On March 25, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission released its 2020 Annual Highlights, emphasizing the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, FTC attorneys remained dedicated to protecting consumers and promoting competition,” Acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said. “The FTC acted quickly to take down a number of illegal COVID-related scams, sued to block or unwind an unprecedented number of mergers, and took a number of other strong enforcement actions across its missions.”
The Highlights capture the Commission’s prompt response to the pandemic and purported bad actors who try to exploit it to take advantage of consumers. FTC lawyers have taken action to halt alleged false and deceptive claims related to supposed treatments for COVID-19. The agency has sued companies that allegedly failed to deliver on promises to quickly ship critical personal protective equipment, and companies that purportedly lured consumers into income scams.
The agency has also sent out hundreds of blog posts to educate consumers about COVID-19 scams and remind businesses about their responsibilities regarding honest advertising.
With regard to enforcement, for example, FTC attorneys have demonstrated a commitment to addressing purported false treatment claims regarding COVID-19. In doing so, the agency pursued a rigorous warning letter program. The FTC, on its own, and with FDA, issued over 350 warning letters to marketers making prevention, cure, and treatment claims, and the vast majority of recipients took quick steps to correct problematic claims.
When warning letter recipients do not correct their problematic claims, however, the FTC can — and does — follow up with law enforcement suits. In fact, the agency charged Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical, Inc. — a warning letter recipient that did not correct its claims — with deceptively advertising a $23,000 treatment plan as a scientifically proven way to treat COVID-19. Going forward, under a new federal law, the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the FTC has the authority to obtain first-time civil penalties for scams related to COVID-19. This new law provides another tool in the FTC’s fight against operators engaged in such deception.
In other health-related matters, FTC lawyers approved a Part 3 administrative complaint against Health Research Laboratories, LLC for purported unsubstantiated claims that their dietary supplements can treat cardiovascular and other diseases. The complaint is scheduled to be heard before an administrative law judge in July 2021.
In its first law enforcement crackdown on deceptive claims in the growing market for cannabidiol (CBD) products, the FTC sued six sellers of CBD-containing products for allegedly making a wide range of scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions like, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s disease. Under an administrative settlement, the marketer behind Whole Leaf Organics is barred from making baseless claims that his CBD-based product can treat or prevent the risk of COVID-19.
Teami, LLC, a marketer of teas and skincare products, paid $1 million to settle FTC charges that it promoted its products using deceptive health claims and endorsements by well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose they were being paid to do so.
Last year FTC attorneys brought a number of cases against the marketers of health-related products, including actions against supposed cures for joint pain and inflammation, for cancer and diabetes, for ailments and physical damage related to aging, and for growing new bone to alleviate pain, as well as an action against an app that allegedly failed to keep users’ health information private.
On the technology front, while millions of users have flocked to video communications platforms. Zoom Video Communications, Inc. agreed to settle FTC charges that the company misrepresented the level of encryption it offered and the time it took to store meetings in Zoom’s secure cloud storage in an encrypted format, and allegedly installed software on certain users’ computers that circumvented a privacy and security safeguards for certain users offered by their browser. The settlement prohibits Zoom from making a wide variety of privacy- and security-related misrepresentations, requires Zoom to implement an information security program (including a security review for all new software before release and restrictions on circumventing third-party security safeguards), and independent program assessments by a qualified third party.
FTC lawyers also took action to halt the alleged use of technology to promote deception and fraud related to COVID-19. The Commission sent warning letters to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers and other companies for their activities purportedly “assisting and facilitating” illegal Coronavirus-related telemarketing calls. And, last year, the Commission also brought its first consumer protection case against a VoIP provider, Globex Telecom, Inc., which agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle charges from the FTC and the State of Ohio that they allegedly facilitated an illegal bogus credit card interest rate relief scheme. In addition, Alcazar Networks Inc. settled the FTC’s charges that they facilitated tens of millions of illegal telemarketing phone calls.
In other deceptive and unfair marketing, the FTC brought its first cases enforcing the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act. Three ticket brokers will pay $3.7 million to settle allegations they used automated software to illegally buy tens of thousands of event tickets, then resold the tickets at higher prices.
In terms of deceptive and unfair marketing, FTC attorneys brought several cases against companies that allegedly failed to deliver on their promises to get consumers goods in high-demand as a result of the pandemic. A federal court in Ohio issued a temporary restraining order against 25 alleged counterfeit websites that purportedly tricked consumers into paying for Clorox and Lysol products that the defendants never delivered. The Commission also brought actions against three online merchandisers and SuperGoodDeals.com, Inc., based, in part, on violations of the Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (Mail Order Rule) and promises they would quickly ship facemasks, sanitizer, and other personal protective equipment.
The FTC took also action against Traffic Jam Events, LLC to stop a scheme that allegedly deceived consumers with mailers that promised to get them federal COVID-19 stimulus benefits but was actually luring them to a used car sale.
The FTC also took action to protect workers.
FTC lawyers alleged that Amazon failed to pay Amazon Flex drivers the full amount of tips they received from Amazon customers over a two and a half year period. As part of a settlement, Amazon will pay more than $61.7 million, representing the full amount the company allegedly withheld from drivers, which will be used by the FTC to compensate drivers.
The impact of income opportunity scams has intensified as scammers take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis. The Commission, along with 19 federal, state, and local partners, led Operation Income Illusion, a nationwide crackdown of more than 50 law enforcement actions against scams that target consumers with fake promises of income and financial independence that have no basis in reality.
The FTC also continued its efforts on behalf of small businesses. The FTC and the Small Business Administration (SBA) sent warning letters to eight companies that targeted small businesses seeking SBA loans as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission also continued its work in other areas.
The FTC won a $120.2 million judgment against the primary Sanctuary Belize defendants, successfully putting an end to what is allegedly the largest land fraud in FTC history.
