High Utility Bills & High Temperatures│5 Ideas for Smart Summer Savings

5 Ideas for Smart Summer Savings

The first day of Summer officially arrived although it seems we have skipped most of Spring this year!  Have you noticed your bills are much higher than the previous Summer? It’s no surprise that while the days are longer and hotter, utility bills are headed on up too. We don’t expect that anyone would choose to sit inside with the air off, so with that, we have a list of some ways to save so you can stay cool while keeping your costs at a minimum.

 

Air Dry Your Clothing

Do you have a place to hang your clothing outside? Cutting back on your electric bill by letting all your laundry air dry is a great way to save this Summer. Although the time it takes to dry your clothes does take longer, it will keep your clothing looking brighter and actually extend the life of the clothing rather than tossing it in the dryer every time.

Find A Pool

Pack a snack and spend the day by the pool. This is a great way to give your AC a much needed break for the day. After you leave the pool, find a spot for a shaved ice or ice cream cone and soak up some of the air and cool off.  For parents, this is a great way to get the kiddos tired and settled down for a quiet movie and bed time!

Here are a few other awesome ideas for your kids to do this Summer that are free!

 

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Unplug

We tend to leave all of our phone chargers, laptops and other devices plugged in at home when we finish using them. Before you lock the front door, walk around your home and unplug any devices that are not being used. One way to eliminate this head ache is plug everything in a power saving strip so that when you are in a rush, you just turn the strip off and can head out the door or invest in an outlet timer.

Clean Up

The refrigerator is one appliance you cannot unplug but you can still cut costs by keeping the back side of the fridge clean! Once you move all the toys, goldfish and crumbs out of the way, you’ll see the coils on the fridge in the back or bottom of the fridge. They need a good cleaning each month which can help you save money as well. Just a quick once over with your vacuum each month can help you save.

Are you a renter?

It can be hard to cut cost on a unit that you can’t fix some of the issues that cause your bills to be higher, like the front door needing to be weatherized so the air does not escape. Here are a few ways you can save without calling up your landlord:

  1. Change air filters on air conditioner/furnace
  2. Thermostat settings-can cut costs 3% each degree over 75
  3. Cold Water-wash your clothes in cold which can save you about 50 cents/per load of laundry you do

Get out and enjoy your Summer to the fullest with your friends and family! Whether you are hoping to save up for a new vacation, a new home or just to put money back into savings, we hope these tips will help you get there this season!

 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Constant Calls From Debt Collectors│Illegal Practices vs Scam Callers

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.

 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:

They must

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication
  • Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
  • Verify the name and address of the original collector
  • Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt

If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.

Taking Legal Action

The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.

  • Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
  • Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
  • Profane or abusive language is not allowed
  • Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
  • A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
  • Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop

A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.

free credit repair consultation

Suing the Debt Collector

If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.

Continued Harassment and Next Steps

The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:

  1. Collection Letters you received
  2. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
  3. Telephone Bills
  4. Notes and contact info taken during call
  5. Take screenshots of your caller ID info

 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Lower Interest Rates & Better Credit Scores│Real Results With Credit Law Center

Increased Credit Scores by 100 Points

At Credit Law Center we love hearing success stories from past clients. One client shares how Credit Law Center helped her family save money and increase their scores.

What brought you to Credit Law Center?

I was online one day and was looking at homes. A lender reached out to me and we started talking about purchasing a home. She pulled my credit scores and we had some past debt that we needed taken care of. I know credit is important. Based off the information we gave the lender, she gave us some options to get where we needed to get approved. She referred us to one of her Credit Advisors at Credit Law Center and so we got in touch. They assured us that we would only pay for the items that actually got deleted and our advisor talked us through the process and the costs.

How did you feel about working with a Credit Repair Company?

I was a little skeptical at first, but I looked into it. I had a really good feeling about my lender referring me to Credit Law Center. My credit advisor, Kim was really good at getting in touch with me. She let me know if an item was not removed, you didn’t pay for it. I let her know I was going to be out of town on a trip and what I could afford. She made it very inexpensive and worked with me on my budget.  I signed all the paperwork and got my report pulled. She went over everything with me, past debts, and gave me advice on the credit I did have. I hadn’t made my first payment yet, and I saw my scores were already jumping and that was back in January. I was receiving updates every month and my scores just kept jumping. My score has improved 100 points since we started the process.

What has the change in credit scores done for you?

The good thing is, back in December I had just got a vehicle. Then in February my husband and I went to get a vehicle for him. My scores had increased so much, my interest dropped 10% from when I got my vehicle back in December. It has just been awesome!

free credit repair consultation

 

Are you purchasing a home now?

