INTRO: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by PsychDoc, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member

    PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Here's my beginner's text for the true neophyte. Everything here can be argued back-and-forth by experts, but this document isn't intended for them. Everything here is oversimplified, but this document isn't for people who enjoy life's complexity. Everything here is just my opinion, but this document isn't for people who hate opinions. Regardless, I hope it helps someone. :)

    The Underlying Premises
    Credit repair is legal. Credit repair is your right. Credit repair is possible, even though some curmudgeons say it isn't. Finally, credit repair is more than just sending a dispute to a credit bureau; there's a lot to learn in this community.

    Required Reading
    1. The FAQ. A valued Creditnet veteran named Dave (whose Creditnet nickname is "Nave") put together a wonderful "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) document which is a terrific place to dip in for the first time. You can read this here.
    2. The Creditnet thread about the FAQ. Go ahead and read this too.
    3. The Creditnet Glossary. That's here.

    Optional Reading (Required Later)
    1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You can find that federal statute and related articles, opinions and commentaries here.
    2. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). You can find that federal statute and quite a few interesting FTC articles and commentaries about it here.
    3. The Creditnet Sample Letters Library. You can find that here. Keep in mind that these aren't all the letters; inventive Creditnet members have devised all sorts of techniques, tactics, and associated letters which are often discussed on the board.
    4. The Creditnet Library. This is different from the Sample Letters Library just mentioned here. Instead, the board administrator has prepared a myriad of excellent articles that may help you to wrap your mind around the material. Find that here.

    The Required Skill
    Before long, you'll come across something that piques your interest. So, for example, someone will mention the "Raving Lunatic Cousin of Nutcase" letter, and you'll want to read that. What should you do? Should you post a thread and ask for it? Probably not. If every one of us posted our "desired document of the day" here, then this board would be overrun with those requests. (Thankfully, though, when someone DOES post something like that, they're not treated disrespectfully. But I digress, alas.) Instead, learn to use the SEARCH function. At the bottom of every discussion board page is a simple search box and button. To continue our example, if one types the words "Quixote raving lunatic nutcase" in the box and clicks the search button, the desired article will quickly surface for your reading pleasure.

    The Required Habit
    Everyone who's achieved credit repair success here has invested a good amount of time reading the board. The more you read, the more you'll learn. You must read. Read, read, read. :)

    How It Works
    Basically (and we're talking VERY basically at this point), credit repair occurs through letter writing. Some letters are directed directly toward original creditors. Others are aimed at third-party collectors (like collection agencies). Still others are meant for credit bureaus (often called "CRAs" here, which stands for "credit reporting agencies" per the Creditnet Glossary I referenced in this primer's Required Reading section). Your task at the start is to figure out which letters -- and their associated strategies -- you need in order to attack your specific set of credit-related difficulties. To that end, you should acquire your individual consumer report from the three major bureaus (Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian), and the Creditnet FAQ mentioned at the start will point you in the right direction for that. Finally, your newly-found Creditnet family will provide you plenty of advice and direction.

    The Schedule
    Here's a suggested schedule. Others may disagree. (Remember what I said about expert arguments, simplicity, and opinions?) :)
    Phase 1: Newbie Training. Allow yourself time to be a newbie. For most people the designated newbie period should be from two to four weeks. During this period, post on the board (but learn to "search" first per this primer's Required Skill remarks). Introduce yourself. Say, "Hi, I'm Joe, my credit stinks because I was a fool (or because of tragic circumstances beyond my control, etc.), and I'm here to learn." Refrain from the feeling that you must prove yourself to be an expert already. (Posts that say stuff like "I can assure you that FICO is solely an Equifax product" won't make you too many friends, lol.) Just enjoy your newbie stage. I fondly remember the beginning when I knew nothing. (And there's NOTHING wrong with knowing nothing, take it from me.)
    Phase 2: Plotting Your Strategy. You've indulged your newbie-ness for a few weeks, and you've spent a lot of time reading the board. You're itching to get started. By the way, the reason I don't recommend just diving in right from the start is because you may discover that slowing down and taking time to do some newbie research first may save you lots of time and money in the long run. Anyway, Phase 2 can take as little as a few hours to a few days. Here's where you develop a strategy and then post it for others to review, perhaps something like this: "I think I'm ready to dive in. Here's my thinking. I've got this and this and this, and I'm going to send Goodwill letters to these two, and straight validation letters to these three, Quixote's modified Knockout letter to this one, PsychDoc's Nutcase series to that one, and I think I'd like to sue this last one. What do you think?" Then carefully consider the feedback! :)
    Phase 3: In the Thick of Things. This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending upon your goals, the amount of time you're willing to devote to your new credit repair avocation, skill, and (unfortunately) even luck. Most people begin experiencing substantial improvements pretty quickly, though!

