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The Credit Guru offers a free consult and several discounts, but it's rather expensive for what you get and has many other worrisome red flags.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Offers several discounts
Offers a five-day money-back guarantee
Company has been around for a long time
Makes some iffy claims
Outdated, clunky website
Customer reviews are strangely scarce
- The Credit Guru has been around for nearly three decades, yet there's a scarcity of information out there from actual customers.
- Two tiers of service are available, with the higher-priced one featuring a long-term action plan, biweekly dispute letters, and automatic account reviews every month.
- There is worrisome language on the website. It offers debt settlement programs that consumer advocates caution against, claims it disputes all negative information (even the correct bits), and claims that credit bureaus are more likely to listen to credit repair agencies than you yourself.
The Credit Guru is one of the oldest credit repair agencies out there, having launched way back in 1993. It was founded by a former assistant to a tax attorney who continues to run the company to this day. Despite its long track record, there's relatively little information out there from actual customers regarding how well the company operates, which we would expect for a company with such long tenure.
Nevertheless, The Credit Guru is a legitimate company that does offer credit repair services. It's not as smooth an operation as its competitors, it's relatively expensive, and it does make some worrisome claims about credit repair. But since it offers a free consult and a five-day, money-back guarantee, there's no harm in at least reaching out to see if you might work well together.
- Year Founded 1993
- Services Offered Credit repair
- First Work Fee $149.95–$199.95
- Monthly Fee $89.00–$129.00
- Customer Service Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 1-888-528-6041
- Official Website www.thecreditguru.com
Sometimes it really feels like you need an expert when it comes to repairing your credit. That's what The Credit Guru positions itself as–someone who can handle dealing with the credit bureaus and your creditors so you don't have to. To that end, The Credit Guru can help dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports and offer debt settlement programs to help you clean up your credit in anticipation of buying a home, getting a new car loan, etc.
However, there are more potential red flags with this company than most other credit repair businesses. That doesn't mean you should avoid it if it works for your needs, but it is important to go in knowing the drawbacks so you can make an informed decision and be prepared.
The best credit repair companies have several things in common, such as an abundance of good customer reviews around the internet, affordable pricing, clear details about what's included, and a lengthy, hassle-free money-back guarantee.
- Free consult: You don't need to shell out any money upfront to talk with a customer support rep. You can get a feel for their style of interaction, ask about any fees, and get as many details as you want before you sign on the dotted line.
- Offers several discounts: The Credit Guru offers discounts if your real estate broker refers you to it, as well as for military members and couples.
- Offers a five-day money-back guarantee: The best credit repair companies offer 90-day money-back guarantees, which The Credit Guru does not. Still, it's better than nothing, which is very common with credit repair companies too.
- Company has been around for a long time: The Credit Guru will be celebrating its third decade of existence in 2023—a much longer track record than most other credit repair companies.
- Expensive: The Credit Guru charges a much higher minimum first-work fee ($149) and ongoing monthly fee ($89) than most other credit repair companies.
- Makes some iffy claims: The company claims to offer debt settlement services, something that many government consumer protection groups warn against. It makes some false claims about how credit bureaus view disputes coming from credit repair bureaus as more legitimate than if you were to do the same thing yourself, and offers to dispute all negative information on your credit file in the hopes of getting it removed (something it cannot do).
- Outdated, clunky website: The main page advertises a "new credit scoring model" rolling out in 2017, for example, and there's no customer portal you can use to log into to pay—you enter your credit card information straight into a form on its website. The website is also riddled with typos.
- Customer reviews are strangely scarce: Unlike most other credit repair companies, you won't find reviews for The Credit Guru on Trustpilot, Google, or the Better Business Bureau. Instead, there's only a smattering of reviews on Yelp.
Types of Services
The Credit Guru isn't very upfront about the specifics of the services it provides—something you'll need to suss out in the free consult if you do contact the company. But here is the gist of what it offers.
Professional Credit Analysis
After you hire The Credit Guru, a credit analyst will schedule a phone call to go over your credit reports with you. Together, you'll look for any inaccurate information, and if any is found, that'll be the springboard for the actual credit repair process.
The Credit Guru offers to dispute "all negative and/or inaccurate information," but if you have negative information on your file and it actually is correct, The Credit Guru is not supposed to do this. You can only remove negative information if it's inaccurate, although credit repair companies may try to remove accurate negative information with goodwill requests.
Based on the information the analysts from The Credit Guru find, they'll craft and send off dispute letters to get the inaccurate information removed from your credit reports. To do this, they'll need you to sign a limited power of attorney to work on your behalf.
Here comes your part: You have to agree to forward any correspondence you receive from creditors or the credit bureaus directly to The Credit Guru. Under the terms of the contract, you're not allowed to reach out to these people yourself. You're also responsible for keeping track of how much time passes from when the letters are sent, and you need to let The Credit Guru know if 40 days pass without hearing a response back.
If you're unable to do those things, then The Credit Guru says you are ultimately the one "responsible for any lack of progress in the disputing process."
