
Don’t throw away anything involved with your credit repair. Keep a copy of the contract detailing what the credit repair company promises to do on your behalf. Also keep proof that you paid the company, even if it’s a printout from your online bank statement.
Ask the company to refund your money.
Credit repair companies aren’t supposed to collect payment until they’ve actually done the services so they’ve already broken the law if they ask you to pay upfront. If you did pay upfront, ask for a refund. Let the credit repair company know that you’re going to do everything on the rest of this list if they don’t refund your payment.
Report the company to the FTC.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the government body responsible for regulating credit repair companies. The FTC may not go after the credit repair company based on your complaint alone, but if they receive enough complaints about a particular company, they’ll launch an investigation and may even sue the company, force them to give up their profits, require them to pay the consumers they've scammed, and even force the business to close.
Report the company to your state Attorney General.
One of the Attorney General’s responsibilities is to make sure these laws are enforced. Many states have laws for credit repair companies or at least laws that prevent companies from scamming consumers. You can report the credit repair company to your state Attorney General even if the company is based out of another state.
Complain to a protection agency, trade association, or a licensing office.
Your local consumer protection office may have additional information about what you can do to solve the problem. You can report the credit repair company to a trade association like the National Association of Credit Services Organization if the credit repair company is a member. If the credit repair company claims they're accredited, find out the name of their accrediting agency and report them there.
Your state may have required credit repair companies to be licensed. The state Attorney General’s office can tell you if this is true for your state and if it is, you can report the credit repair company to the licensing agency. They may lose their business license for scamming customers.
File a claim with the BBB.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports information about how trustworthy businesses are. Many companies try to maintain a positive BBB rating because it affects their future business. The company may be more willing to refund your money or otherwise satisfy your complaint to keep a good standing with the BBB.
Sue in small claims court.
If the credit repair company refuses to refund your money for services that weren’t performed (ex., breach of a written or oral contract), you can sue them in your local small claims court. Small claims court fees are typically low and you may not need an attorney to represent you. There's typically a limit on the amount you can sue for in small claims court. For example, the maximum claim limit is $3,000 in Alabama and $25,000 in Tennessee.