    Tips for Better Living
    Anyone who reads this last primer section will surely be able to point out the times I myself have violated these rules. All of us are human. Even psych PhDs, lol. (As an aside, I have learned to HATE it when a relative or neighbor says this to me whenever I've experienced a problem being a husband, parent, etc.: "Gee, I thought you studied psychology and were supposed to know how to do everything right already.") Anyway, these are simply heuristics for which we should strive imho:
    1. Try to be nice to other Creditnet members. This is tough. I can't tell you the number of times I've written out a wonderfully acidic and eloquent nasty response to someone(s) I consider to be a nincompoop and then smartly decided not to post it at the last second. Of course there are those other times I went ahead with it, but I can tell you from experience that I have almost ALWAYS regretted it later. By then you just let it go, but everytime you see that other person on the board there's that strange feeling of enmity that you probably wish wasn't there. I can think of 3 different people with whom I strongly wish I'd interacted differently. Striving to be polite, even with those (and perhaps especially with those) with whom you disagree is a good tip for better living, I think.
    2. Try not to be an instant expert. Ok, some people here have achieved expert status, lol. They've been around the block, seen success, devised a unique tactic or two, given a lot of advice that ended up helping many others, etc. Still, so-called "experts" don't know everything. Moreover, none of the "experts" I know here are entirely comfortable with that label. Strive for experience. Strive to help others. Strive for your own personal success. But avoid striving to impress. If you get to the point where you can write posts that are helpful to others (and you WILL eventually if you end up addicted like so many of us, lol), then your helpful posts will speak for themselves. That status comes with time and experience. Attempting to be an "expert" after a month on the board may well cheat you out of some good advice that somebody else doesn't offer because they figure you already know everything they have to say. Even worse, you may offer up some expert advice that's wrong. Go slow.
    3. Read, read, read. That was mentioned before in this primer, but it's worth repeating as a Tip for Better Living. :)

    Ok, that's it. This was not intended to be a credit repair how-to, so there's nothing in this primer about various techniques, letters, strategies, etc. Instead, this was intended to be helpful to that individual who shows up for the first time and needs a little welcome diatribe that points toward the yellow brick road. (Hopefully, it's not just more confusing noise, though. Forgive me if I failed.) Good luck to you!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2009
  2. javan

    javan Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    As always - great job and very well said!
  3. Manequinne

    Manequinne Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer


    I have always liked your posts, and this one is no exception.........

    I especially like the 'let yourself be a newbie'.

    Good job on this primer :)
  4. wolverine

    wolverine Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer


    One the great all time posts.

    A quick thought, couldn't an html pro like yourself post links to the hall of fame letters, (litigious nutcase, Christi's 48 hours til suit, Quixote's raving cousin etc...) in the FAQ section? The library is great for generic dipute letters, but most folks will at some time need to pull out the big guns.
  5. Ambitious

    Ambitious Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    This is a very well said statement. Maybe it should be added to the FAQ thread? You know, I still consider myself a newbie and I've been reading for a couple of months now. I think this because sometimes I don't have the time I would like to spend reading everything. But on the other hand I am trying to read as much as I can and want to be sure that I don't make an error when I sending letters, etc. I have found that people here really seem sincere in trying to help or advise people on what they should or should not do. Whether people follow the suggested advice is up to them. It is wonderful that people are willing to do that and not be selfish or greedy with their knowledge. Anyway, thank you for your post as it has helped me once again. :)

  6. Mark LA

    Mark LA Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Doc - anything you decide not to post - could you please e-mail me?
    Call me crazy - but I really enjoy your wonderfully acidic eloquent nasty responses :)
    Thanks in advance.


