The Complete Guide to Credit Repair by Bill Kelly, Jr. Is a very thorough, smartly written book with a ton of resources. Among other things it includes:
- 67 Unique Sample Letters and Forms and 14 Inserts
- Complete Instruction on how to get and read your credit reports
- How to stop collection agencies
- How to avoid credit scams
- How to start getting your finances back on track
Much of what is covered in this book we cover regularly on this blog. I had already known, and used, many of the steps outlined in this book, and I can tell you that they do work. Still though, I found a lot of new information that I do believe will help me on my own journey to excellent credit. This book was an wonderful reminder to me of one simple thing: Just because I know a lot about something doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole lot more to learn!
I think the thing that struck me the most about this book is that it presents your credit report as a “hands on” type of thing. I think most of us just assume that our credit files are locked away somewhere, beyond our reach, and that we can only alter them through a lot of effort and a great force of will. The Complete Guide to Credit Repair has a different approach though.
The author, Bill Kelly, Jr. sees your credit report as something that you own, and must maintain – just like a car. Essentially he’s saying that what is in your credit report belongs to you, not the credit bureaus. It is an accounting of your past history, and it effects nearly every aspect of your lives. So he encourages you to own those reports, take an active hand in what appears there, and gives complete instructions on how to easily update your credit reports.
Bits of Wisdom from “The Complete Guide to Credit Repair”:
Kelly stresses throughout the book that any communication you have with lenders, creditors, or collection agencies should be in writing. This is simple advice, but it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever head with regard to fixing your credit rating.
Many, many people get themselves into trouble when dealing with collection agencies – I did at one point. You make a verbal agreement, and then keep your end of the bargain – only to find that the company goes back on their word and wants to change the terms, or that the rep you spoke with no longer handles your account. If you have things in writing, that does not happen. Kelly also suggests sending everything by certified mail so that you have a record of receipt.
Watch out for scams:
There are thousands of credit repair, credit counseling, and debt consolidation companies out there. Kelly gives a short list of ways to protect yourself from the scam artists so that you can weed out the legitimate companies. Ways to spot a rat include:
- “900 Numbers” - If you have to call a 900 number to reach them, then it’s a sure sign of a scam.
- Unspecified or misleading information - Be especially wary of any lender who offers a “gold” card that is really a secured credit card. This is unscrupulous advertising and it comes with a price: High fees, and unusually high interest rates.
- Credit Repair Clinics - Many of these places offer their own cards to you because they are getting kickbacks from the credit card companies. Make sure that any credit repair counselor or clinic is accredited. You can find out more about that in our article “How to tell if a credit counseling service is legit.”
What I loved about The Complete Guide to Credit Repair:
The best part of this book for me, by far, was the chapter on how to read your credit report. Kelly covers the reports from each of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) and gives the most common codes and abbreviations for each report. I can tell you from my own experience trying to repair and correct things on my credit reports, they are not always easy to understand.
Most credit monitoring services do a great job of “dumbing down” the reports and giving you the edited versions. To really repair your credit though, you have to look at the actual reports, not just the summaries. This is where that list of abbreviations and explanations comes in very handy.
Kelly thoroughly covers every code, and clearly spent a great deal of time making sure that you have a complete and usable resource to refer to when you view your own report.
Kelly also offers specific and brilliant ways to deal with your creditors to get them to report things (or not report things) on your credit reports. Sample letters and instructions are included.
This is an awesome book, it really is. If you want to read a more entertaining, “theoretical” approach to credit repair, I recommend Liz Pulliam Weston’s book. But if you want a slightly dry, hands on, how to actually accomplish the nuts and bolts of fixing your credit report guide then you can’t beat this book – you just cant. All the information you need is here, clearly spelled out, in one place.
I bought it for $9.95 at Borders. I’m not sure what the price is at Amazon, but the information in this book is worth far more than that. I found some new techniques to use, and the book is written so well that its actually easy to use. It makes the entire process of understanding and repairing your credit report so simple that I am less intimidated than ever about what I still need to do to fix my own reports. All in all, this is highly recommended – If you truly intend to put the time and effort into updating and correcting your credit reports this is the book you want.
It’s not exactly light reading, I will say that! But it’s informative as it can be, and so full of real, workable letters and tactics that I will be referring to it over and over – I’ll check this book before I check any other when I need answers.