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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

8 Steps to Better Credit

Your credit report isn’t just for loans anymore! Job offers, promotions, security clearances, and insurance quotes are now routinely affected by your credit report or other types of consumer reports.

Follow these steps to rebuild and improve your credit.

Request Current Credit Reports

You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every twelve months under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and more often if you are the victim of identity theft or on public assistance. Request your credit report regularly and check that all information is accurate.

Address Any Credit Inaccuracies

Credit report errors are fairly common. If there is inaccurate information on your credit report, it’s important that you address it. Write and dispute directly with the bureaus. Include a current copy of the report with your dispute. It will be helpful to highlight the disputed item. Your dispute letter should briefly state why this item is listed incorrectly. Attach any supporting documentation that illustrates your claim. Send your letter to the credit bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute. If the bureaus don’t correct the error, you may need to send a second dispute.  Be sure to keep copies of all dispute correspondence.

Pay Bills in Full and on Time

Falling behind on payments will have a negative impact on your credit history. Always pay your bills in full and by the date listed on the statement or invoice.

Review Current Accounts

Pay down balances on existing credit cards or loans and pay off delinquent accounts. Be strategic about closing cards; consider keeping cards that you’ve had for a long time that show a consistent payment history and consider closing those with high interest. You should only maintain credit accounts that you can afford.

Maintain Stable Employment

A lapse in employment history can harm your credit. A high debt to income ratio will also negatively impact your credit history.

Do Not Max-out Credit Cards

Part of your credit score is based on your credit utilization, or the percentage of your available credit you use. Never use the maximum amount of available credit. Doing so will hurt your credit score. It’s best to not exceed fifty percent of your available credit.

Do Not Co-sign Loans

When you agree to cosign on a loan, you are liable for payment of the loan, despite any side agreement you may have with the other borrower. If the borrower defaults, you will be responsible for making payments. Co-signing brings a significant risk that you likely don’t want to take on as you rebuild your credit.

Building Credit Takes Time and Discipline

Remember that you must be responsible with credit. Always pay on time and maintain the terms of the credit agreement.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting problems, harassment from debt collectors, and wrongful vehicle repossessions.  Whether you fell behind on payments or not, the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow the law.  Contact us for a free legal review to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Does Divorce Hurt Your Credit?

Getting divorced can come with plenty of heartache, paperwork, and even financial burden. But one of those struggles does not have to include a dip in your credit score just because you signed divorce papers

Be proactive.  Take the following steps to evaluate your personal credit and those accounts that are shared jointly with your ex-husband or wife.  If there are errors on your report, dispute them by sending a letter to the credit bureau(s).  It is important to maintain a report with accurate information. 

Obtain current credit reports

Write to Transunion, Experian and Equifax for a current copy of your credit files.  You are entitled to one free copy every twelve months.  You may have to pay a fee if you want to receive a copy more frequently.

Review your credit reports

Although the credit bureaus share information about your credit history, the actual information reported from one bureau may differ from another.  Obtain a copy from each bureau and review the listings.

 Dispute Errors on your report

Send a written dispute to the bureau(s) that list inaccurate information on your credit file. Be sure to enclose documents that support your claim of an error on the report.  The credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the information is not corrected, you may need to send a second, or sometimes third, dispute to the credit bureau.

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims of inaccurate credit reporting.  Contact us for a free evaluation of your reports and correspondence you’ve had with the credit bureaus.  If your consumer rights have been violated, you may have a lawsuit to bring against the credit reporting agency.

 

Why was my Credit Application Denied?

Applications for new credit go through an approval process. The prospective lender has criteria that is considered when reviewing a credit application.  Factors such as the items listed below may have been examined:

–   Your credit and payment history
–   Your income
–   Your total debt to income ratio
–   Multiple applications for credit within a short period
–   Had you filed for bankruptcy
–   Your age
–   Do you need a co-signer

While specific qualification criteria may vary from one creditor to another, a determination is made whether to extend or deny the application. When a credit application is denied, the applicant will receive a letter from the creditor with an explanation of why the credit was declined. Here are some possible reasons behind your credit denial:

Errors on your Loan Application
Your application had errors.  Review your loan application to see whether information was incomplete or misspelled.  Check your identifying information closely for your full name, address, social security number, and birth date. Remember that multiple applications in a short amount of time could also hurt your ability to be approved.

