Despite companies promises to "clean up" or "fix" your credit record, negative information in your record that is accurate cannot be erased. Federal law allows such information to be reported in your file for seven years, or ten years in the case of bankruptcy. Credit repair firms often challenge all negative items in a credit report, and if the credit reporting agency cannot verify the information within a reasonable period of time, the information is removed, but it may be only temporary. If the information is later verified, it will be placed back in your file. No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. But the law does allow you to request a reinvestigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you've been denied credit within the last 30 days. You can also dispute mistakes or outdated items for free. Ask the credit reporting agency for a dispute form or submit your dispute in writing, along with any supporting documentation.