Credit Services Organization Registration Application

Consumer Alert

You do not need a Credit Services Organization to improve your credit, or to obtain a loan or extension of credit. Below are resources so that you can perform these services on your own.

Beware of companies promising a quick fix to repair your credit. Some credit repair companies use confusing and misleading claims to take advantage of those looking to improve their credit. These companies are required to follow federal and state laws including the Credit Repair Organizations Act and often the Telemarketing Sales Rule both of which prohibit credit repair organizations from using deceptive tactics and accepting upfront fees. Be on the lookout for these red flags:

  • Demands for payment upfront: Under the Credit Services Organizations Act, a credit services organization cannot collect payment until they have completed the services they promised to perform. If the Telemarketing Sales Rule applies, the company cannot ask for payment until it has provided you with a credit report that shows the promised results and that report is generated more than 6 months after the results were promised. Don't pay upfront.
  • Sounds too good to be true: If you are promised a specific increase in your credit score, guaranteed results or that your credit can be repaired quickly, no one can do this. It will take time to repair your credit file.
  • Can't provide details: if the credit repair company cannot explain in detail what services they will perform for you and how much those services will cost, this may not be a reputable company.
  • Provides you with incomplete or inaccurate information: If the company does not inform you of your rights to a written contract detailing the services to be performed, your rights to cancel the contract, or discourages you from contacting the credit reporting companies directly, you might not be dealing with a reputable company.
  • Ask you to misrepresent information: If you are being asked to misrepresent information or to create a new credit identity by applying for and Employer Identification Number to use instead of a Social Security Number, you might not be dealing with a reputable company.
  • Registration does not mean compliance: Issuance of a certificate of registration does not mean that the advertising or the business practices of a Credit Services Organization have been approved by the Department of Justice, nor mean that the business practices employed by the registrant are in compliance with California law, federal law, or the laws of any other state.

A Credit Services Organization is a business that, in exchange for a fee, offers to perform services or provide advice or assistance to improve a consumer's credit record, history, or rating, or to assist the consumer with obtaining a loan or other extension of credit.

Credit Services Organizations that operate in California are required to file a registration application with, and receive a certificate of registration from, the Department of Justice before conducting business in this state. Issuance of a certificate of registration does not in any way constitute an approval by the Department of Justice of any advertising or the business practices of a Credit Services Organization, nor does it constitute an opinion that any such advertising or business practices employed by the registrant are in compliance with California law, federal law, or the laws of any other state. To check if a Credit Services Organization is registered in California, visit the listing of registered Credit Services Organizations.

You can perform these services on your own behalf for free. See below for information on how to obtain your credit report and scores, dispute errors on your credit report, and fix your credit and improve your credit scores.

Credit Services Organization Registration Application

In order to obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Department of Justice as required by California Civil Code section 1789.25, you must complete the application and provide all required documents. Please submit the application, along with a copy of your contract, information statement, separate notice of cancellation, and all other documents your organization requires the buyer to sign. Please send this information with a $100 filing fee made payable to the Department of Justice to:

Department of Justice
Attorney General's Office
P.O. Box 85266
San Diego, CA 92186-5266

Before a Certificate of Registration can be obtained, it will be necessary for the credit services organization to obtain a bond in the amount of $100,000, or make a deposit in lieu of the bond, and to file a copy with the Secretary of State. We will not issue the Certificate of Registration until the Secretary of State acknowledges that the bond or deposit has been properly filed. Please contact the Secretary of State to obtain the necessary forms.

Please contact the Secretary of State at the address below to obtain the form, or download a pdf copy from their web site.

Secretary of State
Special Filings Unit
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

This application will not be processed until the completed application form, all required documents, and the $100 fee have been received, and the Secretary of State has acknowledged receipt of the bond or deposit.

Any Certificate of Registration issued will expire one year from the date it is issued. It is your responsibility to renew your registration before the expiration date each year. No renewal notice or reminder will be sent.

You may obtain a copy of the application for registering your credit services organization, and read a copy of the law to learn important information on additional requirements, by clicking the links below.

Credit Scores and Credit Reports

Your credit score affects whether you can get a loan or credit card, as well as what interest rate and other terms you'll get. It can also affect whether you can rent a home, get a job, or get insurance. Your credit score is a number that is based on information from your credit report. Your credit report, is a record of whether you pay your bills on time, what debt you have, where you've lived, whether you've been sued or arrested, and other information.

For more information, visit the Credit Scores and Credit Reports page.