If you’re an adult in America you no doubt know what a credit score is and more than likely know what your credit score is. You also are probably under the assumption that, whatever your score, it’s accurate. If you are, then you’re among 20% of the American population that would be wrong.
The fact is, a recent study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that over 20% of Americans have some kind of error on their credit report and 5% of those people had errors that probably were affecting their scores negatively. Making matters worse is that the integrity of the ‘Big 3’ credit agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, was the recent focus of an expose by the venerable TV program 60 Minutes. Their report suggested that all 3 credit reporting agencies lacked integrity and that they had conspired to make it difficult for people who have errors to get them fixed.
To be completely fair the same FTC report, which was mandated by Congress, also showed that nearly 20% of the people who had filed a report for false information had that information removed and over 80% of the people who filed disputes had seen some type of change to their report.
Indeed the people who usually have the most difficulty with the Big 3 are also the people who have the biggest financial problems to clear up. Some are the fault of the credit agencies to be sure but many are due to negligence, mistakes and poor financial choices on the part of the consumer who is having the difficulties. In short, they caused their own mess and are having trouble cleaning it up.
Of course everyone makes mistakes and deserves a 2nd chance. The consumers who do make an effort to make things right can sometimes be faced with a daunting task, and that’s something that needs to be addressed. Having to fight for years to get problems cleared up, especially if your finances are under control, can be very frustrating and unfair.
If you do find an error on your Credit Report the steps below can help you to get them straightened up. Be patient and be courteous throughout the process for the best likelihood of success.
- Order a credit report from all 3 of the Big 3. They don’t share info so 1 being mistake free doesn’t mean all are mistake free.
- If you have an error dispute it with a letter that you send to the appropriate agency with Certified USPS mail.
- Keep records of everything and make duplicate copies.
- In any correspondence with any credit agency send all mail Certified USPS.
- Review your Credit Reports at least once a year.