See what people are saying about Give Me Back My Credit!

Book Overview

Back Cover Blurbs

"Denise Richardson's story has important lessons for all Americans. It's the story of a consumer who faced hardships created by credit bureau errors, mortgage servicing errors, abusive debt collectors and identity thieves. She learned, fought back and won. Now she's a consumer champion with a book that's a first-person story and a consumer handbook in one, with lessons for everyone who wants to win against corporate and financial predators. Buy it and then fight back yourself!"

Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director
U.S. Public Interest Research Group

"Give Me Back My Credit is a book that every American consumer must read.  Denise exposes the truth about how our nation's credit system really works  and how our consumer protection rights have slowly, but intentionally been  wiped away by corporate greed and government acceptance. In a clear and  simple voice, Denise teaches everyone how they can try to protect their  rights and how we must collectively fight back to get back our rights and  our credit!"

Ira Rheingold, Executive Director and General Counsel
National Association of Consumer Advocates

Denise Richardson is a living answer to the question of what can happen to  an American when the systems that keep track of who owes what to whom  completely break down. Like most of the countless consumers harmed each year by errors that corporations can't or won't fix, Denise suffered enormous  personal and financial harm when computer systems began to misreport her  data. Unlike most other people, however, Denise set out to understand  exactly how and why such mistakes occur, and then took on the system. Her  story of personal courage and resilience is not only inspiring, but the  hard-learned lessons she clearly articulates in this book can help many  other consumers protect themselves from widespread mistakes that are all too  often afflicted by America's credit reporting system."

F. Paul Bland, Jr., Staff Attorney
Public Justice (

A Few
Book Reviews

Consumer Book Reads Like a Raymond Chandler Mystery

Anyone who has read Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep knows that the book's protagonist, Philip Marlowe, is an honest detective in a corrupt world. He's meticulous about detail, and always catches the culprit in the end. I have never reviewed a book on this blog, but when I read Give Me Back My Credit by Denise Richardson, it almost felt like I was back in Chandler's Los Angeles. Denise's narrative of her fight against mortgage companies and credit bureaus is both admirable and gut-wrenching, and it reads like a good mystery.

Innocent Consumer in a Corrupt Credit World
Like Marlowe, Denise wakes up in familiar surroundings one day to embark on a contradiction that will lead her through years of mental anguish against an establishment she thought was her friend. It will take fifteen years, but, akin to the Private Detective's style, Denise will prevail in the end. And, folks, that's what it takes in today's fight to protect your sensitive data, particularly with the credit industry.

Once Upon a Time...Our Credit Was Sacred
This is the story of a bank, a collection company, and three credit bureaus. There are minor characters, but this group of five represents the battle that ensues over mortgage payments that aren't applied correctly, promised follow-up that mysteriously vanishes, resulting in a prevailing arrogance and hostility against a customer who was right from the beginning. The culprit, all along, was the fact that the mortgage company used a coupon book, and provided no monthly statement of account.

Let the Nightmare Begin
In the book, Denise explains in great detail how she carefully documents payments for the bank that somehow aren't already obvious. In this and future stages of the dispute, she will hear the phrase, "I'm sending it to research," which many of you reading this will probably recognize. With repeated promises of fixing the problem, it takes forever to happen, and even when it does, there is a reversal later to the original dilemma. A collection agency enters the picture, even after Denise has her mortgage paid off, to collect a debt that doesn't exist. Once it is reported to the three credit bureaus, she must then fight them for years to correct her credit report.

Why You Need to Read Give Me Back My Credit
Aside from a great mystery and excellent insight into the incompetence of those holding our private information in the mortgage and credit reporting industry, there are some great tips on how you can avoid the disasters that befall Denise Richardson. Buy the book, you won't be able to put it down.
Jack Dunning, The Dunning Letter

A valuable new consumer book
There are not that many books available to a mass audience that explain what rights American consumers have when they encounter abusive or exploitative business practices. There have been a few exceptions, and my favorite two were written by America's leading experts in their field: Evan Hendrick's Credit Scores and Credit Reports, and Remar Sutton's guide to car buying, Don't Get Taken Every Time. But with these very notable exceptions, I have encountered surprisingly few readable books that would help most consumers understand a great deal about their legal rights and how to protect themselves against scams and corporate abuses.

There is a welcome new addition to the field, though, and it comes from a woman who learned much of what she has to tell from her own experiences as the victim of corporate abuse. Denise Richardson, a consumer who has become a prominent on-line consumer journalist and activist, has just published her first book: Give Me Back My Credit, and it's a book that should be read by consumers, lawyers and policymakers alike.

A large part of Give Me Back My Credit consists of Ms. Richardson's powerful telling of her own story, which started with a bank making arithmetic errors with her mortgage payments, and ended years later (after many more errors) with her credit record being all but destroyed. Ms. Richardson describes a series of mistakes that had ever widening ripples in her personal and financial life, and her lively and personal writing style makes it a book to which most Americans can relate. It's easy to feel great empathy for this woman, as one reads about how her world was shaken and damaged by careless errors of big corporations.

Even more irritatingly, as she tells her story it becomes clear that the damage to her life was compounded by the corporation's stubborn refusal to acknowledge their errors and the efforts of their lawyers to deny and cover up the mistakes (and, of course, to try to blame her for them). Ms. Richardson traces how she fought back against these abuses, refusing to knuckle under to the various financial, personal and legal pressures that were brought to bear on her.

Give Me Back My Credit is a great deal more than just the story of one person's experience, though. The book also contains a series of straightforward and very readable explanations for consumers of various laws that protect them. In a series of simply explained but careful inserts, Ms. Richardson walks consumers through the steps they can and should take to protect themselves if they are victimized by similar mistakes by lenders. The book provides contact information for a number of websites and a number of organizations that are devoted to helping protect consumers from various abuses, and should be a useful resource to many consumers who run into similar problems. She advises consumers about how to keep track of and document what happens to them, and presents stark statistics setting forth just how many consumers run afoul of corporate errors that can seriously damage their finances. She also decodes a lot of the legal jargon that consumers may encounter when they're forced to go to court to protect their rights, explaining in understandable language a lot of the concepts that could trip up unwary consumers.

Sometimes Americans learn more about their legal rights from the true stories of individuals who were put through the wringer than from any other source. Millions of Americans learned more about toxic torts from books such as A Civil Action or movies such as Erin Brockovich than they would ever learn from reading newspapers or watching the evening news. In the same way, Ms. Richardson has responded to the monkey wrench that some lenders and credit reporting agencies through into her life by setting out to understand exactly how and why such mistakes occur, learning how to fix them, and telling her story in an accessible way. Hopefully, other consumers and consumer lawyers will benefit from her hard-learned lessons.
F. Paul Bland
Staff Attorney, Public Justice


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A memoir exposing the steep price consumers pay when facing mortgage servicing errors, inaccurate credit reporting, illegal debt collection practices, identity theft and weak consumer protection laws. THE BOOK » DENISE'S STORY »