In other cases, FTC attorneys took action against two companies (Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Gennex Media, LLC) for allegedly making unsubstantiated Made in USA claims; a mobile banking app for alleged false promises about interest rates and access; a company selling phone plans that ripped off the families of incarcerated love ones; an alleged pyramid scheme that lured consumers with false promises of financial independence; operators of an allegedly deceptive business coaching scheme; companies allegedly selling misleading ad listings to small businesses, and an operation that allegedly tricked consumers by lying about being affiliated with the SBA.
The FTC continues its vigorous enforcement against operations that assist companies defrauding consumers.
In 2020, the FTC brought six cases involving payment processors — RevenueWire, Inc., Apex Capital Group, LLC, Qualpay, Inc., Complete Merchant Solutions, LLC (CMS), Madera Merchant Services, LLC, and First Data Merchant Services LLC — for allegedly enabling deceptive practices or scams. In four of the cases, the defendants were banned from payment processing, either completely or for certain types of businesses.
The FTC, with more than 50 federal and state law enforcement partners, brought Operation Corrupt Collector, a nationwide law enforcement and outreach initiative to protect consumers from deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. In one case, the FTC alleged Critical Resolution Mediation LLC threatened consumers with arrest and imprisonment and tried to collect debts that consumers did not actually owe. A federal court shut down the operation.
Another case was against a seller of alleged get rich quick “training programs” that purportedly promised buyers they would make significant income but allegedly had data showing most buyers of the training made little to no money.
The FTC also brought actions against companies that hurt people looking for housing, looking to borrow money, reduce their credit card rates, pay down their debt, or fix their credit. The FTC charged pay day lender Lead Express, Inc. (Harvest Moon Financial) with deceptively overcharging consumers millions of dollars and withdrawing money repeatedly from consumers’ bank accounts without their permission. A federal court has entered a temporary restraining order halting the operation and freezing the defendants’ assets.
Credit repair company BoostMyScore LLC agreed to settle FTC charges they misled consumers with promises to improve credit scores and increase access to lower mortgage rates. AppFolio, Inc., a provider of background reports to property management companies, paid $4.25 million to settle the FTC’s charges the firm did not follow reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of its reports about potential tenants.
This year, the FTC also brought actions against several companies that allegedly falsely promised struggling student loan borrowers that — in return for paying an illegal upfront fee — the defendants could lower or eliminate their debt. SLAC, Inc., CD Capital Investments, LLC, Elegant Solutions, Inc. (Mission Hills Federal), and American Financial Benefits Center were banned from the debt relief business, and courts entered combined judgments of nearly $40 million against CD Capital Investments and Elegant Solutions.
In 2020 the FTC continued its initiatives to protect the privacy of consumers. Recently, the FTC began to seek more comprehensive remedies against technology companies that failed to live up to consumer privacy promises.
The FTC settled allegations that the developer of the photo app Everalbum deceived consumers about its use of facial recognition technology and its retention of user photos and videos by requiring the deletion of models and algorithms developed from user data. The Commission also turned its attention to the growing area of health apps, settling allegations that the developer of a period and fertility-tracking app, Flo, shared user health information with outside data analytics providers after promising that such information would be kept private. As part of the settlement, Flo must notify affected users about the disclosure of their personal information and instruct any third party that received users’ health information to destroy that data.
The FTC continued its actions protecting children’s online privacy through enforcement of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule). App developer HyperBeard, Inc. agreed to pay $150,000 and to delete personal information it illegally collected from children under 13. Miniclip, S.A., a digital game maker, settled the FTC’s allegations that it misled consumers into thinking it was a current member of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s (CARU) COPPA safe harbor program.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the FTC, sued MyLife.com, Inc., alleging that the company deceived consumers with “teaser background reports” that often falsely claimed to include information about arrest, criminal, and sex offender records.
Two recent cases required the defendants to put in place comprehensive data security programs to settle the FTC’s allegations: Ascension Data & Analytics, LLC (which allegedly failed to ensure that its vendor was adequately securing personal data, leaving the sensitive information of more than 60,000 consumers exposed on the internet for a year); and SkyMed International, Inc. (which allegedly left unsecured a cloud database of approximately 130,000 membership records so they were in plain text and easily accessible).
The agency entered a modified administrative order against Facebook, formally adding approved amendments to its 2012 privacy order to include provisions that were incorporated into the FTC’s 2019 settlement with the company.
The FTC also brought charges against eight companies that allegedly misrepresented their participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (Privacy Shield), which enables companies to transfer consumer data legally from EU countries to the U.S. The orders settling the FTC’s charges were released in January, March, July, and October.
Why Did My Credit Score Just Drop? 6 Common Reasons
Your three-digit credit score can be the difference between being approved for a new financial product with strong terms versus being stuck with sky-high interest rates — or worse, denied altogether. So it can be incredibly frustrating when you think you’re doing well financially, only to find that your score has dropped.
Credit scores function as a snapshot of your credit history that helps lenders — and often landlords — determine how much risk you pose as a borrower or renter. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rates and larger your credit limits will be, while the opposite is true the lower your score is. But credit scores also frequently change, and sometimes not for any obvious reason.
“Scores fluctuate all the time depending on how the information in your credit history is evolving and changing,” says Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy at Experian.
Here are the six most common problems that can lower your credit score, according to Griffin:
1. You’ve missed payments
The most common reason that peoples’ credit scores have dropped is because they missed a payment, Griffin says.
“If you’re unable to pay a debt as agreed, it’s going to have a negative effect,” he says.
Missing payments are reported to the major credit bureaus once they’re 30 days overdue, so it won’t impact your credit score if you make the payment a few days late (although you will probably have to pay late fees). But if you don’t make at least the minimum payment after 30 days, it can seriously damage your credit score: According to credit damage data from FICO, a person who has otherwise never missed a payment could lose over 80 points after missing a payment for over 30 days and another 50 points after 90 days.
