If you have been through a debt crisis and want to demonstrate that you now have your debt under control then you will want to have it properly shown on your credit reports. You need to show that you have taken care of your debt or are faithfully taking care of it now. It is important to get hold of copies of your credit reports so that you can make sure that everything reflected on them is accurate and true. So here is what you need to do in order to undertake that process.
You need to go and order your reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Understand that Experian is the main report so always make sure to have that one and make sure it's correct because you need to start with them as your main line of defense when you are trying to defend your good credit.
There are two ways in which you can order your credit reports. One, is that by law, you must be allowed to get one free report each year. Do this through the credit bureaus and not through a third party because they are going to try and charge you something, or at least try to. Also make sure they are sent to you via email or just right from their sites and not through a wireless connection or a public computer. You are just asking for trouble there.
Make sure that you do your best to clean up any bad debt that you might find on your reports. Find out how much you owe on the bad debt and if it's been written off then you have a shot at settling with them for one third to one fifth of what you originally owed. When clearing up bad debt do your best to not get a third party to do it for you. You can do it yourself and these companies charge you money and sometimes they make matters even worse for you.
Make sure that whatever you do get any deals relating to your credit in writing! No matter how unimportant it might seem to someone else, it's important to you. Make sure to over emphasize everything when it comes to all the terms and conditions of any settlement you might make with a creditor. Debt collectors will take whatever steps they can to get payment from you for their clients, including lying & cheating if they have to. They will tell you anything to get you to pay up and they don't care about your credit report nor will they bother to fix the report even though by law they are required to do so.
You need to get your settlement in a contract first. A collector is going to tell you anything to get you to pay your bill. Do not do it unless you are sent an agreement in writing! It must be in writing and refuse to pay until you get it! No faxing and no email - by law a contract or agreement must be what is called a “hard copy” and let them know that you know this! They will tell you different but in court if it's not a “hard copy” you don't stand a chance.
The debt collector must be told that once you have cleared up the debt that they must and I repeat they must delete it from your credit report. They will try to tell you that it's OK to say updated. And that means your credit will be OK. This is not true and will disadvantage you down the track! The bad debt entry when paid off must be deleted. Even if they tell you by law they can't be strong and confident in your own knowledge that this isn’t true and demand they delete it!
Don't be afraid to go to war with them. These collectors are ruthless and if you don't like the way they are treating you hang up on them. Then the next time you try to talk to someone, refuse to talk to them, they are usually not trained well anyway and demand that you talk to a supervisor, and refuse to negotiate any other way. You can play just as much hard ball as they can, plain and simple.
Make sure that the company actually owns your debt. If a debt you owe has been a debt collectors hands for a time the debt may have been passed down to other companies in the past. One thing they do is keep all the different debt companies on your report making it look like you owe all of these people. This is illegal but they do it anyway and of course this worsens your credit. You need to find out who really owns the debt, only work with them and get all of the duplicates off your report making sure that you let them know you know this is an illegal action and they need to correct it immediately. Of course understand they will always use the excuse that it was an oversight or error on someone's part. Whatever the excuse they must clear it!
Note: When you are cleaning up your credit report understand it's not going to be easy, most debt collectors are not much better than the common criminal on the street so have patience and fight for your rights as a consumer. Don't be in a hurry to take care of the problems, make sure you have all the facts and you know what your rights are. If you have to, contact a lawyer for help.