A recent story by the New York Times about flawed credit reports did a great job of summing up the trouble and grief that credit reporting agencies give consumers. As a Missouri consumer advocate attorney, I pride myself on staying even keeled and fair for the benefit of my clients. But I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to read about one credit agency after another overlooking the rights of consumers month after month and year after year. These agencies don’t show any interest in improving their methods and processes in order to reduce or eliminate these problems. In their minds, they can just pay the claims and penalties, which frequently run up to the millions of dollars per year. That cost is far lower than actually making sure that all of their credit reporting is accurate. As a result, thousands of consumers are harmed when their credit reports contain false and inaccurate information in them. False information on a credit report can make it difficult for a consumer to get the mortgage, car loan or line of credit that he or she needs, and oftentimes results in much higher interest rates for consumers who can least afford to pay them. Thankfully, there are actions that you can take to protect your rights.
Credit Reporting Companies Don’t Care About Your Rights
It’s sad but true. I’ve seen countless examples of incorrect credit reports over the years. One recent example is a woman named Patricia Armour, from Olive Branch, Mississippi. She spent a total of two whole years just trying to get faulty credit info off of her credit report with Experian. After dozens of back and forth communications(miscommunication is more like it…), she was forced to call Mississippi’s attorney general to look into her case. Then and only then did Experian take responsibility and change her report to make it accurate.
How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Your Rights
Cases such as Patricia Armour’s are common, and that is not just. Thankfully, federal legislation exists that should protect consumers in the event that their credit reports have false or inaccurate information. The law states that credit reporting agencies must have procedures in place which ensure “maximum possible accuracy” of these reports. Yet the Federal Trade Commission reports that 5 percent of consumers have at least one error on their credit reports. That is more than 10 million people! As a result, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been regularly suing the credit reporting agencies in an effort to get them to improve the methods and processes they use in order to produce reports which are more accurate.
The problem is that the credit reporting agencies would rather just pay the penalties than change their procedures. Since 2000, FTC lawsuits against these credit reporting agencies have resulted in $25.7 million in penalties. Nonetheless, the credit reporting agencies look at these lawsuits as a cost of doing business, and will pay the fee rather than improve their processes.
How To Protect Yourself When Your Credit Report Is Faulty
I have handled dozens of cases where a client has a faulty credit report that makes it more difficult for that client to get a loan and move up in life. I am also well versed in understanding of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you have a problem with a credit report and the credit reporting agencies are refusing to fix it, you should contact an attorney with the experience in consumer advocacy. My experience tells me that the credit agencies are likely to ignore you until you file a lawsuit against them.
If you have been wronged by virtue of an inaccurate credit report, then contact me, Bob Healey of Healey Law, LLC at (314) 401-3261 or at [email protected]