LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- This week is National Consumer Protection Week presented by the Federal Trade Commission.
The Better Business Bureau has some tips about credit repair and debt relief services.
If you’ve got mounting credit card bills, you may also have mounting credit repair or debt relief offers collecting in your mailbox.
Those promises of reduced debt, low-interest loans and magical fixes to your credit score can be tempting, but you need to be very careful to make sure nobody is taking advantage of you.
“A lot of the marketing that these companies do targets consumers with obviously higher debt or ones that have looked into getting debt consolidation loans and stuff in the past,” said Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana. “And really, the thing to be on alert of is there are companies out there that don’t necessarily do everything that they say they can do, and they’re asking for fees upfront.”
Credit repair companies promise to clean up your credit report for a fee, but the chances they can do anything you couldn’t do on your own are slim.
Experts say no one can remove accurate negative information from your credit report.
“Any negative information that’s accurate still has to be reported, and a lot of the credit repair companies portray as though they can fix your credit and make it to be a good credit report,” said Babin. “When in reality, your credit is what it is, and if there’s negative information, but it’s accurate, that has to be maintained on your credit report.”
Here are some red flags to help you avoid companies with questionable practices for credit repair services:
- Fees are charged before your debts are settled
- Guarantees to make the debt go away or improve your credit score
- The company makes promises about what they can do for you without actually reviewing your financial situation
“We know that there are businesses out there that are charging consumers upfront. They’re charging fees for all of these financial services that they are providing,” Babin explained. “When in reality, they’re not doing much for you other than charging you fees and taking some of your money.”
In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana will be holding a free public education event Thursday, March 5, at the West Regional Library in Scott from 6-7 p.m.
The BBB will give insights on understanding which scams pose the highest risk, how these scams rank in the risk index factors of exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss and the biggest takeaway from analyzing 2019 data. The BBB will also cover how scams work and how to prevent becoming a victim.