In the politics of every administration, whether it is Democrats or Republicans, there have been minor efforts to both curb the power of these giants of credit as well as have them clean up the way they do business. Powerful in that they have complete control over a person’s credit record; they can and do wreck it for many, often by mistake. Clean up their act as in making errors; as late as 2011, 80 percent of credit reports had them.
The giants of credit reporting are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, and they wield their power in a relentless way because so far, the feds haven’t figured out a way to control them. Like J. Edgar Hoover, as FBI Director in the late 60s and early 70s, had dossiers on presidents and members of Congress; the big 3 credit bureaus know they have the capability to help or ruin a person’s credit, often their life, and at times are very callous about it. And that’s the problem.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has said it plans to “oversee” about 30 credit reporting firms; each of the big 3 supplies data to smaller companies spread out through the U.S and some of them even collect their own. The public “should not be burdened by unreasonably laborious processes to get errors removed from their files,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said, according to the Wall Street Journal in an article by Alan Zibel.
From Zibel’s article: “A key problem for the industry is that federal law doesn’t specify exactly what steps credit-reporting firms must take to investigate consumer complaints on reporting errors, and that’s led to a flood of lawsuits,” said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com, a credit-monitoring site. “It’s my opinion versus yours,” he said. My take on this is that it is an unforgivable breach in consumer protection.
Watch this video re. lawsuit against TransUnion:
During the 35 years I spent in the junk mail industry, the biggest hawkers of your names and personal data were the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Everything from your age to your income, how much you paid for your house, how much you owe, how many children you have and their ages, your education level, where you work, if you smoke drink or gamble, what ailments you have, and the list goes on and on. It’s all there for immediate use.
|You would think, after selling all this personal information—It amounts to over $4 billion annually—that the credit bureaus would at least take better care of your personal data and be more courteous with corrections when you ask for them. Not so on both counts. 80% of credit reports still with errors. And a blog I posted back in August of 2006 on this very issue still gets comments today complaining about credit bureau treatment, particularly aimed at Experian.
That post dealt with a problem I had with Experian, after writing unflattering articles about the company. Just days after this my credit history was taken down and I, nor the creditors, had access to it for over two months. At the time I was paying Experian $90.00 a year for this service. It finally reappeared with no explanation, and during that two-month period I was given every excuse in the book by a very incompetent series of customer service reps and managers.
Here are some of the comments from the above blog post:
I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH SOMEONE AT EXPERIAN (FOR THREE DAYS) ABOUT BEING TURNED DOWN BY CAPITAL ONE TO OPEN A 2ND ACCOUNT. THE FIRST ONE (I’VE HAD FOR 4 YEARS) HAS A $22 BALANCE WITH A CREDIT LIMIT OF 14,000. CAPITAL ONE SAYS GET IN TOUCH WITH EXPERIAN.
I WENT ON LINE AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY CREDIT MY SCORE IS IN HIGH 700’S I AM 65 AND HAVE GREAT CREDIT.
WHAT IS GOING ON
There is a reason that Experian has such a crappy reputation – they are incompetent.
I recently disputed several items on my credit report via their online dispute process.
One item, they updated – by adding that I needed to contact the creditor (A paid off account that I have documentation of that status).
Another account – which was not mine, nor was I ever a party to… is listed and they just responded that it remains on my report (no explanation).
Yet a couple of others -they updated dates on the accounts – to incorrect dates.
And if you try again to dispute these accounts, their system will not allow it – you must mail in documentation (what documentation do I need to send in for an account that was never mine in the first place?).
A year later, and Experian is just as incompetent. My husband’s social security number is incorrect on his credit report, which means we can’t get a credit report, and you can’t dispute what’s on your credit report until you get the credit report. Figure that one out. Experian makes it extra-specially impossible, as they send you to a local affiliate who tells you to contact Experian directly, who sends you to the affiliate saying they don’t handle yours, but the affiliate won’t handle it either.
My husband wants to be part of this country, yet he can’t even get a CASH SECURED credit card because of this problem that can’t be fixed. The slap on the face is that these companies have no responsibility for verifying even the basic information they have on you. THEY transposed the numbers and WE have to pay for it?
It’s been 2 years since this site started. It’s now May 2008 and nothing’s changed. Experian put a woman’s name that sounded similar to mine on my report and listed that as my alias. They also put her delinquent acct. on it. I have my credit report but can’t dispute it on line because I can’t answer 4 questions to Experian’s liking (most likely because Experian has wrong data)I get nowhere with the voicemail on their phone system. Why won’t they take a letter and where can I send it?
Im About to Apply For A Job There!! Get My Information Corrected!! And Then Quit!!
I am legally blind and Experian has refused to provide me with a copy of my free annual report since 2009 after I relocated to Colorado.
The FTC refuses to intervene and this organization refuses to force Experian to follow the law.
Consumers need to petiton Congress to force action. Credit Scoring needs to be banned as this is an indiscreet Caste System that is illegal in the USA.
Experian continues as do other CRA’s who are not government agencies and intentionally for a profit violate every State Constitution and the United States constition when they sell your personal information for profit.
Step up and take action where 240 million plus in the United States can make a difference through class action litigation. I am willing are you?
Now this is only seven of 72 comments; the first four starting in 2006, the last three just recently. You can read all 72 here.
Alan Zibel’s article is yet another welcome wake up call to correct a major abuse of consumers across the U.S. It has been going on, and it will continue to go on in the future if the feds don’t crack down on the big 3 credit reporting companies. If the GOP wins in November, there is no hope of correcting this situation. If the Dems come back in force—the White House and Congress—they should place this dilemma on the list of priorities.