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Are You One of 40 Million Americans With A Credit Report Error?

Are You One of 40 Million Americans With A Credit Report Error?

If you think credit report errors are few and far between, consider this statistic: an FTC study recently concluded that as many as 40 million Americans have credit reports containing errors. Half of those reports contained errors that could negatively impact their credit score.

Released in 2013, the study spanned 8 years of research. In the study, participants were encouraged to dispute errors found in their credit report. Of those who disputed errors:

  • 20% had an error corrected once it was disputed
  • 10% noticed a change in their credit score after disputing a credit error
  • 5% experienced a score change of more than 25 points
  • Only one in 250 consumers’ score was changed by more than 100 points

Clearly, credit report errors are widespread, with mistakes hurting the scores of millions of Americans.

Worst-Case Scenario for one Ohio Nurse

In an interview with the CBS News show 60 Minutes, Judy Thomas, a trauma nurse from Cleveland, Ohio, detailed a series of events that might just describe the kind of worst-case scenario that happens all too often when it comes to credit report errors.

Thomas, who spent years working hard to build good credit, was denied out of the blue for a credit card. An initial look at her credit reports showed no errors, but the denials for credit kept coming in. Finally, Thomas discovered the credit report that the 3 credit bureaus show to creditors (which is different from the one they give to consumers) contained debt and collections from a completely different person in Utah.

What should have been an easy fix turned into a years-long ordeal that finally culminated in Thomas suing the credit bureaus in federal court and receiving an undisclosed settlement on the condition that the errors be removed from her report. Before her credit errors were finally resolved, Thomas’s finances took a huge hit, as she told 60 Minutes:medium_3314689725

“I couldn’t refinance. I couldn’t take advantage of the interest rates. I couldn’t get a new– I couldn’t get a car. I couldn’t cosign for my children’s student loans. And I’d worked hard for my credit…and these people were taking it away from me.”

While Thomas’ story is unusual, it underscores a disturbing trend within the credit bureaus: an unwillingness to address legitimate complaints from the average consumer.

What Are Your Options if You Discover an Error in Your Credit Report?

While the credit reporting agencies are required by law to investigate any claims of errors, it’s obvious that many individuals may need to go further than typical DIY credit repair.

If you are having trouble getting errors removed from your credit repair (like Judy Thomas did), then you may benefit from talking with a professional credit repair company. Lexington Law has the benefit of employing expert lawyers and paralegals; call 855-620-5875 for your FREE credit consultation.

photo credit: Tony Webster via photopin cc
photo credit: walknboston via photopin cc

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