Every month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issues a complaint report. This monthly report rotates its product spotlight among different aspects of financial services such as student loans, consumer loans, and debt collection. The most recent release shines a spotlight on credit reporting, revealing one primary source of complaints – inaccurate information on credit reports.
From the CFPB's initial complaints in 2011 through the end of January 2017, around 132,000 credit-reporting complaints (71% of the total credit reporting complaint submissions) have been processed by the CFPB and forwarded to companies to respond to the complaints. Over that entire time period, over three-quarters (76%) of complaints involve incorrect information on credit reports.
Complaints about the credit reporting company's investigation of an issue accounted for 9% of complaints, while difficulties in obtaining a credit report or credit score accounted for another 7%. Surprisingly, credit monitoring or identity protection complaints tied for last with improper use of a credit report, at 4% each.
No one reporting agency is to blame for credit reporting complaints; the three major credit-reporting agencies post similar numbers. Equifax tops the list with 41,959 total complaints, Experian follows with 39,796, and TransUnion had the best mark with only 34,146 complaints.
Many of the complaints about incorrect information cover basics such as names and addresses. The CFPB report notes that "a significant minority" of these complaints appear to come from information blended with another consumer's information — such as people with the same or similar name or family members that share the same address.
What should you take away from the CFPB report? Check your credit report regularly, and correct errors when you find them. "You can go through them, check if there are any mistakes and then you can resolve them mostly all online," advises April Lewis-Parks, Director of Education and Public Relations at Consolidated Credit. "There's really no reason if somebody has a bad credit score, they are not really sure why, there's no barrier for them to get the information and then to try to fix it."
Prior to a mortgage loan or other major purchase, you may want to order a report from all three major agencies just to make sure that one report does not contain a fatal reporting error. Credit Manager can also provide you with your three credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax within minutes.
Should you find inaccurate information on your report, don't panic. Take a deep breath and hope for a simple resolution, but prepare for a prolonged battle just in case. According to Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst at CreditCards.com, "The best way to resolve negative items on your credit report is to just be persistent and to never take 'No' for an answer." If you find errors in your report, Credit Manager by MoneyTips has Action Buttons available that can easily alert many creditors and the credit bureau.
If you're not a Credit Manager member, start by submitting your concerns in writing to the credit reporting company (and the provider of the incorrect information if you know it). Keep copies of all documents that you send. The credit reporting company must address your items, typically within thirty days (assuming a non-frivolous claim). If you feel the results are still inadequate, you may ask that the dispute be noted in your file and in future credit reports, and then you should re-direct your complaint toward the CFPB.
More detailed advice is available on the Federal Trade Commission website. We hope that you will never have to complain to the CPFB about inaccurate credit information, but if you do, realize that you have plenty of company and available guidance to help you with your dispute.
This article was provided by our partners at moneytips.com.
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