    Mark LA
  7. rblues

    rblues Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    I don't care if you are newbie or an old timer, you still need to read this and follow it.

    Sometimes old timers get so set it their ways, that they forget the basics.

    Well done Doc.

    I hope everyone reads this and follows the pearls of wisdom.

  8. Quixote

    Quixote Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Here! Here! NO!!! THERE! THERE!!! ;^)

    On a more serious note, my suggestion for the very first proactive step for soemone wh has a lot of reparing to do is put together a very simple dispute of every single negative on your credit reports. It costs you nothing, and statistically, about half your negatives will fall off the first time without a whimper. In the meantime you will have a month of waiting to READ, READ, READ here at CreditNet. When your results come back, you'll know where to start doing the hard work.

    BTW, I am not posting this to start an argument about how many negative items should be disputed at the same time; that arguments been done to death and you can find it with a search. Instead, what I'm saying is Start by Starting. Get Started. Are you Starting to get my point? Good. I was Starting to wonder. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Get Started!
  9. TIMUS13

    TIMUS13 Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Great post! I guess I am one of the newbies you are talking about. I don't have to much of a strategy but, to get my credit straight. HMMM, a little about what I have done so far. Disputed about 14 got about 8 removed. Of, the six I have one is child support, and the others are credit cards that came back verified. Thanks in advance for any advise.
  10. Quixote

    Quixote Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Another point of CreditNet etiquette (?) is that we never ;) hijack a thread (interject an entirely new subject) because it diverts and dilutes the discussion. Seriously, I'm as guilty as the next clod, maybe more so, but this is best taken up in a new thread so as not to distract from this conversation. Congrats on your early results, BTW!
  11. jrjr35

    jrjr35 Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    some good advice.
  12. Calmest_LA

    Calmest_LA Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Very well written and highly insightful!

  13. Butch

    Butch Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Nice job Doc.

  14. JohnOG

    JohnOG Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer


    Awesome insight as I couldn't agree with you more on every point you mentioned. It's so important to read, read and read again. Not only do you learn new things you never knew, but you find out that others have had a similar situation to yours and with that info you are empowered. The beauty of it all is that with so many opinions, it's like having more than one brain thinking about the same thing - "two brain's are better than one."

    A person does go through a metamorphosis, unbeknownst to them, as they invest the time to read and learn about the best vehicle to follow in the art of repairing their credit. Thanks again!
  15. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    HI Timus13, welcome to the board! Do like Quixote suggested, don't be bashful! Start a thread, introduce yourself, (be sure to say you're new), and you will get lots of responses, I'm sure.

    BTW, if you ever feel like people are ignoring you, they're not - just give yourself a "bump" so your post goes back to the top of the list. :)

  16. hockeymom

    hockeymom Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Many thanks to you Doc for taking the time to put this together. It is a truly great synopsis of what newbies (like me) should do to get started.

    I would suggest that this be listed on it's own rather than in FAQ. Something with it's own heading--like " If you're new to this board, start here" LOL

    Again thanks to you and the many others who stick around here, long after your credit reports are clean.

    You guys are a real treasure.
  17. javan

    javan Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

  18. sprungli

    sprungli Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    I'm another newbie just wanting to add my 2 cents worth of all of you veterans who take the time to inform and follow up and post all the valuable info: I (we) appreciate it it so very much. These credit struggles are so hard and overwhelming and draining, and just knowing there's some help to be found and people who understand is an incredible relief. You are all saints!
  19. Quixote

    Quixote Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    In light of all the hubbub going on in at least three other threads, I'll qualify this advice by saying that in my own case, all but a small few of our derogatory listings were Paid Collections or Paid Charge Offs. In the case of paid derogs, there is no downside to doing a broadcast dispute just to see what happens. Since those old paid creditors have no money to collect from you, they will not become an "awoken giant". The only thing you have that they want is the ability to quit bothering them. For unpaid creditors, better to do your homework before deciding how to proceed.

    That said, something smells funny to me about all this hubbub all of the sudden...
  20. Hermit5

    Hermit5 Well-Known Member

    Re: PsychDoc's Credit Repair Primer

    Nice touch Doc.

    I could have used that outline when I began. Heck, I still can.

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