That’s why it’s important to at least pay the minimum required amount each month when the option is available, even if you can’t afford to pay off your entire balance. While you ultimately will need to pay the full amount in order to avoid having a high credit utilization rate (more on that later), your payment history is often the most important factor in determining your credit score.
You should also always contact your lender if you’re struggling to meet your mortgage, student loans or car payments in order to avoid defaulting. You may be able to reduce your monthly payments or have the loans placed into forbearance, which won’t impact on your credit score.
2. Your credit utilization rate is too high
Your credit utilization rate is the ratio between how much credit you use vs. how much you have available. The standard goal is to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%. You might have an excellent track record of making payments on time and in full, but if you only have one credit card and you’re using 90% of the total amount, your credit score is still going to suffer.
Griffin advises that borrowers in this situation open up another account and split your usage between the two because “if you’re using your credit well and can keep utilization low on both cards, you’ll likely see scores improve over time.”
But keep in mind that this strategy can also backfire if you can’t keep the utilization low on both cards. Then, you’ll likely end up lowering your credit score because you’ve maxed out your cards and are carrying a high balance each month, leading to a high utilization rate. That’s where making just the minimum payments on your cards may not be enough. You’ll need to pay off more than the minimum amount if you want to lower your utilization rate in order to raise your overall score.
3. You recently took out a new line of credit
You might’ve seen a drop in your credit score if you’ve recently been accepted for any new lines of credit. The amount your score actually drops will depend on how large the loan is and your overall credit history, but it’s one of the most common reasons peoples’ scores go down, according to Griffin.
It may not make sense at first glance: You had a good enough score to secure a low-interest mortgage loan, so why would it suddenly drop down now that you have it? But from a creditor’s perspective, Griffin says that while you may have good credit history, they have no idea whether or not you’ll continue to make the required payments long-term.
The good news is that if your credit score has taken a dip after being approved for a new loan, once you consistently make payments over the next few months, it will likely rebound or even grow as you build a longer credit history.
One piece of common knowledge about building credit is that your score tends to take a hit whenever a “hard” credit check is run on you, usually when applying for a new line of credit or apartment. But according to Griffin, a credit inquiry alone is unlikely to have a major impact on your overall score — maybe 10 points at maximum.
“You might see your scores dip a bit initially, but inquiries are really the least important factor in credit scores and will have the least impact,” he says.
If your credit score does appear to have taken a significant hit after applying for a new line of credit, then you “have far more serious issues causing your scores to drop than that inquiry,” Griffin says.
Consider when the last time you checked your credit score was and your entire credit history before worrying too much about how much one application might affect your score.
4. You recently filed for bankruptcy
It might seem like a no-brainer, but yes, declaring both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy will absolutely have a direct effect your credit scores.
“Declaring bankruptcy means your scores are going to drop a lot,” Griffin says. That’s because when you file for bankruptcy, you’re essentially telling creditors that you’re a major credit risk in exchange for wiping out debt that you’ll never be able to pay back. If you file for bankruptcy with a good credit score, you could see your credit score drop by more than 200 points.
Getting your credit score back up after filing for bankruptcy will take a lot of time and effort, but after seven years the bankruptcy will be removed from your credit report and you’ll be able to get approved for more credit-building financial products.
5. You’re looking at a different credit score than usual
The credit score you access through your bank may not be the exact same as another provider, even if you look at them on the same day. If your credit score appears to have taken a hit, you’ll want to make sure that you’re looking at the same score as usual.
The two major consumer credit scoring companies are FICO and VantageScore; while they both use the same 300 to 850 scale for generating scores, the way those scores are calculated can be different. For example, VantageScore factors in items like your “pattern of behavior” (i.e. putting in effort to pay off an existing card balance over time) while FICO scores do not. But even within one scoring system there can be discrepancies between your score, depending on which scoring model is being used.
“It’s critical that you know what score you’re looking at. Not just if it’s a FICO score, but is it the same FICO score as the one you’re used to,” Griffin says.
For instance, a typical FICO score has a score range between 300 and 850, with 850 being the best possible score. But a lender for an auto loan will often use the specific FICO Auto Score, which goes up to 900 points, so your score could appear dramatically different on that report when you’re preparing to buy a car.
6. You’ve been a victim of fraud
If none of the above applies, but your score has dropped significantly, then you may want to take a good look at your full credit report for any suspicious activity. Purchases you don’t remember making, loans taken out in your name and maxed out credit cards you never signed up for are major red flags of identity theft.
“Someone maxing out a fraudulent or stolen account could certainly affect your credit score,” Griffin says. “That’s why we always encourage people to check their credit histories regularly.”
Unlike most of the other reasons that your credit score might drop, if you’re a victim of identity theft, you will be able to remove the activity that’s hurting your score from your credit report. But it’s better to catch suspicious activity sooner rather than later in order to avoid spending hours trying to verify the legitimacy of every item on your report.
Enrolling in a free credit monitoring service like those offered by Experian and Credit Karma can help you catch and protect yourself from fraud.
More from Money:
Best Credit Repair Services – Which One Will Work In Your Best Interest
A credit repair can remove negative marks from your credit report, so you can buy a house or a car you’ve set your heart on.
With so many credit repair companies out there, how to choose the best one for you?
Because I recently needed help from a credit repair company, I talked with my friends and did countless hours of research. I’ve narrowed it down to the top five best credit repair companies, and here’s what you should know about each one.
Top 5 Best Credit Repair Companies
- Credit Saint – a highly reputable company offering an initial free consultation
- Lexington Law – offering all sorts of legal advice and support
- The Credit People – with a low-fee trial week offer
- Credit Repair – a variety of packages to help you clean up any negative score
- Credit Firm – offering a legal audit of your credit reports
Our Top Picks
1. Credit Saint
Credit Saint has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. This credit repair company was founded in 2007, and since then, it has helped thousands of customers improve their credit scores.
