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Is There An Error On Your Credit Report?

Credit reports are full of … well, we’ll be charitable and just say mistakes.

In fact, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that about a quarter of all credit reports contain serious errors that could lead to someone being denied credit.

If you found an error and complained, you used to be at the mercy of the credit reporting company to fix the mistake.

Now you have another option.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now accepts consumer complaints about credit bureaus, offering for the first time an individualized federal response to credit mistakes.

According to the CFPB, errors in your credit report can be “catastrophic.”

Scott Pluta, assistant director for the Office of Consumer Response at the bureau:

“Credit reports affect whether or not you are able to get a credit card, a home loan, an auto loan or a student loan, the ability to rent an apartment or get hired, and even tasks as simple as getting a cell phone or electricity for your home. It also can affect how affordable or expensive those things are for you.”

If you believe there is incorrect information in your credit report or you have an issue with an investigation, the CFPB says you should first go directly to the reporting company.

There are important consumer rights guaranteed by federal law that may be best preserved by first going through the credit reporting company’s complaint process, the CFPB says.

If you’re dissatisfied with that result, or if the company doesn’t respond to your complaint, you should then file a complaint with the CFPB.

The types of complaints the CFPB can help you with include:

  • Incorrect information on a credit report.
  • A consumer reporting agency’s investigation.
  • Improper use of a credit report.
  • Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file.
  • Problems with credit monitoring or identify protection services.

Once you file a complaint, you will be given a tracking number you can then use to check on its status by logging on to the CFPB website.

Each complaint the CFPB receives will be processed individually and sent to the credit reporting company for a response. The CFPB expects those companies to respond within 15 days, including the steps they have taken or plan to take.

Consumers will have the option to dispute the company’s response to the complaint.

The CFPB has the authority to supervise 30 or so credit reporting companies, including the Big Three national players: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The 30 companies account for about 94% of the market.

To file a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB, consumers can:

  • File online at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint.
  • Call the CFPB toll-free at 1-855-411-2372.
  • Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

The CFPB also announced that it will start supervising consumer debt collectors for the first time beginning in January 2013. It’s likely that it will start taking consumer complaints shortly after that.

Debt collectors often report consumers’ collection status to the credit bureaus. If they get the information wrong, this can be the difference between getting approved or denied a loan, the CFPB says.

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  1. TustinTim said:
    on October 26th at 11:10 am

    Good to know, thanks for the info!