Yes, we qualified and based off the information and our credit jumping, we are able to move forward in the loan process.  I have told family about; it was definitely worth it! That’s the good thing with Credit Law Center, any time anything touched my credit they were monitoring it. I was always getting updated and any questions I had to ask, I was able to reach out to my advisor  and could count on her.

Credit Law Center has been awesome and I am happy my lender put me in touch with them. One thing I can say, my husband was very skeptical but after seeing me go through this process with Credit Law Center my husband now wants to go through the repair process and he doesn’t have a bad taste about credit repair anymore.

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and go through a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Credit Scores Impacted By Timeshares│Buyer Beware

Impact of Timeshares on Credit Reports

A timeshare can be something that affects your credit scores. When thinking about purchasing a timeshare, consider it to be as vital and possibly as damaging as a mortgage to your credit report.

There are many variables that come into purchasing a timeshare. If your family is tossing around the idea, examine these factors prior to signing:

  • Know the Association Fees
  • What the payments look like
  • What happens if you need/want to sell
  • Review contracts and terms

Credit Scores Dropping

In the credit world, the collection companies and bureaus do not consider what has happened and why you cannot make a payment on a debt. Should something happen where you no longer wish to be connected to the timeshare, they still want to be able to collect your money. It is possible that when you attempt to sell a timeshare, your credit report will state “deed-in-lieu” which can have as negative an impact as a foreclosure on the report. I caution you to really consider the purchase you are making and consider what your other lines of credit look like and if a timeshare is in your best interest. Here are a few other ways the timeshare could potentially drop your credit scores:

 

free credit repair consultation

Timeshare Fees

As with any mortgage, your time share could have HOA fees, special assessments, utilities and taxes to be paid. If you can no longer afford to pay these obligations in the timeshare, a lien can be put on your portion of the home. Not only does this impact your credit, it can keep you from selling out of your portion of the timeshare or making future major purchases.

Payments

If your family decides to mortgage the timeshare, you will have to continue the payments until the entire debt is repaid. Falling behind on the payments? They can foreclose the timeshare as if you stopped paying on a normal mortgage payment for a home. This dramatically impacts your credit scores, and could stay on your credit report for seven years.

Selling

It can be extremely difficult to find someone to sell a timeshare to. Whether you decide to discount the cost to the potential buyer, you still have the potential to end up in a bad financial position. The “deed-in-lieu” can be put on your credit report, regardless if you sell the timeshare outright or not.

Potential for Cancellation

In most states, there is a rescission or “cooling off’ where the buyer has the opportunity to cancel a contract and be given the deposit back. When that time frame is over, most believe that they no longer have the ability to leave the contract.

The best way to legally end the timeshare contract is take it straight to the company you purchased it from. The company you signed the contract with will not be thrilled about taking the timeshare back, and may try to convince you otherwise however, if they feel that there is potential litigation, they will more than likely take back the agreement or release the owner from the contract.

It is not impossible to be relieved of the contract you have on a timeshare but it would be wise to look into other avenues other than this option.

The last thing you need when trying to enjoy a vacation spot, or a summer with your family is the stress of an unwanted timeshare with unrealistic fees and expectations. I urge you to think twice before you purchase a timeshare this summer.

Other fun and convenient ideas for a great vacation that allows for your family to come and go is purchase an Air BnB  while continuing to make money by renting it out when you are absent.

If you have a tax lien, foreclosure or are thinking about trying to get out of a bad financial situation due to a timeshare and would like one of our attorneys or credit advisors to take a look at your report, please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Free Credit Reports For Active Duty Military│Salute To Service

A Step in the Right Direction

Potential new changes in the credit world can seem to be irrelevant and often times have little to no impact (or so it seems) for the consumers. There are many changes on the horizon that will take effect just one year after President Trump signs a new bill.

Congress has passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This bill has an impact in the credit world because it will be also amending parts of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Dodd-Frank rollback bill is the most recent part of legislation to go in and amend the FCRA.

The FCRA regulates how the credit bureaus and customers operate and the this bill being passed will start to hone in on several things-

  • Debt Protection (Veteran and Active Duty)
  • Changes in Scoring Models
  • Student Loan Debt
  • Fraudulent Activity

Debt Protection (Veteran  and Active Duty)

Our military personnel sacrifice time away from home, their families and sometimes their lives. An exciting change in this bill means:

  • Medical debt acquired by a veteran may not be reported at the bureau level for at least one year from the date the medical services took place
  • Medical debt acquired by a veteran that has been sent to collection status has to be removed from the credit reports once the debt is paid off or  has been settled (the current rule says after 7 years or immediately after the collection has been paid by  insurance)
  • Medical debts must be removed from the credit reports if the medical debt is or has been assumed by the Department of Veteran Affairs (there is no existing rule on this)
  • A database must be created by the Secretary of Veteran Affairs to verify whether or not the debts reported are actual veteran’s medical debts
  • Free credit monitoring services from the reporting agencies will be given to active duty military personnel

All of these changes will take effect 1 year from the date the bill is signed.

