Approximately 80% of all credit reports contain errors. Chances are excellent that yours does, too. Of these errors, 25% of them are serious enough to depress your credit score resulting in a denial of credit. The most common errors are:
- Mixed or Mismerging – John Doe from Utah has entries on his credit report that belong on John Doe from Florida. Unfortunately for the John Doe from Utah with great credit, the one from Florida has less than stellar credit. This is called mismerging. This is a frequently occurring problem on credit reports with people who have common names.
- Identity theft. This is one of the fastest growing problems in the collection industry.
- Incorrect information provided by the lender. Sometimes a bank will fail to report that it received a payment or will report a payment as received late when in fact, it was not.
- Lender failure to report a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy. By failing to report a trade line as discharged in bankruptcy, it continuously sits on one’s credit report as a delinquency. By reporting it as discharged in bankruptcy, each day that passes, post discharge, the consumer’s credit score, increases (assuming nothing else is bringing it down).
WHAT YOU MUST DO WHEN YOU DISCOVER A MISTAKE ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT.
If you find a mistake on your credit report you must dispute that item to the credit reporting agency (and not just the lender) immediately or you risk losing your right to force the credit reporting agency to remove it from your report. Quite often, the credit reporting agencies will not do anything about the false information on your report. They are big, you are not, but we level the playing field. Call or email Gary Nitzkin, to discuss your legal options.
PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT.
We recommend that you perform a self credit check at least annually. You can check your credit report on line at annualcreditreport.com. This is the industry sponsored website and you can get your credit report for free. Do not confuse it with the other website of guys dressed in pirate costumes. While their commercial is funny, they are trying to sell you something whereas annualcreditreport.com is truly and actually free.
You can file a dispute with Experian, Transunion or Equifax by going to their websites. Follow the links until you have successfully convinced them of who you are. They will then present your credit report to you online. Review each item and posit disputes to any trade line that you believe is incorrect. Once you have posited your dispute with the credit reporting agency, you have begun to enforce you rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (“FACTA”). You have no rights under these statutes until you have posited your dispute with the credit reporting agencies that are reporting the erroneous items.
Only after you have posited your dispute to the credit reporting agencies and they have responded to your dispute, can we begin to help you. The credit reporting agencies have 30 days within which to verify disputed item or they must remove it. If they have not removed it and it does not belong there, you may be able to sue the credit reporting agency and the bank for violation of your rights under the FCRA.
For more information about consumer credit report errors and what you can do about them, visit the Michigan Collection Law Blog and view the video on right.