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Credit repair: A broken promise for some customers

4:40 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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UPDATE, July 9, 2013: David Sonnier,owner of Florida School of Credit, said the Collins are his clients. Sonnier said they agreed to use his company to find a mortgage and changed their mind. He said he has a contract with them.

"The reason they did not get a refund is there were rude to me," said Sonnier, "They still owe me $500 and we are going to civil court."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We've all seen the commercials for the companies that promise to remove bankruptcies, judgments, and liens from your credit files. The Federal Trade Commission position on these companies is simple: "Do yourself a favor and save your money."

Baker County resident Katrina Collins now regrets her recent decision. Collins was shopping for a used car and found a credit repair deal that has left her upset.

"The salesman at the time told me 'we have a guy that works with us that does credit repair,'" said Collins. 

That's when she met David Sonnier of Florida School of Credit, a credit repair company. Collins said she was told they could repair her credit. 

"He told us he normally charges $1,100," said Collins, "but because we were buying a car, he would charge us $150."

Collins paid it and was given a receipt. She said the selling point for her was that Sonnier said he could get it done in 40 days and she would be able to buy a home. It has been months and Collins said nothing has happened.

"I called him again and said 'you told us 40 days at the max. I don't see anything being done to it,'" she said.

Sonnier wanted more money, $25, but Collins said that's not what was taken from her account.

"His manager ended up pulling two $175 fees, $350, without my permission," she said. 

Collins said Sonnier apologized and promised to refund the money.

"Never got my money back from him. He kept telling me give him a couple of days," she said. 

That's when she contacted law enforcement. The bank restored her funds and opened a fraud case and the Baker County Sheriff's Office is investigating her complaint about Sonnier.

Several attempts to reach Sonnier failed. At one point, he texted and said he was in a meeting.

"Now I know, I don't believe anyone can fix your credit," she said. 

The FTC enforces the credit repair organization act.

First for you:

-It is illegal for credit repair companies to lie about what they can do and to charge before they've performed services

-Get in writing the details of the service. You have a right to cancel within three days without charge

-If the company does not deliver, you can sue in federal court for losses

Here's the bottom line: No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report, but you can always ask for an investigation at no charge to you.

Get a free copy of your credit report now and review it for mistakes go to: www.annualcreditreport.com 

First Coast News

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