You have a right to expect accurate credit reporting--whether or not you're a VIP

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Filing a complaint with a credit bureau can be a grueling process.  It seems to take forever for the complaint to be processed, and once the processing is complete the claim still has to be investigated.  There's no guarantee that any action will be taken to correct information that you know is wrong or to remove accounts that don't belong to you; you're at the mercy of the credit bureau from the moment you file your complaint.  Unless you happen to be one of the credit bureau's VIPs, that is.

Though credit bureaus are supposed to be impartial, many legal cases and consumer attorneys seem to say otherwise.  All three of the major credit bureaus -Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian- appear to keep something akin to a "VIP list" that allows certain individuals to bypass the standard complaint procedure and have action taken directly on their credit reports by the bureau.  As one might imagine, the VIPs for the credit bureaus include celebrities, judges, politicians, and others who have the money or power to get the attention of the bureaus. For everyone else, disputing inaccuracies in a credit report is largely a waiting game filled with frustrations and repetitive disputes.

When an average person files a complaint in hopes of correcting information on his or her credit report, the complaint is fed into a system that sends it to a subcontractor for processing.  The subcontractor, often located in a foreign country, reviews the complaint quickly and matches it with a three-digit code that indicates the general problem contained within the complaint.  Once the complaint has been coded it is then sent to the creditor who originated the information that the consumer disputes, for verification. There is no additional oversight to ensure that the claims are coded correctly despite the fact that incorrect coding can result in your complaint being dismissed as frivolous or false.  In many cases, consumers often find themselves with no option left but to file a legal action against the credit bureau(s) and creditor for the losses faced over their refusal to stop the reckless handling of their credit file.    

For those on the VIP list, however, this is rarely an issue.  Instead of being placed in the system where an average of two minutes will be spent on the entire review and coding process, VIP claims receive a thorough review in-house to ensure complete satisfaction and accuracy. 

If this doesn't sound fair, it isn't.

It's actually a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal law responsible for setting the legal guidelines by which credit bureaus operate.

According to the FCRA, credit bureaus are supposed to follow "reasonable procedures" that ensure maximum accuracy in all consumer credit reports; there is no mention in the FCRA that allows for the wealthy and powerful to have a higher degree of accuracy than those who have less. 

So why do credit bureaus continue to operate in the manner that they do?  Consumer attorneys believe there is no financial incentive for the credit bureaus to change.

Credit bureaus are businesses, but their customers aren't the consumers. The customers  that credit bureaus serve are the very creditors that consumers file complaints against. For the most part it appears that unless you are a VIP, they simply don't care.  That means you have to.

Here are some links to help you protect your rights to fair and accurate credit reporting: 

Fair Credit Reporting Act  and answers to common questions

Do you know what lies within your credit report?

How to dispute credit report errors

Blogs on Credit Reporting Issues

How to find an experienced FCRA attorney in your area:
Visit the National Association of  Consumer Advocates and click on "Find an attorney". Once there you can check the box next to "credit reports" and insert your state on the right hand side of the page.

See the NY Times report: Credit Error? It Pays to Be on V.I.P. List.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

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 »