The State of New Jersey has no special requirements when it comes to credit repair companies. Instead, they copy, nearly word-for-word, the applicable federal statutes and simply change the title of the legislation. The Office of the New Jersey Attorney General administers the precepts in the New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act, which, as stated, is the same as the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The New Jersey Attorney General has been very proactive regarding credit repair companies and shielding New Jersey consumers from the reprobates. Most important, consumers should know that credit repair companies are not allowed to accept money before rendering service. The “erase bad credit” companies out there are operating scams and provide little or no service or benefit after receiving your money.
Credit repair companies are also not allowed to “hide” your bad credit. It is illegal for anyone to try to hide bad credit. If you’re a bad risk because of nonpayment of bills and other financial obligations, the businesses with which you intend to conduct business and the credit bureaus are entitled to any information about what makes you a bad risk.
Neither you nor any credit repair company can do anything about accurate information on your credit report. Any company that promises to do so is lying through its teeth. Reputable companies can, however, assist you with disputing illegitimate items on your credit report, such as those resulting from identity theft or other crimes committed against you. Additionally, both in cases of legitimate and illegitimate negative items on your credit report, credit repair companies are allowed to offer you credit counseling services, security recommendations, and debt-consolidation services, along with other credit-related products and services.
Credit repair companies are also prohibited from marketing or promising services that they either cannot render or are not allowed to render to you. They must tell the truth about what they offer even if it results in you making the decision not to hire them. Keep in mind that you are allowed to handle your own credit situation with any of the three credit bureaus. In fact, if you find that you’re not able to meet your financial obligations, it is recommended that you call your creditors yourself and negotiate payment plans, percentage of debt, and other things germane to your situation.
No matter which services a company provides to you, that company is required not only to present you with a written contract outlining those services but also to present you with a complete list of your legal rights and responsibilities in all credit-related situations. By federal law, even if you’ve accepted a company’s services, you have three business days from the signing of the contract to cancel said services at no penalty.
If you’ve been denied for credit, or have reported an adverse and suspicious negative credit event, at any time within the preceding 30 days, you’re allowed to get a free copy of your credit report from the applicable credit bureau or bureaus. Once you’ve reported such an instance to the credit bureau, the bureau has an additional 30 days to complete an investigation. Once the bureau completes its investigation, it has an additional 10 business days to report its findings to you. Should you have any problems with any of these processes at any time, you should call the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs or the office of the New Jersey State Attorney General to file a report and make a complaint.