If you want to run a profitable credit repair business, you need to understand the industry rules and regulations to ensure compliance. Just like any other industry, there are both federal and state laws and every state is different. Some states have specific requirements for bonding, licensing, registration, and contract disclosure. Additionally, many states have specific requirements on how much you can charge consumers and when you can charge them. It is important that you read and understand the rules so you can safely run your business and make compliant decisions.
None of the information on this page is legal advice, it is public information that we assembled to help save you time. Rules and regulations do change and we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information listed on this page; however, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure the information you use to make business or legal decisions are accurate. We highly recommend you do your own additional research and seek assistance from a competent legal professional for any decisions you make.
Some states have state laws regulating credit repair organizations in addition to the federal laws. You should
become familiar with the state laws for each state within which your credit repair organization operates and
always know where your consumers reside to make sure you comply with the state laws of where your
consumer is located in. If you solicit or service consumers outside the state where you reside, you must
comply with federal laws in addition to state laws. You, and not CRC, will have sole responsibility to review your marketing and collection efforts relating to services you provide. Also you, and not CRC, must confirm that your marketing and receipt of fees are compliant with applicable state and federal laws.
There are both Federal and State laws that regulate the Credit Repair Industry. This section covers some of
the applicable federal laws, such as the Credit Repair Organization Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. For more information, consult the Federal Trade Commission.
The Credit Repair Organization Act is title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was signed into Law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. It’s a federal law put in place to protect consumers from dishonest credit repair companies. The law’s intent is to prevent credit repair companies from taking advantage of consumers and help consumers make informed decisions when hiring a credit repair company.
Before a credit repair company can perform any services, they are required to provide a contract signed by the consumer and the contract must include the following:
You, and not CRC, will have sole responsibility to review your marketing and collection efforts relating to the services you provide. Also, you, and not CRC, must confirm that your marketing and receipt of fees are compliant with applicable state and federal laws.
If you solicit from or service customers outside of the state where you reside, you must comply with the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”). For more information, regarding the TSR you can visit the FTC’s website: https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/complying-telemarketing-sales-rule. CRC’s statements are not legal advice. You should seek legal advice to ensure compliance.
Credit Repair Cloud requires that all customers comply with the TSR and any other applicable laws and regulations to continue using its software.
Every state has different rules, regulations and requirements. If you are providing services to consumers in your home state, where your business is based, you must follow the law for your state. If you are providing services to any consumers in other states, you must also follow the laws for the states your clients live in. For those of you that are just getting started in the credit repair business, there is no need to worry about states other than your own - there are plenty of consumers that need your help in your home state; however, if you decide to branch out into other states, please remember that the rules apply to the state the consumer resides. So in other words, you must follow the law for the state the consumer lives in. In addition, remember that any time you are servicing out-of-state consumers, you must adhere to federal laws in addition to state laws.
Are there state laws for credit repair in California?
Yes, under the Credit Services Act of 1984.
What are the specific statutes?
Who is the authority for credit repair in California?
California Department of Justice Attorney General's Office: https://oag.ca.gov/
Laws often change, so make sure you do your own research and do not rely on this information to be 100% accurate.
What is a surety bond?
A surety bond is a three-party agreement that legally binds your credit repair company (who needs the bond), the state (who requires the bond) and a surety company that sells the bond. If you fail to perform or cause consumers harm, the bond will cover resulting damages or losses.
Is a surety bond required in California?
California does require a surety bond. Additionally, the bond shall be maintained for two years following
the date on which the credit services organization ceases to conduct business in California.
See Cal. Civ. Code. §1789.18
What is the bond requirement amount in California?
The required bond amount is $100,000.
How much do bonds cost?
Surety bonds typically cost between 1% and 10% of the face value based on the owner's personal credit. For example: If the face value of the bond is $10,000; it may cost as low as $100 per year or as high as $1,000 per year.
Where can I obtain a bond?
There are many insurance companies that offer surety bonds. Do a quick google search for “Credit Repair Surety Bond” and you will find many. It’s always a good idea to compare rates.
Does California require a credit repair license?
At the moment, we are not aware of a credit repair license requirement in this state. However, you should consult the Secretary of State to obtain the most recent information. Additionally, depending on your city and county you may be required to obtain a local tax receipt, permit or local professional license. Most counties and cities in the state require business licenses or permits for all businesses, including one-person, home-based operations. If you are conducting business within a city’s limits, check with your city government to determine licensing requirements. If you are in an unincorporated area, check with the county government. If you have an office in more than one city or county, you might need to get a license for each one. We made every attempt to ensure the information posted is accurate; however, because the state may change its policies, procedures, or requirements, we are not responsible for any discrepancies. We strongly encourage you to do your own research or hire a competent legal professional prior to making any business or legal decisions.
Federal and state governments call credit repair companies “Credit Service Organizations”. The acronym “C.S.O.” is an abbreviation for the term. Some states require CSO’s to register with one or more of the specific state agencies to know exactly who is practicing credit repair within their state. Some states publicly post a list of CSO’s online that have registered so consumers can check the listing to confirm a credit repair company is registered or not. All the information below is public information found on the states website. We made every attempt to ensure the information posted is accurate; however, because the state may change its policies, procedures or requirements, we are not responsible for any discrepancies. We strongly encourage you to do your own research or hire a competent legal professional prior to making any business or legal decisions.
Is CSO registration required in California?
Yes, California does requires credit service organizations to register with the California Secretary of State.
What is the process and fee to register as a CSO in California?
The registration fee is $100 and must be renewed annually. See Civ. Code §§ 1789.25. For additional information regarding the filing process, consult with the California Secretary of State.
Under CROA, you are required to provide a contract to consumers when offering credit repair services. Additionally, if you provide credit repair services to consumers in more than one state, you must adhere to other applicable federal laws, such as the Telemarketing Sales Rule. On a state level, each state has different requirements for many different aspects of how you conduct business, including but not limited to how much you can charge, when you can charge, how long you can charge, and when clients can cancel services or receive a refund. Some states require you to disclose this information in the contracts. This section can help you understand how you may choose to customize your contracts. All the information below is public information found on the states website. We made every attempt to ensure the information posted is accurate; however, because the state may change its policies, procedures, or requirements, we are not responsible for any discrepancies. We strongly encourage you to do your own research or hire a competent legal professional prior to making any business or legal decisions.
Does California have specific contract requirements?
What is the statute specific to California credit repair contracts?
Cal. Civ. Code. §1789.16
Does California have a Term requirement?
Yes, California prohibits contract terms from exceeding 6 months. This means a new contract will be required if the 6 month term expires.
Does California have a Cancellation requirement?
Yes, California allows consumers to cancel at any time within 5 business days from the time the consumer signs the contract.
Does California have a Refund requirement?
Yes, California requires credit services organizations to allow consumers a full refund within 15 days from the date they sign the contract.
Does California require specific Disclosures in their contract?
Yes, California requires several disclosures.
See Civ. Code §§ 1789.15−16.
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