CFPB Sues Credit Repair Company and Advises Consumers Not to Fall for Misleading Credit Repair Ads
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the credit repair company Prime Marketing Holdings alleging it charged consumers illegal advance fees and misrepresented the cost and effectiveness of its services. CFPB is seeking an injunction and refunds of fees to consumers. This company used the names Park View Credit, National Credit Advisors, and Credit Experts.
The company lured consumers with misleading, unsubstantiated claims that it could remove virtually any negative information from their credit reports and could boost credit scores by significant amounts. The company charged consumers a variety of illegal advance fees such as a set-up fee of hundreds of dollars and monthly fees of $89.99 per month.
In sales calls, the company failed to disclose consumers would be charged a monthly. It advertised an illusory money-back guarantee. The company advertised it would be able to get negative entries on consumers’ credit reports removed when in fact they had no way of doing so. They falsely claimed their repair services would, or likely would, result in a substantial increase to consumers’ credit scores.
The CFPB released an advisory to alert consumers about potentially misleading credit repair services as follows:
- Be wary of promised credit score increases or guaranteed results: It takes time to repair a credit file. Consumers should be wary if a company claims it can get rid of the negative credit information in a credit report in a short period of time — even if that information is accurate and current — or if it promises a specific increase in credit score, or guarantees results.
- Watch out for credit repair companies that demand upfront payments: A simple rule for consumers to follow is “don’t pay up front.” Under federal law, credit repair companies can’t require you to pay until they’ve completed the services they’ve promised. In addition, some companies that use telemarketing may not request or receive fees until they have provided you with a credit report generated more than six months after the promised results that shows the results.
- Check credit reports regularly: Consumers can obtain a free copy of their credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Consumers are entitled to receive a free credit report from each nationwide credit reporting company once every 12 months.
- Dispute inaccurate information on credit reports: Consumers can take steps on their own to repair their credit record. Consumers can dispute errors on their credit reports by contacting Equifax, Experian and TransUnion directly. More information is available at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/314/how-do-i-dispute-an-error-on-my-credit-report.html
The full consumer advisory is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/092016_cfpb_PrimeMarketingHoldings_Complaint.pdf
Consumers having an issue with a credit repair company can submit a complaint to the CFPB by:
- Go online at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint
- Call the toll-free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372)
- Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392
- Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244