What makes them stand out is that they offer a free consultation to talk about your credit score and identify any negative points. You’re under no obligation to pay for this service.
If you choose to continue working with Credit Saint after the consultation, they will contact the major credit bureaus on your behalf – just to remove any inaccurate information from your credit report.
Credit Saint is an aggressive credit repair service, but they’re aware that different people have different needs. That’s why they offer three service packages:
Credit Polish is their basic package and includes five challenges of negative items per cycle, free score analysis, challenge identity theft, charge-offs, challenges to 3 credit bureaus, and a credit score tracker.
Credit Remodel includes everything as the Credit Polish package, and some additional services, such as ten challenges of negative items per cycle, credit Experian monitoring, escalated information requests
and the challenges, such as bankruptcies, late payments, repossessions, and charge-offs.
The most aggressive package available: It includes everything as the previous two, plus an unlimited number of challenges of inaccurate items, cease and desist letters on your behalf, and judgment disputes.
Credit Saint bought me with their free credit consultation, hundreds of positive user reviews, and because they charge less than other companies, but offer more services.
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Three packages at affordable rates
- Online sign-up
- Online account for tracking Credit Saint progress
- Not available in all states
2. Lexington Law
If you need legal help, Lexington Law might be the one for you, as this is a real law firm.
It was founded in 1991, so it’s the credit repair company with the most experience in the US. Lexington Law has had 10,000,000 negative items removed from their client’s credit reports in 2017 only.
This credit repair service employs lawyers and paralegals that use specific laws to protect your credit score. They do this by obtaining a copy of your credit reports and finding what’s bringing your score down.
Then, they send disputes to challenge the inaccurate items. What I liked is that they’ll give you an online dashboard, so you can track what’s happening with your credit score every step of the way.
Lexington Law will assign you your own rep, usually a paralegal. You can schedule an appointment with your rep even beyond business hours, which comes in handy if you’re very busy.
Same as other credit repair services, Lexington Law offers three credit repair packages you can choose from.
This is their most affordable package, and it includes challenging negative items from three major credit bureaus and creditors.
Concord Premier package includes everything as the standard package, as well as the removal of hard inquiries, TransUnion alerts, and score analysis.
The most expensive package Lexington Law offers includes services such as identity theft protection, personal finance tools, cease and desist letters, and FICO score tracker.
- Online customer service
- Free credit report consultation
- Online dashboard for following the progress
- No Better Business Bureau accreditation
3. The Credit People
If you’re looking to try out a service without making a commitment, then you should consider The Credit People.
You can pay $19 to try out this credit repair agency for one week. If you like it and want to continue with them for longer than a week, you can choose between two membership credit repair services:
a monthly fee or a flat-rate membership for six months.
Both credit repair services include:
- $19 fee for the first week
- Debt inquiry and validation
- Communication with creditors
- Unlimited number of credit disputes
- 6-month satisfaction guarantee
The Credit People claim to have removed about 1.5 million negative items from their customers’ credit reports. While no credit repair service can guarantee that you’ll improve your credit reports, The Credit People’s website claims that they have helped their customers’ credit reports increase between 55 and 187 points.
The reviews we checked especially praised their customer service and the fact that once you sign-up, you get a personal online account, which is accessible from any mobile device or a computer.
You’ll also receive notifications, so you’ll know right away if something changes in your credit repair account.
- FCRA certified consultants
- Toll-free customer support
- Account accessible at any time
- No financial management tools
4. Credit Repair
The appropriately named Credit Repair, since 2012, the agency has removed 1,800,000 harmful items from the client’s credit reports.
After a user signs up, Credit Repair charges them $14.99 to check their credit report to identify invalid, confusing, and misleading information on it.
Next, the Credit Repair team creates a custom credit repair plan to remove all the negative items and help your credit scores.
All legitimate credit repair companies work on the same principle, and that’s to offer their customers several packages. Credit Repair offers three packages:
This is the most affordable option. It costs $14,94 to sign-up, and there’s a monthly fee, one of the cheapest in the credit repair industry.
If you have a few negatives in your credit history, this could be the best credit repair option for you, as the package includes 15 credit challenges and 3 creditor disputes monthly.
This package includes:cease and desist letters to creditors, $25,000 worth of Identity theft protection, 24/7 credit monitoring, and six interventions to three credit reporting bureaus.
Apart from containing everything the first two packages do, this premium one also includes:
$1 million in identity theft insurance, personal finance tools, 19 negative items challenged, and a monthly FICO score.
- Free consultation
- Available online and has iOS and Android apps
- 50% discount if your friend or a family member signs up
- Lack of clarity on who are their experts
5. Credit Firm
Like most credit repair companies, Credit Firm also offers a free consultation, including a review of your credit history and a step-by-step action plan that’ll help you improve your credit score.
Credit Firm is a highly reputable company that has been around since 1997, founded by a group of attorneys.
What you may like best about them is that they offer something no other services in the credit repair industry do — a legal audit of your credit reports by a licensed attorney.
Not only will an attorney review your credit report, but also all documents the company sends to creditors for you.
While other credit repair services offer two to three credit repair packages, Credit Firm offers only one credit remodel package.
In this package, you get an unlimited number of disputes a month, which is a fantastic deal seeing how other credit repair companies often limit or raise their price as the number of disputes increases.
- Toll-free customer service available 24/7
- Highly rated by Better Business Bureau
- No upfront fee
- No debt settlement service
How Do You Pick The Right Credit Repair Company?
There are several factors you should consider when choosing credit repair companies.
