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Getting your clients results beyond the average dispute letter is necessary in order to compete in today’s business climate.
Clients want results and they want them fast.
Assuming you’re conducting business in an ethical way and avoiding shady practices, then it is important that you brush up on advanced dispute tactics that will help you get the results your clients want and in the time frame, they desire.
There are a few ways to approach your clients’ dispute needs, let’s start off with what constitutes “bad credit”.
Most credit repair companies simply send a letter to the credit bureaus stating that a particular debt is inaccurate and should be investigated.
The FCRA dictates that the credit bureaus must investigate any dispute, and if it can’t be proved legitimate within thirty days, it has to be removed.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Vague letters lacking any kind of strategy won’t get the job done.
Citing a specific debt along with a precise and legally sound reason for why it is incorrect will yield better results most of the time.
So, with that being said, let’s cover those different kinds of wrong credit information.
Read our guide on outsourcing credit repair dispute letters.
Advanced Dispute Tactics: Statute of Limitations (SOL)
One of the more common errors that can happen with your client’s credit information is the failure to observe the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations refers to how long a debt can be listed on your client’s credit report without action being taken against them.
In other words, your client’s creditors have a certain amount of time in which to recover the money they owe them.
If a creditor allows this time to elapse without taking action against your client, your client may not have to pay the debts owed.
However, the details can vary greatly depending on the type of debt and the agreement your client had with their creditor.
The length of time may change from debt to debt, as well as the point at which the clock starts running.
The period could begin at a date laid out in the contract, which will state clearly when your client’s creditor is allowed to take them to court.
In other cases, the time may begin after a default notice has been issued and has been allowed to expire.
It is important to understand that there are many factors that come into play. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
There are times when the statute of limitations expiring does not release your client from their debt.
It is also possible for your client’s creditor or a debt collection agency to continue to attempt to recover money from them after the time has expired.
It’s a good idea to seek professional advice with situations like this.
In any case, the statute of limitations can sometimes be as much as twelve years, but it can also be as little as three years.
If that time has expired, your client may be able to get the debt removed from their credit report.
Advanced Dispute Tactics: Re-Aging Debts
Calling this one a “mistake” is being generous with the debt collection agencies.
There is typically a timeframe for creditors and debt collection agencies to recover what they are owed; however, the start of that period can be misreported.
When this happens, it could be an honest mistake, but it benefits the new owner of the debt to have that date moved.
Re-aging is basically a resetting of the clock on that statute of limitations and typically happens when your client’s debt is taken up by a debt collector.
The debt collector can work on behalf of creditors, tracking down people like your client and attempt to collect on that debt.
They can also be there because someone has “bought” the debt.
Debt-buying typically only happens when a creditor has accepted that they are not going to get their owed money back from your client or has decided that the effort of getting the money is not worth it.
They will then sell the debt to a debt buyer for a fraction of the amount they are owed, receiving some return on their investment, while the debt-buyer will continue to pursue your client for the full amount.
The difference between what your client owes and how much the debt buyer pays for the debt is how they make their money.
Re-aging happens at the point of debt sale. When the date of this action is set to the date in which the debt was bought, it extends the timeframe of the statute of limitations.
This is a clear violation of the statute of limitations is still set from the original date of the action.
If you believe the statute of limitations on your client’s debt has expired and a debt collector contacts your client to recoup the debt, your client should seek legal advice before taking further action.
Making any payments, even small ones can be seen as acknowledging the debt, and your client may put themselves in a position of having to pay a debt in which the statute of limitations has already expired.
If your client finds that their debt has been re-aged, they have solid grounds to get it removed from their credit report.
Licensing is a complex animal, particularly when it involves out of state collections.
Many states require bonding, licensing, or insurance before a collector can operate in that state.
The problem with this, from a collector’s point of view, is that getting the necessary licenses for every state is can be expensive.
For this reason, many collectors only take care of these fundamentals in their home state.
If you find that to be the case with a debt collector pursuing your client, your client may have grounds to get that debt removed from their credit report.
Not having the required licensing, bonding, or insurance for a particular state makes any collections invalid.
Don’t Be Shy About Disputing
Credit reporting companies have no stake in the game when it comes to your client’s credit.
They merely report, and they earn their money regardless of what your client’s rating looks like.
Debt collectors, on the other hand, have a vested interested in errors and infractions that disadvantage your client.
This is not to say they are all dishonest, of course, but it is well within human nature to overlook things when it benefits you.
If you have any reason to believe that your client’s credit report contains erroneous information, don’t be shy about disputing it.
Filing a dispute does not negatively impact your client’s credit score, so there is no downside to trying.
Credit reporting is big business, and you will find that these companies often have multiple offices, but there is no requirement to send disputes to a particular address.
Be sure to send disputes via certified mail.
It can take a long time for a dispute to be dealt with by a credit reporting company, but once the dispute has arrived and been signed for, it is their problem.
Other Useful Information
Knowing your client’s rights will serve your client well when dealing with debt collectors.
For example, any debt collector wishing to collect from your client must be able to prove that they do, in fact, owe them money.
This proof would need to at least cover the initial agreement with the creditor, and proof that the debt collector has the right to collect that debt, whether they are acting on behalf of the creditor or a debt buyer.
Debt collectors rely on fear of litigation and repossession in their line of work, but you might be surprised at how often they fail to carry any necessary proof.
Another useful tactic at your disposal is the ability to opt-out with credit bureaus.
These reporting agencies indirectly notify your creditors when your client applies for credit, make disputes, change addresses, and a host of other sensitive information that can be used by creditors to track them.
They can choose to opt-out of these services.
One of the most fundamental pieces of advice when dealing with advanced dispute tactics is to not take everything you are told as final.
Debt collectors may not be acting entirely in good faith.
Credit reporting companies have no incentive to apply rigorous standards of accuracy to their information.
Do not be afraid to dispute bad data on your client’s credit report, as there is no penalty for doing so.
But when you do dispute that information, be specific as to which information is erroneous, and why it is erroneous.
Simply requesting a debt be investigated is unlikely to work.
And be sure to send all communications via tracked mail so that they have to be signed for, and there can be no doubt about them being received by the credit reporting company.
Always ask for proof from debt collectors, whether it be proved that they have a right to collect the debt, proof that your client actually owes the debt in the first place, and even proof that they are legally allowed to operate in your client’s state.
You would be surprised at how often these are not observed by debt collectors.
By knowing the ins and outs of the disputing process, you can ensure your clients are not pressured for payments and you can keep your client’s credit history safe.
All it takes is a little knowledge.
Tools You’ll Need
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