40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit reports. 10% will get it fixed.
A new study issued the week of February 11, 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports. Of those that found the error, most changes had negligible results. Approximately one in 20 had a maximum score change of more than 25 points and one in 250 had a maximum score change of more than 100 points.
The FTC report can be accessed here.
The CBS News magazine 60 Minutes did a story on topic, paralleling the report. Despite the flaws in the system, there is very little oversight of the industry. If there is an error, and a consumer disputes, the penalties for failing to correct the errors are not often enforced. Sylvia Goldsmith, a lawyer who sues credit agencies, “We can get a jury verdict for $1 million. That’s chump change to some of these bureaus. They would rather pay a verdict of $1 million than to actually go in and change the policies and procedures that they have, because that’s much more expensive to them.”
The 60 Minutes video segment can be accessed here.
So what is a consumer to do?
Start with www.annualcreditport.com. Under federal law, a consumer can obtain a copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year for free. They should look it over for errors or companies they don’t recognize. If they see an error, they should start the dispute process, preferably in writing.
If you believe that your credit report contains inaccurate information or would like someone to help you look it over, schedule an appointment now to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys for free. We are happy to help, and don’t take money from your pocket to help you get your credit report straight.