The Law Office of Heather A. Harwell, P.A. is a Federally designated debt relief agency which defends consumers and files suits on behalf of consumers pursuant to various Florida and Federal laws, including bankruptcy under Title 11.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD CREDIT. Credit allows us to make purchases we would not otherwise be able to afford and pay for them on an installment basis.  The better our credit rating, the better interest rate we are likely to receive and the greater extension of credit we may be allowed.  However, if our credit is bad enough, we may not be granted credit in the first place.  That is why it is always a good idea to check your credit before you apply for a credit based purchase so that you may address issues before credit is denied.    If you are ultimately denied credit because of credit issues, you will have only made the problem worse by allowing the "hard inquiries" that lenders make when considering to loan you money.


There are other instances where our credit is reviewed by a third party which can affect our ability to obtain things necessary to our survival.

1.   Many EMPLOYERS check a prospective employee's credit to minimize risk when an employee might be given financial responsibility.  Employers may also use credit  reports to determine the reliability and stability of a potential employee.  Although employers, as well as insurance carriers, professional licensing boards and prospective lenders are required to obtain your signed consent and disclose exactly what they intend to do with your credit report information, many employers require this disclosure as a condition to potential employment.  You may be perfect for a job otherwise, but your bad credit very well could cost you a potential new job.

2.  INSURANCE CARRIERS use your credit information to determine the risk of your potential for filing claims.  Insurance carriers rely upon information that suggests that people with bad credit are more likely to have claims.  Although, in Florida, the carrier may not rely solely upon your credit score in assessing rates, that means that the worse your credit is, the higher your insurance rates may be.

3.  PROFESSIONAL LICENSING BOARDS use your credit information to determine if you are qualified for certain professions, especially professions where you are likely to be in a position where people will trust you with their finances and financial information.  The licensing boards are interested not only in your financial status itself but what your status, good or bad, suggests about your possible lifestyle that led to your financial status; For example, bad credit could indicate a potential substance abuse problem or mental health issues.  Consequently if your credit report reflects bad credit management, chances are that you will either have to explain why information should not disqualify you for the license or you may be denied the license.

4.    LANDLORDS often require credit checks when you apply to rent your home.  If your credit is too bad, it could prevent you from being able to rent. 


5.    SECTION 8 | HUD HOUSING BENEFITS can be denied if the owner of the property you intend to rent rejects you for having a poor credit history.

FCRA | FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT.  A 2015 study released by the Federal Trade Commission found that 23% of consumers identified inaccurate information in their credit reports.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted to protect consumers from these inaccuracies.  The FCRA laws apply to the reporting agencies themselves as well as creditors and debt collectors reporting to the agencies.  There are several specialty consumer reporting agencies as well as the three main agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion.  If any of these entities fail to correct inaccurate information, you can sue for up to $1,000 statutory damages for any of the following:  Privacy Violations; Credit Inquiries for Impermissible Purposes; Failure to Correct Inaccurate Information; Failure to Notify You When Negative Information is Supplied; and Illegally Sold Information for Marketing Purposes.  TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE WHEN PURSUING THESE CLAIMS SO YOU SHOULD NEVER DELAY IN DOING SO.  The attorney can ensure that you are complying with the mandatory statute guidelines in pursuing FCRA violations.  Law Office of Heather A. Harwell, P.A. handles these cases on a contingency basis which means you pay no fee or cost up front and the fees and costs are sought from the party sued when we successfully prevail on your claim.

FICO | CREDIT SCORE BREAK-DOWN.  FICO There are 3 major credit reporting agencies that report your credit scores including EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN and TRANSUNION.  Each agency generates its own credit score for each consumer based upon the information reported to them.  Along with your credit and payment history, information such as all names you have used, your employment and your address history, credit inquiries, collections activity, charge-offs judgments, foreclosures and bankruptcies.  There are 5 categories that comprise your credit score:

Credit improvement is not instant nor quick in most cases.  It is a process that can range anywhere from 30 days to a couple years depending upon your issues.  Success is not guaranteed and it requires that you work with the attorney in addressing all 5 categories that comprise your score.  Although we are not a credit repair agency, our debt resolution process is likely to have a positive effect on your credit score.

NEGATIVE CREDIT EVENTS   Everything on your credit report has the potential to affect your credit score and your ability to obtain new credit.  Likewise, each of the following events will negatively impact your credit score and remain on your credit in most cases for an extended period of time:

There are steps we can help you take that may cause an item to be corrected or removed, resulting in an increase in your credit score.  The results depend upon the nature of the item, the creditor, the age of the item.  Sometimes a lawsuit is necessary pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collections Act and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

Get help before it's too late.

The Law Office of Heather A. Harwell, P.A. handles Consumer Bankruptcy, Debt Defense, Garnishment Defense, Credit Reporting Issues, Lawsuits against Creditors & Debt Collectors violating Fair Debt Collection Law violations, and Appeals regarding Debt, Credit and Violations issues in the U.S.M.D. of Florida, Hillsborough County, Hernando County, Pasco County, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, Spring Hill, San Antonio, Trinity, North Tampa, New Port Richey,  Lutz, Land O Lakes and surrounding areas.
Principal Office:  27446  Cashford Circle, Ste. 101, Wesley Chapel, Florida  33544