PHOENIX - Jacinta Reyes was recently engaged and wants to improve her bad credit score before she gets married.
“I didn't want my bad credit to affect him and what he has going on as far as the military goes,” she said.
To help, Jacinta hired a man by the name of Ty Cranmore who claimed to be a branch manager for a Nevada company called EZ Credit Repair.
For $400, Jacinta says Cranmore promised to improve her credit score by disputing certain charges on her 30-plus page credit report.
“We talked about some of the things that were on there and he said that those were easy to get off,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Ok!’”
Jacinta paid $300 and was supposed to meet Cranmore to give him the remaining $100 balance.
But that never happened because Jacinta says Cranmore has pretty much disappeared, along with the money he took from her.
“$300 is pretty significant you know. I could've taken that and applied it to some of the things on my credit. Or, like I said, I'm planning a wedding. It's really significant right now,” she said.
Mike Sullivan is with a credit counseling agency called, Take Charge America.
He says consumers should always think twice about paying anyone who promises to improve their credit quickly.
Sullivan says consumers like Jacinta can dispute charges on their own for free, and while the disputes are investigated, the charges temporarily drop off your credit report which briefly improves your credit score.
“If indeed it wasn't legitimate, it stays off,” Sullivan said. “If, however, it was legitimate, if they can validate this was a real charge, it goes back on your credit report.”
Jacinta says for what she paid, certain charges on her report were never disputed.
3 On Your Side tried contacting Ty Cranmore, the guy she paid, but he never called us back.
However, the company he claimed to be with, EZ Credit Repair did call us.
They tell us they don't know anyone named Ty Cranmore.
After 3 On Your Side's involvement, EZ Credit Repair sent a letter to the Glendale office that Cranmore reportedly rented, ordering him to stop using their name and demanding that he return Jacinta's money.
So, far that hasn’t happened.
However, Take Charge America has offered to look into Jacinta's credit situation, so hopefully her score will improve after all.
Sullivan says the first step to improving your credit is getting a copy of your credit report.
Once you figure out which charges are accurate, or inaccurate, he says you can do two things.
One, dispute the charges online with each of the three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
Or two, write a formal letter to the credit reporting agencies.
Sullivan says you need to be specific in the letter.
Include which entry (or entries) on your credit report is wrong.
Also include an explanation for why it’s wrong.
That is, you didn’t make this charge, the amount you reportedly owe is wrong, or that maybe the charge wasn’t from your account.
Again, the credit reporting agency will remove the charge from your credit report for roughly 30 days while it investigates whether it is legitimate.
Mailing address for TransUnion:
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
or submit a dispute online or by phone.
Mailing addresses for Experian:
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
955 American Lane
Schaumburg, IL 60173
or submit a dispute online.
Mailing address for Equifax:
Submit a dispute online.
Sample Dispute Letter:
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Company
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing.)