Understanding Credit Repair Services in Oklahoma
In 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducted a study to learn what the average personal credit rating in each state was and what percentage of each state’s population had bad or declining credit. The survey revealed that while the average Oklahoma household credit score stood at 660, around 17 percent of the state’s residents had credit that rated as bad or on the decline.
Given these statistics, it is little wonder that credit repair companies continue to flourish in the state. As promising as these companies make their services sound, it is important that Oklahomans know how to spot a credit repair scam and understand the measures they should take to protect and rebuild their own credit.
Oklahoma Credit Repair Law
Oklahoma regulates the credit repair industry in the state with its Credit Services Organization Act. Under the Act’s Chapter 8, section 131, credit repair services in the state are defined as any entity that sells, provides, or performs services that are designed to improve clients’ credit records, histories, or ratings. Likewise, by law these services can obtain an extension of credit for customers or provide advice or assistance for rebuilding people’s credit ratings and histories.
The Act, which was last revised in 1987, provides some people and businesses with an exemption from this law, however. It does not classify these entities or individuals as a credit service organization:
- Mortgage brokers or dealers
- Bank loan officers
- Banks and credit unions
- Real estate brokers
- IRS Section 501(c)(3) non-profits
- Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs
- Insurance agents
- Certified tax preparers
- Credit reporting bureaus as identified by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
The law does apply, however, to for-profit businesses that offer services designed to help people rebuild or improve their credit ratings and histories.
Using Oklahoma Credit Repair Services to Your Advantage
If you do decide to use a credit repair service, it is important for you to understand its purpose and limitations. Before you choose which company to use to help you rebuild or improve your credit, you should make sure that it complies with Oklahoma state law.
If it promises immediate results or guarantees that your credit will improve, you should avoid signing up for the company’s services. If you have more pressing concerns about the business, you should contact Oklahoma’s attorney general’s office for help.
In fact, it is against Oklahoma state law for any credit repair service to guarantee your results. Repairing your credit takes time and effort. It also requires that you remain an active participant in the process.
No company can take over the repair process for you and ensure that your score and history will be restored to your desired expectations. You will be expected to provide proof of your debts and any accounts that you have paid in full. The service you hire typically cannot provide that proof to the credit bureaus without some input from you first.
With a legitimate credit repair company’s help, you can order your credit reports from all three major bureaus and review it for inaccuracies. If you see entries that are wrong or appear to be fraudulent, you should then dispute the information with the credit bureaus.
You can dispute the information by yourself following the process outlined on each credit bureau’s website. However, if you do not understand what is expected of you or you feel more confident having someone help you with the process, you can retain a credit repair service for this purpose.
The service can help you fill out the dispute form and submit the required proof to show that you either paid off the debt or that the debt does not belong to you. You can also dispute details like the date that the debt occurred or the company or individual to which the money is owed.
Oklahoma state law allows you to utilize credit repair services to help you clean up or improve your rating and history. You can choose the best credit repair company by knowing what services it can and cannot offer you.