CHICAGO (CBS) — A South Side couple said they paid thousands for credit repair, but the Chicago financial expert they hired didn’t fix anything.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas warns: you don’t need to cough up cash to help your credit.

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“He told me he would charge me $1,000 for me, and $1,000 for my husband” said Paula Harris, who sent $2,000 via CashApp to a financial planner who works on the South Side.

Last summer, he even texted her, “your credit is good and you ready to roll.”

But Harris said when checked her credit score, and it hadn’t changed.

Does she think she’ll ever get her money back?

“I pray I do. I’m  hopeful for it,” Harris said.

She was also hopeful on February 23, when after months of asking, the man agreed to refund her within 30 days, but 30 days came and went and all Harris got was more stress.

She’s a nurse who’s treated several COVID patients over the past year, and now she’s helping with vaccines.

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“You want something to go right, you want something to be going in your favor. It’s a lot of stress. It’s depression. It’s darkness. Where’s the glimmer of hope at?” Paula Harris said.

Harris said she trusted the financial planner, because a friend recommended them.

But experts with WalletHub say you should never pay someone to fix your credit.

“There is no quick fix for credit repair. It’s kind of the same as a diet pill. You actually have to have a diet, and kind of do the work to see results. The same goes for your credit,” said WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez.

There are a few things you can do on your own.

You can request your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to make sure there aren’t any errors or discrepancies. If there are, you can dispute them with the agency.

It’s also important to stay up on your bills as much as possible to keep your score from sinking deeper.

“We saw a lot of credit repair companies target people during and after the Great Recession. We’re seeing the same thing during in this now time of maybe post-pandemic,” Gonzalez said.

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As for that financial planner, he said this is all a big misunderstanding and he plans to make it right. CBS 2 has decided to not name him, but we will be following up.

Tim McNicholas