1. Reviews and Complaints
Always check the reviews and complaints from sources such as:
- Better Business Bureau
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Google reviews
Pro tip: Don’t check the reviews on the direct website only, but go on third-party websites as well to make sure the reviews you’re reading are authentic.
2. Services Credit Repair Companies Offer
The majority of credit repair companies have tiered packages, which offer different services.
The most important things you should take into consideration are:
- The packages offered
- The number of disputes per month
- Monthly fee
- If there’s credit monitoring
- Identity theft insurance
- Credit repair software
- Goodwill letters asking creditors to remove negatives items sent to credit reporting agencies
3. X Day Money-Back Guarantee
The Credit Repair Organizations Act doesn’t allow credit repair companies to guarantee results.
But, the Credit Repair Organization Act doesn’t prohibit companies from usually offering a 90-day money-back guarantee if there aren’t results after a certain time period.
My two cents: legitimate companies should offer a money-back guarantee, which is why I gave these companies an advantage when choosing the one for me.
4. Cancellation Policy
Choose a company whose cancellation policy is free and available at any time.
Did you know? All credit repairing agencies are under obligation to tell the truth about their services.
You, as a customer, are entitled to a mandatory cancellation period, which is the first three days.
If you believe there’s a scam, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they can help you.
What Is the Best Credit Repair Company for You?
A credit repair company will help you recover your credit score so you can finally get that purchase you’ve been thinking about. Moreover, you can get financial guidance so that you never end up in the red.
All of these companies are legitimate, successful, and can help you get a better credit report, but my recommendation is Credit Saint. It’s trustworthy, it has great customer reviews, and most importantly, it has three packages suited to everyone’s needs.
Plan for a better future, and contact a credit repair company that best fits your needs today. And don’t forget to share your experience in the comments below.
Sky Blue Credit Repair Review (2021): 🔎 Fees/Service/Results Analyzed
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Looking for the best way to improve your credit? The process can seem overwhelming and full of headache, with a lot of time wasted and little progress made.
Luckily however, there are legitimate options that can raise your credit without much work. A number of people are turning to them now, more than ever.
With the effects of COVID-19, more people are looking to increase their credit scores to secure better credit and loan rates. This is so much the case that the credit repair industry is expected to boom by 2025. At the same time, BEA findings suggest consumers are becoming more thoughtful about how they spend their money, likely because they have either already lost, or are worried about losing, their jobs.
Essentially, we want more bang for our buck.
Unfortunately, the increase in demand for credit repair services will also bring an increased amount of fraudulent cases — so how can you recognize the frauds?
Sky Blue Credit Repair is a leading credit repair company, with a strong track record of helping customers get fantastic results.
In this review, we’ll go through what exactly Sky Blue Credit Repair can do for you. We’ll also highlight all the pros and cons, and outline how much you’ll have to pay for the service. ⏬
Sky Blue Credit Repair is a leading credit repair company. The customer service team is consistently raved about in reviews. The firm offers a clear pricing structure, and legitimately offers the best value in the credit repair industry.
- Fees: $79 per month
- Highlight: A simple, transparent structure with high value
- Best for: Those looking for a customized service
- Fees: 9/10
- Communication: 9/10
- Dispute Process: 9/10
- Customer Service: 9.5/10
- Credibility & Trust: 10/10
- Overall: 9/10
What is Sky Blue Credit Repair? 🔵
Based in Boca Raton, Florida, Sky Blue has been around since 1989 offering customers a credit repair service. Sky Blue Credit Repair is known to be one of the leading credit repair companies, with very few competitors able to come close to its offer. Customers across 50 states, looking to repair, build, or develop their credit reports can benefit from Sky Blue Credit Repair.
Sky Blue Overview & Summary
Sky Blue Credit Repair is defined by several key points, which we’ve rounded up to the top six:
- Sky Blue helps clients to raise their credit score by analyzing their report and correcting any inaccuracies or incorrect information that may be on it.
- According to Sky Blue Credit Repair, you can start the process of repairing your credit for an initial fee of $79, and then $79 per month. Couples can get a discount price of $119.
- Sky Blue Credit negotiates with your lenders or disputes up to 15 items on your report per month.
- Customers can expect a knowledgeable customer service team, and a 90-day guarantee, something that is unique in the industry.
- As the effects of the pandemic continue, customers should know how to recognize potential scams.
- There are some key questions you should ask yourself before hiring a Sky Blue Credit Repair, like what is your budget, and if you’ll likely need additional services.
How Can Sky Blue Credit Repair Help? 🆘
Sky Blue Credit Repair helps clients raise their credit score by correcting any inaccuracies or incorrect information that may be on their credit report. If any exist, raising your credit score will be almost impossible, even if you’re doing your damn best to be the ideal consumer.
Sky Blue will request copies of your credit report from three major credit bureaus including, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The company will then go through every word in every sentence to ensure the report doesn’t include anything that can’t be confirmed or verified.
Should anything of the sort exist, Sky Blue will work with you to communicate the discrepancies to the relevant authorities. In it, the letters will highlight particular information that needs to be removed from the report.
What are the Pros & Cons of Sky Blue Credit Repair? 📜
We’ve created a list of the best and worst of Sky Blue Credit Repair:
- Knowledgeable and professional customer service
- Incredible value when compared to the competition
- Track record of getting results
- Fast processes
- Handles the work for you
- Individual, personalised communications
- No upselling
- It’s always possible to pursue DIY credit repair instead of paying a company to do it for you – but if you have bad credit and want to pay for credit repair, there’s little downside with Sky Blue
What Are Sky Blue’s Fees? 💳
So, how much does Sky Blue Credit Repair cost? And is it worth it to get better rates on your debt consolidation loan.
According to Sky Blue Credit Repair, you can start the process of repairing your credit for an initial fee of $79, and then $79 per month. Couples can get a discount price of $119.