 

free credit repair consultation

Changes in Scoring Models

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be able to use “newer”  generation credit scores for underwriting home loans if the newer score is “reliable and accurate” (how they are going to measure reliable and accurate has not been defined quite yet)
  • Currently Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are using older generation FICO scores (FICO  4) but have not been able to upgrade to newer scoring models (like FICO 9). This is important for borrowers because using the newer versions could help them receive better rates and terms for a mortgage

These changes are not set in stone, but could be a potential positive spin for consumers.

Student Loan Debt

If a debtor can now show willingness and consistent, timely payments (on a private student loan) they can request that the lender go straight to the credit bureau and remove record of the defaults on the student loan.  This can only be done if the lender offers a loan rehab program.

 

Fraud

Child credit protections: Parents and guardians can freeze a minor’s credit report (children ages 16 and younger). If a minor child has no credit file, the bureau is required to make a credit file and freeze it. All of these services will be free of charge.

Credit Freeze: Before, the bureaus only allowed for credit freezing to be given to consumers, free of charge, if they had been a victim of fraud. Initially, there were fees for setting a freeze and fees to remove that freeze as well. When the credit freeze is set, the bureau then has to confirm it and provide instructions on how to remove it. All of these freezing capabilities (freezing, thawing, re-freezing) will be free to consumers at the national level.

Alerts:After the change, alerts can now last for one year. Victims of fraud can also place their credit reports on alert or be placed on an extended alert that will last 7 years. A fraud alert will notify users pulling credit reports (lenders and banks) that they must take steps to further verify that the person applying for credit it undoubtedly, the person applying.

These changes will begin 120 days after President Trump signs the bill.

 

Credit Law Center partners with Home for Heroes and provides significant discounts on services to all military personnel. If you would like one of our attorneys or credit advisors to take a look at your report, please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Change In Credit Scores -June 8th │ What’s Happening Now

All Credit Reports Must Change!

All credit reports must change! In response to the New York Attorney General coming out with a settlement, the Credit Reporting Agencies are going through a laundry list of changes. These phases have been implemented over the last few years and phase three is now taking place. There will be changes again and with more changes and rules, come more mistakes. Continue to stay up to date and educated on your rights as a consumer!

Now, this is not to say that your credit scores will improve immediately or that they will go up or down when you fall asleep but more-so, this article will outline the improvements that are being made in an effort to protect the consumers and their rights when it comes to dealing with the Credit Reporting Agencies. We deal with these institutions every day, so believe me when I say, we hear and see all your frustrations and now, the NY Attorney General has heard the consumers and their frustrations.

If you have not recently checked your credit report, or do not understand what the report has on it, please let someone look at it with you in a free consultation.

Here is what we know about the changes:

The Phases In The Settlement

  1. Phase One started in 2015-retiring Metro One Reporting Tool which is the software tool that allows the bureaus to communicate back and forth. It was very old and outdated!
  2. Phase Two started in 2016-creating new policies so that credit reporting agencies now cannot refuse to dispute even if the consumer has not pulled an annual credit report. There must be education and content on the website about the dispute process and allow consumers with more free copies of their credit reports.
  3. Phase Three happening now-a process will be put in place that identifies and clearly outlines/defines what is being disputed and presented to the consumer.

 

What you need to know about this round of changes:

Phase Three Implemented June 8th, 2018

  1. They are now requiring collection agencies to reconcile collections that have not been paid in full. Meaning, the removal or suppression of all collection accounts that have not been updated within the prior 6 months time frame.
  2. Advised to not report any medical collections that are less than 180 days from the date the debt went delinquent. If a collection is found to be paid by insurance at a later date, it must be deleted.
  3. If a Credit Reporting Agency receives a notice from another bureau that there is a mixed file, an investigation will be conducted and they will have to correct steps in place to fix the mixed file.

After Your Completed Investigation

After an investigation is completed each bureau is required to take the following actions:

  1. Report all actions taken by credit bureau regarding the dispute
  2. Contact information of the creditor/collection involved in the dispute
  3. The results of the dispute, including any modification or deletions of all disputed items
  4. If the consumer is not satisfied, the option to re-dispute the items and include any and all supporting documents is given

 

free credit repair consultation

When you send proof that the information is inaccurate they must get it in front of someone that has the ability to actually make a change to the error on the report.

For clients that we continue to help dispute items on the credit report, we are seeing improvements based on the first few phases of this process. When we have supporting documents that can be sent in and followed up with the dispute, we are seeing fantastic results and usually the turn around time on those is very fast! If you would like one of our attorneys or credit advisors to take a look at your report, please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

A Note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic