Over the past week I've been leaking some credit repair secrets to help you get some of those nasty hard-to-remove delinquencies off your personal credit reports.
And I promised that I'd tell you about one final option for you to use in order to get the "impossible" that's not coming off...off for good!
It's very rare that it has to come to this...using the Big Guns. But it happens. Especially for things that just aren't coming off your personal credit reports that you really need to get off to boost up your FICO score.
So...what are the Big Guns, exactly?
It's actually quite simple.
The final element to use to get a stubborn delinquency is to file a small claims lawsuit.
Now, this won't work for a couple of things:
This will work for everything else, even a judgment.
Now, as you know, you are limited in most counties to file a small claims lawsuit for a maximum of $5,000. In some counties, as long as it's filed against a company or organization, you can file as much as $7,500. Find your maximum small claims lawsuit amount against a company or organization in your county. It doesn't matter where the creditor is located provided that you live in the county where you will be filing the lawsuit. After all, this is where the "damage" has been done (where you reside) so you can legally file where you are.
In many counties now you can file your small claims lawsuit online, making this process super easy to pull off.
So, who are you suing?
You start off suing the creditor. Yes, that's right. You are going to sue the creditor.
Well, suing them for what?
Glad you asked.
You'll be suing them for the damage they are inflicting on your credit report by continuing to report misinformation and inaccurate information on your personal credit report. You'll also be demanding that they remove the delinquent mark on your credit report by giving them 1 of 2 options: (1) complete removal of the delinquent account, or (2) update to show account is current and has never been delinquent.
For this, the lawsuit will be in the amount of the maximum amount possible and allowable in your residing county. This amount may be $5,000 or $7,500. It may even be $10,000. Check with your county.
Now, this is the great part: the creditor will be forced to come to court from where ever they are located. So, if they are 3,000 miles away, guess what? They are hopping on an airplane to come to court.
And they don't want to do that.
Once they are served with the lawsuit, they will have to decide whether they want to come to court on the date specified or conform to the demands in the lawsuit which will be to (1) completely remove the delinquent account off all 3 credit reports, or (2) update the account to show that it's current and has never been delinquent.
Most of the time they will give into your demands, especially if they are nowhere near your residing county.
Now, here's the tricky part:
Many times counties have changed their serving requirements for a small claims lawsuit. In the olden days, you used to be able to send a certified letter with a return receipt (green) card. (In some counties, this is still acceptable.) However, in other counties, they will expect that the other party be physically served by a disinterested third party.
This is actually very easy to pull off. You simply type in "[City/State] Process Servers" in Google and you'll find more than a handful of process servers in any given area. Once you contact them, they'll ask that you mail them the documents for service along with a form that you can get through your court that the server has to sign, verifying the physical service of the documents.
Now, what happens if they are served and they don't show up to court?
It means that you get a default judgment against them and you get to collect the money you sued them for. So, congratulations but you may be $5,000+ richer at this point! (This is what you hope will happen, by the way. If this happens, they have to give you the money plus you turn around and show the judgment to the credit reporting bureaus who will then have to remove the delinquency or face the same lawsuit themselves!)
Lawsuits may seem like they are a drag to do but they are rather powerful, much easier to do than you think, and can definitely get the tough stuff removed off your credit report.
Why can't you do this with a bankruptcy or a foreclosure?
A bankruptcy is usually in a county courthouse. This means you'd have to threaten (and ultimately sue) a county court which...you can't do. They are legally exempt.
You could try to file a lawsuit for a foreclosure but usually these amounts are so high (tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on your credit) that a piddly $5,000 lawsuit will do nothing to threaten or move the creditor to do anything.
However, you could try this route, especially if the creditor is far away from you. This means they'd still have to jump on an airplane and defend their position. There is a chance that they won't and that it'll be removed or updated.
Credit is everything, as you probably have figured out by now...especially after our economic nosedive and our recent banking calamity, banks need to ensure that you're credit worthy for a loan, credit card, or mortgage. And if your personal credit report doesn't represent your credit worthiness then you're screwed.
See you at the top!