Importantly, there’s no upselling or hidden fees with Sky Blue. This factor sets them apart from the competition.
Sky Blue also doesn’t charge any extra fees for credit reports or monitoring. Before, customers were charged a fee of $39.95 per credit report they pulled from each of the three-bureaus, or a monitoring service fee of $14.95.
💡 Keep in mind: You will more than likely need several report pulls throughout a credit repair process, if only to observe any potential changes in your FICO score.
How Does Sky Blue Credit Repair Work? 🔍
To start the process with Sky Blue Credit, fill out the enrollment form on the Sky Blue website. To register you will need to fill in the following information:
- Your name
- Street address
- Phone number
- Email address
First off, an agent will speak to you to determine what areas you want to focus on in your credit report. Then it will get your credit reports and begin a line-by-line review. The company has the experience to notice even the smallest discrepancies that could be affecting your credit.
Sky Blue credit uses the information from its review to devise an action plan that will hopefully result in an increased credit score. The company also offers some ways you can start seamlessly rebuilding your credit with software.
How Sky Blue’s Credit Repair Works 🤔
Sky Blue Credit negotiates with your lenders or disputes up to 15 items on your report per month. The company utilizes its legal tools to argue for the removal of the items. Each month, the company will begin the process for the removal or correction of information in your report until you are satisfied that your credit report is at a fair standard.
Sky Blue also offers a 35-day dispute cycle.
In addition, Sky Blue will send you tips on how to monitor your credit, to raise your credit score yourself, including ways you can begin raising it naturally.
✅ Interested in credit monitoring? Get started with the top credit monitoring services.
Where Sky Blue Credit Repair Shines ⭐
Now that we’ve gone through the major aspects of Sky Blue Credit Repair, we’re going to go through what makes Sky Blue really stand out.
1. Responsive Customer Service ☎️
“Let me just say how awesome your customer service department is. They handled everything, answered all of my questions and got me pointed in the right direction. Your credit repair company is the gold standard!” – R.H.
“Thanks again for helping me repair my credit. Everything has been amazing and I’m really looking forward to seeing more results.” – H.J.
The sky blue customer service team is both knowledgeable and responsible. Quite impressively, the firm holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The BBB offers opinions on how a company will most likely interact with its customers. The company takes and uses information from business and public data sources to assign a rating from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
Many reviewers have reported the company as being up-front when it believes the customers credit report wouldn’t benefit from a professional look.
With these cases, Sky Blue recommends additional steps the customer could take to improve or alleviate the current credit concerns they have (free of charge).
Finding a company that helps people, regardless of profit, is a rarity.
Lastly, one other thing on this topic that caught our eye: Sky Blue is known to call customers to let them know they will no longer need to pay, because it has finished its work.
2. 90-Day Guarantee 📅
Sky Blue Credit Repair’s 90 day money back guarantee will come as a welcome relief to those who are weary about handing over cash to companies at the moment. Especially, when the industry is expected to boom by 2025, which will no doubt increase credit repair fraud.
If anything, this guarantee only proves the company’s reputability. Offering a money-back guarantee in this industry certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do. And for good reason: Credit repair is so individual and personal for person to person.
Essentially, for a company to have the guts to offer this to new customers, it must be confident that it can deal with the most complex credit issues. Sky Blue’s record confirms why it has this confidence. And, 90 days is a more than generous length of time.
Honestly, the 90-day guarantee says a lot. It essentially says that if Sky Blue doesn’t produce results for you, then you don’t need credit repair in the first place.
However, their initial consultation will be enough to know whether or not they can help. If they can’t — they’ll tell you up front, as they don’t want to work for 90 days without any results.
Wondering how much of a refund you actually get within that time period? The company doesn’t just refund the initial set up fee, it refunds all payments made.
😌 Peace of mind: With Sky Blue Credit Repair’s 90-day guarantee, unsatisfied customers will get a refund of all payments made, including the initial set-up fee.
We’re recommending Sky Blue because it’s a beacon of a company in an industry filled with pitfalls.
Sky Blue is a reputable company in the midst of an industry with pitfalls. However, should you have any doubt or concerns, it might bring you comfort to know that you will get a full refund if you’re unsatisfied. This is something that Sky Blue’s competitor’s do not offer.
Now, let’s get onto something a bit less exciting.
3. Sky Blue Does the Hard Work for You 💪
A Sky Blue representative will go through and identify any items that should be removed from your credit report. This is the most time consuming part of the process.
Typically, companies will require that you do this complicated work yourself. Sky Blue however, looks after it for you.
The company is also renowned for identifying smaller, more subtle inconsistencies that may otherwise go unnoticed.
4. Disputes Handled Internally 🤐
Sky Blue disputes with the credit bureaus without any need for your intervention. While it is technically possible to dispute inquiries yourself, it is a difficult and time consuming process. Sky Blue looks after the disputes for you, and will make sure to include your contact information along every step of the way.
This means that you will receive responses from the credit bureaus directly, for no additional fee. This is far more efficient than waiting on a representative to forward notices on to you.
5. Sky Blue’s Processes Are Fast 💨
There’s no denying it; Sky Blue works at a strong pace. The company disputes up to 15 inquiries per month. That’s nothing to be sneered at!
This is one of the quickest credit repair processes out there. That said, it finds the right balance of communication with the bureaus because too much can have the opposite effect desired and could potentially put you back a few steps.
6. Assistance & Education 🏫
Sky Blue helps customers find ways to improve their reports and give their credit scores a boost. Generally, lenders are looking for specific items on your credit report, including missed payments and delinquencies. Sky Blue will assist you to find these issues, and then they’ll get to work on eliminating them.
While, of course, the content in your credit report should not be overlooked, most financial institutions look at your score, and that’s it. Sky Blue will give you the right advice so that you can take immediate action.