Errors on your Credit Report
Within 60 days of a credit application denial, you may request a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus  —  Transunion, Experian and Equifax. Write to the bureaus for a new report.  Review them for listings that may be inaccurate.  If you see errors, such as duplicate negative listings, accounts that you do not recognize, or incorrect reporting, you must send written disputes to the credit bureaus.  Your dispute letter should include documents that illustrate why the error should be corrected.  Send your letter by Certified Mail, Return Receipt to the credit bureau.  They have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the bureaus continue to list the error, you may need to send a second dispute.

Employment History
Review your employment information. Make sure the listings for your employer(s) are accurate.  If there has been a lapse in employment, it could be a factor that was considered for the credit denial.

Credit Payment History
Erratic payment history can also lead to credit denial. Late or missed payments and charged off accounts reflect negatively on your payment history. High balances, collection accounts, and repossessions could also lead to denial.  Also, no credit history could be reason for denial. Creditors may be unwilling to offer credit if you don’t have a well-established credit score.

Public Records
Review your report to see if there are public records listed for bankruptcy, judgments, or tax (or other) liens.  If any of these items have been satisfied, you will need to dispute the listing with the credit bureau and provide documentation showing the obligation has been paid.

Financial Problems
Financial struggles can also be the root of credit denial. Collection accounts and a high debt to income ratio will reflect negatively on your credit history. A high number of credit inquiries are another negative.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing victims of credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, abusive debt collection contact and wrongful repossessions.  Contact Us to discuss your consumer credit concern.

How Does Your Credit Grade Stack Up?

Good grades are not just for students. Do you know how your credit grade stacks up? You may want to buy a car, refinance your mortgage loan, or simply need a loan to pay off existing obligations. If you haven’t looked at your credit reports lately, now is a good time.

And it goes without saying, the higher your credit score, which is a numerical calculation based on your credit reporting history, lenders will offer more favorable credit terms.

When Can I Get a Free Credit Report?

You can obtain one free credit report from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax every twelve months, or under the following circumstances:

  • You have been denied credit within the past 60 days
  • You are a victim of identity theft
  • You are on public assistance
  • You are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days

To request a credit report, the bureaus ask that you provide for security purposes proof of identity, such as a current driver’s license, pay stub or utility bill. It may take 10 to 15 days to receive your reports by mail. As well, you could request reports online by visiting: annualcreditreport.com, or call:  877-322-8228.

How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

Common credit reporting errors include mixed credit files, stale data, misapplied payments, reports of judgments or bankruptcies that are not yours.  After reviewing a current credit report, if you see an inaccurate listing, you must dispute it promptly in writing.  Enclose documents that will illustrate the error. Send your dispute letter to the bureaus by Certified Mail, Return Receipt so that you have proof your letter was received.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the error has not been corrected, you may need to send a second dispute.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with problems involving credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, contact from abusive debt collectors and wrongful vehicle repossessions by banks and credit unions.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of your legal concern.

 

Why is the Same Debt Listed Multiple Times on My Credit Report?

If a creditor assigns or sells your account to a collection agency, it is possible that the creditor and collection agency will list the same debt on your credit report. Multiple negative listings for the same obligation can lower credit scores and make it more difficult to get approved for a personal loan, buy a car, or refinance a home. These duplicates are not legal. What should you do?

Correct Your Credit Report

Even if you pay the debt, the duplicates could still appear on your credit report. If you spot a duplicate entry, write and dispute the inaccurate listing on your credit report directly with the credit bureau.

Your dispute letter should include a copy of the report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state why this item is listed incorrectly. Attach any supporting documentation that will verify your claim. Send your letter to the credit bureau by certified mail with a return receipt so that you have proof your dispute was received. The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.

Take Action and Get Results

If you are struggling to correct errors on your credit report, seek the guidance of a qualified credit report law firm. Obtaining good advice to resolve credit reporting errors may help in reaching future financial goals.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting accuracy and privacy problems.  Contact Us for a free consultation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Beware of Charged-Off Debts

Most people look for ways to pay their debts and get out of a financial hole. Whether it’s by taking a second job, reorganizing payment schedules with creditors, or possibly deferring payments to the end of the loan, there are steps that can be taken to resolve delinquent accounts.

If the creditor is unsuccessful in collecting with no payment by the borrower, the creditor may designate the debt as “charged-off”.

