If one in four credit reports have errors, are Credit Bureau Reforms Long Overdue?

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We've all heard of their power. In fact, we can't do much in life without their say-so. It's safe to say that few have had the opportunity to meet them face to face. Arguably, they are seldom if ever referred to in a positive manner.

Who or what is this mysterious "they"?

A megaphone in a yellow icon symbolizing hype;...

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I'm talking about the almighty credit bureaus -commonly referred to as "The Big Three."

The Big Three--Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian--don't have local offices. If you get a number, follow their rules and order their product, only then will they even speak with you. To many of us they are unseen beings that control our lives from a far-off land--a land where consumers are refused entry and denied access to these all-knowing and all-powerful, Wizard-of-Oz-like credit bureaus.

From what I can tell, the only people who have come close to meeting them are the ones who file lawsuits against them for their sloppy record keeping. But even then, consumers seldom meet the Wizards face to face, meeting only their gatekeepers: their lawyers.

The truth is our data is their data. Period.

The Big Three make it their business to buy, sell and trade our information. Right or wrong, good or bad, like it or not, they control our information and, essentially, our finances. The Big Three are the ones whose products actually determine what car we can drive, what neighborhood we can live in, how high our insurance premiums and interest rates can rise, and how low our credit scores can fall. And unlike other companies, if their product harms us, we can't refuse to do business with them.

Finding out your credit reports are contaminated with dirty data is like finding out a product you purchased is broken. Time and time again, you try to fix the problem but your many attempts to repair the product fail. Your frustration over your inability to get the product repaired leads you to your browser, where you type in at least one of The Big Three product manufacturer's name using key words like complaints, problems, or lawsuits. Suddenly, thousands of pages come into view. You find yourself reading story after story about victim after victim, all reporting similar complaints about the same malfunctioning product: a defective credit report.

You're stunned, but you recognize that you are not alone and what's worse, it appears that you're powerless to change it and stop the product from being sold to countless other consumers.

If any product (other than credit) had this many problems, surely something would be done about it. There would be warnings to the public, recalls, we would have a choice to stop purchasing the defective product and they would be need to respond to their actions - or inactions. But therein lies our biggest problem. We no longer have control over our information.

What if The Big Three had to compete for our business just as other companies do? What if we could choose which of the three we preferred to disseminate and profit from our information? Would there be better customer service, local branch offices and--most importantly--better quality products?

Maybe this broken credit reporting system should change.

Ultimately if the public were allowed to choose one single credit reporting agency to house their credit data, The Big Three would be forced to compete for our business just like every other company out there. I would bet that their customer service would greatly improve.

Competition is good for business--and consumers. Agree?

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I for one would choose TransUnion to be my credit reporting company. They are the easiest to deal with by far. Interesting take that i wish would be something our reps think about.

I agree on both points. And judging from my past experiences, along with a long history of consumer emails, many others might agree.

TU would have my business too. They all need to come done from their big perch where they think they rule the world, but the problems is they actually do. I sent this to my legislator.

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