Creditors want to have confidence that you will repay your debts and a charge off on your credit reports is an indication that you cannot be counted on to do so. For this reason, a charge off will significantly lower your credit score and can be cause for you to be denied credit.
It is because of the severity of a charge off, just about everyone would want to have this damaging listing erased, but few realize there is anything they can do about it. What they are not aware of is that there are steps you can take in an effort to remove charged off accounts from your credit reports. In fact, Lexington Law, a consumer advocacy law firm with 18 years of experience helping over 1/2 million Americans work to improve their credit, reports that their clients had over 100,000 charge offs removed from their credit reports in 2008.
You have a number of options when it comes to clearing up your credit. For starters, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute with the credit bureaus any items in your credit reports you feel may be inaccurate, untimely, misleading, incomplete, ambiguous, unverifiable, biased or unclear (known as "questionable" items). Essentially, as the name of the act implies, you have the right to question any items you feel give lenders, employers, and others an unfair or inaccurate impression of your credit worthiness; including charge offs.
If a credit bureau dispute doesn't result in a removal or if the reported charge off doesn't fit the definition of a questionable negative item, there are still options available to you. Your creditors and collections agencies have the ability to remove the items they have added to your credit reports. On occasion, simply as a result of you asking nicely, they will agree to stop reporting a negative item. If a friendly request fails to produce results, there are a number of more confrontational steps you can take based on your rights under consumer protection laws such as the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
It isn't necessarily easy, but with time, effort, and proper knowledge, you may be able to remove a charge off from your credit reports. Of course, if you do not have the time or the desire to attempt repairing your own credit, there are a number of reputable credit repair companies who will use their experience to aid you in working towards your credit goals.
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Since 1991, Lexington Law's credit repair services have been helping clients legally dispute the questionable negative items in their credit reports. In 2008, Lexington Law's clients saw over 250,000 charge offs removed from their credit reports (combined removals for all three credit bureaus).
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