The Credit Guru is about as bare-bones in the features department as credit repair companies come. The company doesn't have an app, a live chat support feature, an online customer portal, a credit monitoring service, a debt management program, or anything else in addition to what we've already described. The Credit Guru does not even have an up-to-date, professionally designed website.
You can reach customer support at The Credit Guru by emailing email@example.com or calling (888) 528-6041. The business is based in Edmonds, WA, so it likely operates on Pacific Time, but it does not specify its business hours.
The Credit Guru has been around for a long time, but you wouldn't know it judging by the reviews. The only website we could find with actual customer reviews was Yelp, which gave the company an excellent five-star rating but based on a mere seven reviews. An additional nine reviews were listed that Yelp didn't factor into its rating, one of which appears to be the owner of the actual company writing a review as if they were a satisfied customer (that of Jon R. from Mountlake Terrace, Washington; the owner’s name is Jon Rosenthal, and he lives in that town.
You will need to sign a one-year contract to work with The Credit Guru as well as a limited power of attorney so it can contact official outlets on your behalf. This contract automatically renews for another year if The Credit Guru thinks your credit file still needs work.
However, you can cancel at any time. If you cancel in the first five days, you can get a full refund of your money. Under the terms of the contract, you'll still be charged for the present month you're in if the company worked on your file during the latter half of the prior month.
For example, if you cancel the contract on September 1, you'll still be charged for the entire month of September if the company did any work during August 15–31.
In order to cancel your contract with The Credit Guru, you will need to do it in writing.
The Credit Guru charges a very high amount for its services when compared with competitors, even when you look at the lowest-level plan. It offers two different packages: Regular Service and Premium Service.
The Regular Service plan costs $149.95 to start, with an $89 fee every month thereafter. It includes pulling your credit reports, sending out disputes once per month if needed, and a review of your account once per month if you request it.
The Premium Service plan costs $199.95 to start, with a $129 fee each month after that. You get all of the things in the Regular Service plan, plus a "personalized credit repair action plan," biweekly credit dispute letters sent out if needed, and automatic reviews of all of your accounts each month.
How to Choose a Credit Repair Company
Turning your credit score around in order to reach your financial goals is absolutely something most people can do themselves for free. But if you lack the time or the interest to do it, there's nothing wrong with hiring a credit repair company. Unfortunately, you'll still need to spend some time researching companies to find the best option for the right price. Here are some tips to do just that:
- You don't need to pay a lot: Generally, you get what you pay for, and while that can be true, you don't necessarily need to pay a ton of money for credit repair either. Ask about any and all potential fees up front so you're not stuck facing big charges for things you thought would be included in the regular ongoing fees.
- Watch out for scammy language: Red flags include companies that promise they can raise your credit score, or that offer to do unethical things like disputing all negative information (even if it's accurate).
- Scope out as many companies as possible: Each credit repair company differs in how it operates, how much it costs, and how friendly and supportive its credit analysts are. Doing your background research in advance can help you narrow it down to the best company for you, rather than what appears on the first page of a Google search.
- Ask about free consults, cancellation policies, and money-back guarantees: The best credit repair companies offer a free consult to go over your credit file and will chat about the specifics of how they can help. Similarly, you should be able to cancel your contract at any time, and better companies offer long, hassle-free money-back guarantees.
|The Credit Guru||Sky Blue
| The Credit People
|Services Offered||Free credit repair consult, Credit disputes, 5-day money-back guarantee||Free credit repair consult, Credit disputes, Credit monitoring, Debt management program, 90-day money-back guarantee||Free credit repair consult, Credit disputes, Credit monitoring, 90-day money-back guarantee|
|Max. Number of Monthly Disputes||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Letters to Creditors||Various (not disclosed)||Goodwill, cease & desist, debt validation||Various (not disclosed)|
|Min. First Work Fee||$149.95||$79||$19|
|Min. Monthly Fee||$89||$79||$79|
|Customer Service Platforms||Email, phone||Email, phone||Email, phone, live chat|
When you zoom out to the 30,000-foot view and look at The Credit Guru next to its competitors, it paints a picture of a tiny, outdated, expensive, and borderline dishonest company. That said, it's not entirely a scam. As long as you go into it knowing the red flags to look out for, it could work for you if you prefer working with a small company. For most people, however, we'd suggest passing in favor of a company with more positive reviews scattered around the web, a cheaper fee structure, and a better user interface.
See what the competition looks like with our picks for the best credit repair companies in the industry today.
How We Review Credit Repair Companies
Our team evaluated 17 credit repair companies and collected over 600 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed 39 criteria, giving the highest weights to those that are the most significant for customers.
The top picks were selected based on:
- Costs and fees (weighted 40.5% in total)
- Services offered (34%)
- Customer experience (22.5%)
- Stability (3%)
We took into account factors like how many disputes will be sent per month, what kinds of dispute letters will be sent, cancellation and return policies, and how long companies have been in business. This information was used in our company's star ratings and best picks.