7. Additional Services ⚙️
Sky Blue Credit Repair offers additional services that come as part of the package (at no additional charge. These include:
On top of credit repair services, Sky Blue Credit Repair offers:
- Goodwill letters
- Debt validation
- Cease and desist letters
8. Customized Disputes ✉️
In a lot of cases, companies send what’s known as “form mail”. This means that every letter sent to the bureau is the same, templated, message, with no differentiating factor from customer to customer.
All correspondence sent by Sky Blue to the 3 bureaus is customized and individual from client to client.
An Alternative to Sky Blue Credit Repair
We’ve gone through the best of Sky Blue Credit Repair. But maybe the firm isn’t what you’re looking for. Read below to see if this applies to you and your unique situation.
It Might Feel a Little Unnecessary
If you have a less than ideal credit score, there are things you can do to help yourself, free of charge. Money’s tight right now, so why should we spend it on something we could potentially do ourselves?
With more companies on the edge of bankruptcy, we should also be aware that getting lenders to front up the cash for loans could become increasingly more difficult. This could make having a good credit score more important than ever.
However, some customers might prefer to put in the work and time themselves, especially those of us being more cautious of where our money goes.
Yet if you don’t have the time — or the expertise — but need to improve your credit score, we firmly believe you won’t go wrong with Sky Blue.
How to Notice & Avoid a Credit Repair Scam 🧐
Those of us who do choose to go with credit repair companies should be aware of those too-good-to-be-true advertisements. We’ve all seen them – the ones that promise us a “new credit identity” i.e. a fresh beginning for our credit history. It makes us really wonder (and dream) about whether this will catapult us to great rates. Reality is: it’s a scam.
🔔 Did you know? Consumer complaints to the CFPB have seen dramatic increases in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the CFPX received 29.494 complaints about different types of alleged consumer mistreatment – this number hit a record breaking high of 37.926 by June.
With the credit repair industry expected to boom as a result of COVID-19, fraudulant credit repair cases seem to be already on the rise. In the past few months, complaints to the CFPB have drastically increased month on month.
In March, the CFPB was inundated with 29,494 complaints around varying alleged consumer mistreatment – this number climbed to a staggering 37,926 by June.
Keep in mind, these too-good-to-be-true companies usually are. A lot of the time, they sell Social Security numbers illegally. If you were to go ahead and use a number that wasn’t yours, you could end up with some hefty fines, or even locked up – it’s that serious.
Signs of a Credit Repair Scam 💳⚠️
Scams catch out so many people for a reason, they’re usually well-thought out, and quite deceiving. But what exactly are the signs of a scam? To help you stay on your toes, here are some ways you can recognize a potential credit repair scam:
A Credit Repair Company Should Not
- Insist on being paid before any work is completed
- Advise you not to contact the credit reporting companies yourself
- Advise you to dispute information on your credit report – even when you’re sure it’s correct
- Advise you to submit false information when applying for credit or a loan
- Be unclear about your legal rights when explaining what they will do for you
What Are Your Credit Rights? ⛔
The Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA) is your best friend in this case. This Act states that it is illegal for credit repair companies to lie about what they can do for your situation, and to charge for work before it’s completed the service/s.
This is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and requires credit repair companies to be clear about the following:
- Give you a written contract that clearly explains your legal rights and details what services the company will complete
- Outline your right to cancel the service within three days, without a fee
- Tell you when you should expect to see results
- Highlight all fees involved, including the overall cost
- State what exactly is guaranteed
- Have an easy cancellation policy in place
What can you do if a credit repair company you’ve hired doesn’t do what it said it would? Here are some options to consider:
- Sue the company in the Federal court to retrieve any fees you paid, or for any losses incurred, whichever is more.
- Seek punitive damages – money the company has to pay for violating the law
- Join others in a class action lawsuit against the company. If you win the company is required to pay your attorney fees.
Reporting Credit Repair Fraud
There are two ways to report a credit repair scam:
- State Attorney General
- Federal Trade Commission
State Attorney General ✅
In a lot of states, there are laws governing credit repair companies. If you are unhappy with the service you’ve been given, report it to your state Attorney General (AG) or your local consumer affairs office.
Federal Trade Commission ✅
You also have the option of filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC can’t resolve any credit disputes for you, but it can take action against the company if it has a pattern of violating the law.
Complaints can be filed on the FTC website directly or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
Is Sky Blue Legitimate? 👍
Now that you know what to look out for to avoid a scam, the question remains, is Sky Blue a trustworthy company and should you use them?
Sky Blue ticks all the boxes of a reputable company. It’s credible, it has a track record of positive results, and its pricing structure is clear.
The company really sets itself apart in the following 2 ways that we highlighted earlier:
1 . Professional and knowledgeable customer service
2. 90-day guarantee
As we mentioned, finding a company that offers a 90 guarantee is rare in this industry. Customers of Sky Blue consistently describe the customer service team as: Professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt.
But surely, not everyone needs to use a credit repair company? Right. Here’s a breakdown of who should consider using Sky Blue Credit Repair
Who Should Use Sky Blue? 🤵
To know if you should go ahead and hire Sky Blue Credit, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my budget?
- Will I need additional services, like identity theft or credit report monitoring?
- Do I prioritize getting individual service or having a bigger company to look after my account?
- What do I hope to achieve by using this service?
Is Sky Blue Worth It? 🤷
BEA estimates show that we have less credit card debt and are taking a more cautious approach towards spending. In other words, we are spending less.
Okay look, here are the facts: Credit card debt has decreased during COVID-19. So, you may not need a credit repair company.
In June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released estimates that disposable personal income decreased $911.1 billion (4.9%) and personal income decreased $874.2 billion (4.2%) in May. In other words, credit card debt is down because when you spend less, you spend less.
