The Federal Trade Commission has charged seven related companies with violating federal law by falsely promising to remove negative information from consumers credit reports, even information that is accurate and current, and by charging an up-front fee and failing to provide written disclosures. The agency seeks to make them stop the violations and pay restitution to consumers.

According to the FTC, the defendants charge consumers up to $2,000, including $300 in advance, promising to improve credit scores by removing information such as late payments, charge-offs, collections, inquiries, delinquencies, judgments, and accounts discharged in bankruptcy.

Their promotions include an ad on a third-party Web site stating, 100% Guarantee to raise your credit score! Transcripts from telephone calls with consumers include statements such as, I cant tell you much because Ill be giving you my trade secrets, but I can definitely guarantee that well take care of anything thats derogatory on her credit report. Its all legal.

In addition to facing deceptive marketing charges under the FTC Act, the defendants are charged with violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act by misrepresenting their services; charging in advance for credit repair services; and failing to provide consumers with written contracts and other materials that contain written disclosures required by law or deviating from the required wording for the disclosures.

The defendants are

• United Credit Adjusters Inc., doing business as United Credit Adjustors and UCA;
• United Credit Adjustors Inc., d/b/a United Credit Adjusters and UCA;
• United Counseling Association Inc., d/b/a UCA;
• Bankruptcy Masters Corp.,
• National Bankruptcy Services Corp.,
• Federal Debt Solutions Ltd.,
• United Money Tree Inc., and
• Ahron E. Henoch, Ezra Rishty, and Gerald Serino, also known as Jerry Serino.

Time and effort

The FTC advises that only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan can improve your credit report. The first step is to learn what information is in your creditreport. If you find errors or mistakes, federal law gives you the right to have them corrected free of charge.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — to provide a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com, a toll-free telephone number, or a mailing address.

Details are at www.ftc.gov/freereports. Reviewing your credit report regularly is an effective way to deter and detect identity theft.