free credit report

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      If you are turned down for a loan or credit card application, they are

      required to provide you with a free copy of the report. Aside from that, I

      don’t

      know of any free ones, but the three major credit reporting agencies charge

      only $9 per report. It is necessary to get them all, because most items are

      only reported to one of the agencies.

      I worked for a bankruptcy attorney for a year and a half, and saw many of

      these reports…they are well worth the $9 each. Also, regarding the

      bankruptcy discussion….bankruptcy laws are federal. Student loans can never

      be

      cleared through bankruptcy. As someone else stated, taxes can only be cleared

      if

      they are several years old…I think 3 years is correct.

      At that office, I was in charge of contacting creditors to work out deals

      for clients who wanted to attempt to pay off debt instead of filing

      bankruptcy. I can tell you that most…not all…credit card companies will

      work with

      you to lower the total amount you owe IF you can pay them with a lump sum.

      For example, if you owe $5,000, and offer them at $3,000 lump sum payment,

      they may agree to wipe out the rest of the debt. This will show as being paid

      in

      full on your credit report. Many companies were willing to go as low as 50%,

      but only after haggling for a couple months. I never had any success in

      getting them to lower the interest rate. If you attempt to do this yourself,

      make

      sure you have documentation of all telephone conversations, and a signed

      agreement stating that the rest of the debt is forgiven when you send them the

      lump sum.

      Cindy

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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