Bad Credit Consumer Manual

If you have bad credit and want to take action to improve your situation, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  is a U.S. government funded national consumer protection agency offering support.

Why should you approach the FTC?
The FTC is a government organization, so it is impartial and not funded by lenders or creditors (unlike some organization, such as the National Foundation for Consumer Credit which claims to be non-profit, but is in fact paid for by money lenders).
Its information is 100% accurate. The FTC has created the website “Money Mattersto help individuals with bad credit with tips and resources on better handling their finances in the form of tried-and-true money management techniques (such as budget control, contacting your creditors) and how to avoid scams such as companies purporting to remove correct negative information from your credit file (they cannot – this is illegal). Only incorrect information can be removed.
If you believe that there is incorrect information leading you to have bad credit, contact one of the credit reporting companies you can take action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to have the wrong information removed.

You should act as follows:
Tell the consumer reporting company (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) in writing what you think is inaccurate, including photocopies (keep originals) of supporting documents.
State the facts and reasons you dispute the information and ask for it to be removed or corrected. Use the wording from the sample dispute letter on the FTC website.
Send the letter by certified mail, with return receipt requested so you can track it. The consumer reporting company has 30 days to investigate and they are obliged by the FCRA to provide you with full details of the investigation in writing. If it reveals the information regarding the disputed credit data is incorrect, this must be removed from your credit file.

If you have been victimized and lost money to a bad credit repair scam:

Many U.S. states have laws regulating such companies and state law enforcement officials can be helpful if you have lost money to a scam.
Contact your local consumer affairs office or your state Attorney General (AG). Many have toll-free numbers:

If you are being harassed by debt collectors or creditors:
The Fair Collection Debt Practices Act (FDPA) is a federal law dictating how and when a debt collector may contact you. The rules in the FDPA are:

  1. A debt collector may NOT call you before 8am, after 9pm or while you are at work if they know your employer does not approve of this.
  2. Collector may NOT harass you, lie, or use unfair practices in trying to collect a debt.

If a debt collector does any of the above:
Step one on dealing with debt collectors Write a letter to them requesting they stop further contact from you. They must honor this request.
Step 2 - dealing with debt collectors If the contact persists, complain to the Better Business Bureau.


If you want to turn to another organization for further help:
If you require other assistance, such as official credit counseling for your bad credit:
Step 1 - Getting help from another organization for bad credit problemsFor nonprofit credit counseling programs, contact universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension service ( a nationwide, noncredit education service).
Step 2 - Getting help from another organization for bad credit problemsBefore you do business with any other company, check with your local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau that they are reputable.

Step 3 - Check with the FTCIf in doubt, refer to the FTC for advice.

If you need additional information you can contact us at or use our FAQ section to post your questions.

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