What is a Charge-Off?
Uncollectible “charged-off” debt is an internal accounting function and means that the creditor may choose to collect at a later date, or assign the collection to a third party collector, such as a collection agency or law firm collector. Charged-off debt does not disappear.  These debts may continue to be collected and probably be assigned or sold to a new debt collector.

Debt Collectors may collect Charged-Off debt
If the debt moves to a collector, the consumer may begin to receive calls or letters from the debt collector about the underlying debt.  Whether the consumer owes the debt or not, the collector must follow the law called The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Credit Reports list Charged-Off Accounts
The creditor is required to report charged-off debt to the credit bureaus. The creditor’s listing on the report will note the status as “Charged-Off” and can remain on the report for seven and a half years. This status carries negative weight and may impact the consumer’s ability to obtain credit.

Tips to negotiate charged off accounts
-Request an itemized calculation of the debt
-Only agree to payment terms you are able to manage
-Remain in control of your checking account
-Get the payment agreement in writing

Seek Help from a Consumer Lawyer

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that pursues cases against debt collectors that have violated a consumer’s rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  If you have received contact from a collection agency or collection law firm, Contact Us for a free consultation:  888-668-1225.

 

How Medical Debt Impacts Your Credit Score

Medical emergencies occur as we go through life. Often, health issues are unexpected and can end up costing thousands of dollars in medical bills. With the lapse in time from when you are billed by a medical provider to the time your health insurance company pays, very quickly accounts can be turned over to third party debt collectors, and frequently, become listings on your credit report.

Even when the medical bills are paid, the time spent in collection status may negatively impact credit reports and lower credit scores.  The result could make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, purchase a car, rent an apartment, or even get a job.

How to Manage your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that’s used by lenders to predict the likelihood that you’ll pay your credit obligations on time.  Scores range from 300 – 850 and are calculated based on credit history information listed on credit reports. Make sure that information listed on your credit report is accurate.  Incorrect listings may contribute to lower credit scores.  Take these steps to make sure your credit score is an accurate reflection of your credit history.

Obtain Current Credit Reports
Every twelve months you are entitled to obtain new credit reports for free from each Transunion, Experian and Equifax. There may be a fee from the credit bureaus if you need to request reports more often.

Review your Credit Reports for Accuracy
The bureaus list not only personal information, such as your name, birth date, social security number, addresses and employment history, but also list account payment information, liens, judgments and bankruptcies.  Learn to read your credit report .  If there are errors that could bring your credit score down, take steps to get them corrected.

Dispute Errors on your Credit Reports
If there are errors on your reports, send written disputes to the credit bureaus.  Your dispute letter should be concise and provide documents illustrating why the listing is incorrect.  Send your dispute to the bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt, so that you have proof your dispute was received. Be sure to keep copies of your complete dispute. The credit bureau has 30 days to respond to your dispute.

Collection contact over Medical Debt
Once a medical provider assigns the collection of a medical debt to a collection agency or law firm collector, the consumer has rights against a collector’s abusive collection practices. Whether you have been unable to pay or dispute the amount, the collector must follow the law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognizedconsumer protection law firm that represents victims with problems involving credit reporting errors and abusive collection practices.  Whether you owe the debt or not, our firm will evaluate whether your consumer rights have been violated.  Contact us today for a free legal review.

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Credit Report List the Same Account More Than Once?

If a creditor sells your account to a debt buyer, sometimes both the creditor and the debt buyer will list the same debt on your credit report. Duplicate listings can lower credit scores and make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, buy a car, refinance a home, or get a job. Even if you pay the debt, duplicate listings may remain on your report.

Steps to Dispute Errors on your Credit Report

  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to obtain a free credit report every twelve months from each bureau.
  • Send written disputes to the credit bureaus that show a duplicate listing. Include a current copy of your credit report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state why the duplicate listing should be removed. Attach any supporting documentation that will support your claim.
  • Written disputes that are mailed to the credit bureau are most effective. Additional supporting documents can be submitted with the dispute.
    Online disputes have limitations for the number of words and characters which may restrict the explanation of a complex dispute.
  • Send your dispute letter through the US Mail by Certified Mail, Return Receipt, or by another traceable means such as FEDEX.  You need written confirmation showing the dispute was received.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.
  • Keep a file with all dispute correspondence sent and received from the credit bureaus.

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with  credit reporting problems.  When there is an error on a credit report that the bureaus do not correct, there may be a violation of the consumer’s rights. Contact us for a free evaluation.