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If you’ve had a vehicle or other personal property repossessed, you know disrupting the entire process can be. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your repossession, there is going to come a point when it’s time to move on, when it’s time to look forward and focus on restoring your credit worthiness.
But what about the repossession record on your credit report? Even though you might have reconciled with your creditors and even if you’ve retaken possession of your property, there’s still the matter of ‘cleaning up’ your credit report.
Unfortunately, having a repossession altogether removed from your credit history isn’t a simple task. Understanding how the credit reporting system works and which organizations are responsible for making decisions about the information on your credit report will help you navigate the credit landscape ahead of you.
At the Law Office of Matthew R. Osborne, PC, we assist consumers with a variety of credit-related challenges. Often, our clients come to us with the specific request of having a past repossession ‘expunged’ from their credit report. While every case is different, there are some general facts that are helpful for those looking to make progress on a fresh start with their credit.
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As with any complicated credit situation, there is no substitute for sound legal advice. After reading this article, please feel free to contact our offices to schedule a consultation if you have additional questions or concerns about your unique credit scenario.
The Three Ways to Remove a Repossession Record
When a bank, lender, or other financial institution executes a repossession, the repossess property is typically sold at auction and the proceeds are used to pay down the outstanding debt owed by the consumer. That is, of course, unless the account in question can be brought into good standing before the auction takes place.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, the lender is likely going to proceed with reporting the repossession to the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. After this happens, the consumer is limited to three courses of action to remove the repossession record.
- Negotiation with the lender
- Filing a dispute with the credit reporting bureau(s)
- Hiring a third party to act on the consumers behalf
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Let’s explore each of these alternatives in detail.
Negotiating with your lender holds the highest chances of having the repossession record eliminated from your credit report. However, not all lenders are going to be forgiving enough to afford you this opportunity. For some, it’s company policy to stick to the original terms of the loan agreement, in which case, negotiation is going to be fruitless.
Even still, it’s highly advisable that you at least try. More often than not, if you’re willing to make some concessions, your creditor will work with you. After all, it’s in their best interest to have you pay at least something against your loan, as opposed to not receiving anything from you and liquidating the personal property at auction.
To start the negotiation process, simply reach out and start a conversation with your creditor. Explain your situation, and do what you can to reach a compromise.
Filing a Dispute
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If you believe your property was repossessed for reasons that were unjustified or illegitimate, it is well within your rights as a consumer to file a dispute. Each of the three credit reporting bureaus has established processes for this, and you can learn more about getting started with a dispute by visiting their respective websites.
If you try to file a dispute with the lender directly, it’s likely to get shot down unless your documentation and hard evidence are exceptionally strong.
Remember that hiring a consumer law attorney like Matt Osborne will go a long way in helping to bolster your dispute if, in fact, you have a case. A credit lawyer knows precisely what letters to send and to whom in order to bring swift, righteous action in the wake of a wrongful repossession.
Hiring a Third Party
You may have heard of companies that bill their services as ‘credit repair’ or ‘credit restoration’. Keep in mind that it’s rare for these companies to actually employ a state-licensed attorney. If you’re going to spend money to hire a credit professional to assist you with a repossession matter, it’s highly advisable you work with an actual consumer law attorney and not a fly-by-night company that makes lofty promises.
To learn more about how our legal team can assist you in removing a repossession from your credit report, contact our offices today.