At the same time, the BEA found that the U.S personal savings rate was almost two times more in May (23.2%) than in March (12.6). This suggests that many consumers are being more cautious with their money. If this is you, it’s important to make the best decision for you, and your money.
If this is true, you should be on top of all the facts before you invest your money into a credit repair service. Is it really worth it?
Here are some things to keep in mind when weighing the options of using a credit card repair company versus not using one.
Do You Have Room for Improvement? 🚀
If you have bad credit, or multiple issues on your credit report then there is a better chance of raising your FICO score, since more things need to be corrected. If you don’t take action to improve your FICO score, you could be stuck with a bad credit loan should you need to borrow funds.
You also need to think about what expectations you have and how much of an improvement you’re looking for. Look at your credit report and see if there is room for improvement.
It Can Cost Time and Money ⏱️💵
Credit repair companies can only dispute items a few times a month before they are reprimanded by a credit bureau, so if you have a good few items you want corrected, it can take some time, which will cost you.
On the other hand, if you only need to remove a few items then it should be a pretty quick process, which would cost less.
There is No Guarantee Your Credit Will Improve 🙅♂️
Any improvements made to your credit will be determined by the credit bureaus, not Sky Blue Credit Repair. For this reason, there is always the possibility that the requested changes will not be approved. Before you go into the process, it’s important to understand that your money might not result in a whole lot of change.
With this in mind, it might be good to try to read and understand your credit report yourself so you have a good idea of what it entails before making your decision.
How Much Will Sky Blue Help My Credit? ☝️
While the company won’t be able to raise your credit without your help, it is a legitimate company with a strong track record of results.
Once you meet with a Sky Blue Credit Repair representative, they will go through the entire process and how long it should take, your rights, along with what they can do for you. Everything will be explained very clearly before any work begins.
Is Sky Blue Credit Right for You? 🥇
Sky Blue is renowned for going above and beyond for its customers. It even offers advice to people, free of charge. The credit repair process is quick, affordable, and customers can expect to be communicated with by the credit bureaus directly.
Although we have highlighted the company’s website as being basic, it is something that could be easily fixed, and does not directly impact the service offered.
With more potential fraudulent activity expected in the industry, customers should know how to recognize a scam, and choose a known and trusted credit repair company. Sky Blue could easily be the best in America.
Sky Blue Credit Repair FAQs
How Does Sky Blue Credit Repair Actually Work?
Sky Blue works by disputing negative marks on clients credit reports with three leading credit bureaus. The credit bureaus communicate directly with you so you don’t need to wait on Sky Blue to forward on any messages. This is a good way of helping those with bad or fair credit get better rates for personal loans.
How Can I Get Started?
To get started, go to the Sky Blue Credit Repair website and fill out the form. This will only take a few minutes.
When you sign up, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to get them your credit reports. Once you receive the reports, the process will start.
How Long Does It Take to See Results From Sky Blue Repair Credit?
This will depend on several factors, including the number of accounts on your credit report that need to be disputed. How quickly the bureaus respond will play a part, too. In comparison to others though, Sky Blue Credit Repair have quite a quick process.
Do They Offer a Guarantee?
Yes, Sky Blue Credit Repair offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. If you are not happy with the service, you will get a full refund.
A specific outcome can never be predicted or promised. However, Sky Blue has a record of doing all it can to maximize the possibility of outstanding results.
Which Items Will Sky Blue Remove From My Credit Report?
Understanding what Sky Blue potentially can and cannot remove from your credit report is important.
Any debt or legitimate inquiries owed should not be disputed. However, it is required that companies give evidence of the debt owed, or authorised an inquiry. If a company can’t do this, you might be able to get it removed.
Will Deleted Items Reappear on My Credit Report?
On a rare occasion, a negative item might reappear on your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus to let you know before a previously deleted listing is re-reported.
They also have a window of only 5 days to re-reported a previously deleted item. After this time it is a FCRA violation, which makes it hard for bureaus to re-report items.
Which is Better: Sky Blue or Lexington Law?
Lexington Law and Sky Blue are both great options for helping people to improve their credit score. This will ultimately lead to greater financial access — including access to loans from the leading debt consolidation lenders for example. Do some more research to figure out which is the best option for your personal needs.
Sky Blue Credit Repair offers a lower monthly price, and excellent service. It also offers a couples discount. Lexington Law has also recently experienced some legal drama, whereas Sky Blue has not.
The Sky Blue customer service team is also the best in the industry. Customers consistently rave about the professional and knowledgeable team. If you’re looking for the best value offered in the credit repair space, we recommend Sky Blue.
How Can I Raise My Credit Score in 30 Days?
You can seriously ramp up your credit score in 30 days by doing the following:
- Get your credit report.
- Go through your report line by line and identify any incorrect information
- Dispute this with the leading credit bureaus.
- Pay your credit card balances or consolidate your debt through a leading debt consolidation lender.
- Contact the collection agencies.
- If the collection agency does not remove the account, do not pay it.
- Contact the creditors to eliminate late payments.
- Dispute the inquiries.
- Become an authorized user.
Does Sky Blue Remove Charge Offs?
Sky Blue Credit Repair can remove the charge off if it is the account is past the reporting period.
Does Sky Blue Hurt Your Credit?
The suggestions and disputes recommended by Sky Blue will result in a better credit report and could improve your credit score. Depending on how many items you need assessed, it could take some time. Sky Blue Credit Repair is known to do it within a few weeks to months.
Should I Dispute a Charge Off?
If there are any inaccuracies about the reporting, you could dispute it with your creditor or ask the bureaus to investigate. Paying a balance will help your credit improve in the long.
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Global Credit Repair Services Market Demand and Status, Forecast 2025 | • CreditRepair.com • MyCreditGroup • The Credit People • Veracity Credit Consultants • TransUnion • MSI Credit Solutions • Lexington Law • USA Credit Repair