Credit Report

Credit Agencies To Ease Up On Medical Debt Reporting

Credit Agencies To Ease Up On Medical Debt Reporting

NPR - Millions of Americans have medical debt that's hurting their credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated it's as many as 43 million people, according to data released in late 2014.

Now, some relief may be on the way.

Changes in the way credit agencies report and evaluate medical debt are in the works. They should reduce some of the painful financial consequences of having a health care problem.

Starting Sept. 15, the three major credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — will set a 180-day waiting period before including medical debt on a consumer's credit report. The six-month period is intended to ensure there's enough time to resolve disputes with insurers and delays in payment.

What to do if Your Credit Dispute is Denied

What to do if Your Credit Dispute is Denied

Your legal rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

According to the FCRA, the credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian & Trans Union (also referred to as CRAs) must investigate your dispute. Upon receipt of your dispute, the CRAs have 30 days to complete their investigation and provide you with their findings. The law requires their findings to be accompanied by a free credit report. If their investigation led to the denial of your credit dispute, now is the time to seek legal counsel to enforce your legal rights.

Prior to obtaining legal representation, ensure you have followed the dispute process accordingly. (See step-by-step instructions on Disupting Credit Report Errors here). 

How to Dispute Errors on a Credit Report

Step 1: Obtain your free credit reports
Obtaining your credit report is the first step in disputing any inaccurate or wrong information which may appear on it. Federal law requires the three national credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, to provide you with a free credit report every year. Most likely, each of these credit reporting agencies has a credit file on you. Get all three of your credit reports. 

$18. 6 Million Verdict Against Equifax for Not Fixing a Mixed Credit Report

Equifax Slammed with $18.6 Million Jury Verdict for Violations of the FCRA

A federal jury recently awarded Julie Miller of Oregon with $18.6 Million.

In 2009, Julie Miller applied for credit and was denied. The denial was a result of credit information belonging to a different Julie Miller being mixed with the credit report of the applicant. The inaccuracies consisted of:

  • Wrong Social Security Number
  • Wrong birth date
  • Accounts that were not hers; and
  • Erroneous collection accounts.

The mixed credit report resulted in a lost opportunity to obtain credit.

Out-of-Date Entries on Your Credit Report

Negative information such as: delinquencies, bankruptcies, charge-offs, loan defaults, foreclosures, lawsuits and judgments, and tax liens are barred from forever appearing on your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit reporting agencies to remove most negative information from your credit reporting after the credit reporting time limit has expired. Reporting old, out-of-date information is against federal law.

According to the FCRA, credit reporting agencies cannot report negative information for an undetermined amount of time. In fact, negative information can only be reported for a specific amount of time.

CFPB Releases Results of Study of Differences Between Consumer and Creditor Purchased Credit Scores

What should you do if you learn that your credit report has errors? You can either contact us about how to proceed or send a dispute to the consumer reporting agency (CRA) on your own. There are several ways to initiate the dispute process with the CRAs, including using the dispute form which you may have received when you ordered your credit report; using the CRAs online dispute form; sending a dispute letter by mail (certified mail is recommended but not required); or by telephone. Whichever method you choose, you should remember to keep an accurate record of your dispute, including a copy of your dispute form or letter. If you use the online dispute form, you should take a screen shot of your dispute before sending it. 

Class Action Suit Against Experian & CSC

Indiana Consumer Files Class Action Suit Against Experian and CSC | Challenging the Accuracy of Bankruptcy Credit Reporting 

Today, Cento Law, along with Eric Pavlack, filed a class action lawsuit against two consumer reporting agencies, Experian Information Services, Inc. and CSC Credit Services alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges the consumer reporting agencies inaccurately reported her bankruptcy on her credit report as dismissed when it was in fact withdrawn and failed to report that her bankruptcy was withdrawn before any bankruptcy plan was approved.  Earlier this year, Plaintiff filed a similar lawsuit against Trans Union, LLC.

If you have any questions regarding this lawsuit, then please feel free to contact us.

How to Dispute a Credit Report

How to Dispute Credit Report
How to Dispute Credit Report

Obtaining your credit report is the first step in disputing any inaccurate or wrong information which may appear on it. Federal law requires the three national credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, to provide you with a free credit report every year. Get your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com; which is the official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report. Inaccuracies on your credit report may negatively affect you. If you find wrong information on your credit report start here:

Contact the credit reporting company in question. The disputing procedure can be initiated online.

  • To dispute a credit report from Experian,click here.
  • To dispute a credit report from Trans Union, click here.
  • To dispute a credit report from Equifax, click here.

Credit reporting companies must investigate disputes made by consumers. Thirty (30) days after the dispute is initiated, credit reporting companies are required to provide consumers with the results. The results should be accompanied by a free credit report. If the disputed information has not been corrected following the credit reporting companies dispute procedures, consider seeking legal action.

You May Have More Than One Credit File

At any given time, the national consumer reporting agencies maintain hundreds of millions of consumer "credit files" in their databases. According to some estimates these files relate to approximately 250 million credit active consumers across the United States. This means that many consumers have more than one file in a consumer reporting agency's system. Having more than one file on any one consumer serves as a catalyst to incomplete and inaccurate data being relied upon in the creation of a consumer report (commonly known as a “credit report”).

Numerous credit files may exists on a single consumer for the following reasons:

  • Consumer reporting agencies may not have enough information to say with the highest degree of certainty that each of the credit files should "merge."
  • The various creditors' records do not always identify an individual consumer in the same way.
  • Consumers may use two or more names in their credit activities (such as nick names, maiden and married names, names with and without generational suffixes).
  • Consumers may have two or more addresses (such as home/school, work/home or vacation or second homes).
  • Creditor's records may misspell or invert letters in names, street addresses, or social security numbers.

Know Your Credit History | Protect Your Rights

Credit Report
Credit Report

Consumer reporting agencies, also known as “credit reporting agencies” or “credit bureaus,” serve a critical role in a consumer’s financial life. After collecting financial and personal data on individuals; the credit reporting agencies are able to generate the aggregated results into a consumer report, commonly known as a “credit report.” In most lending, credit reports, and the credit scores which are derived from them, form the basis of lending decisions. Many employers also use credit reports and other investigative reports to make hiring decisions. From the ability to pay back a loan to establishing one’s worthiness for a job, the information contained in a credit report can cause substantial injury to a consumer when that information turns out to be inaccurate.

Federal laws, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act, were passed by Congress to require credit reporting agencies to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information” contained in credit reports, and to protect consumers when inaccuracies cause such injury. However, the burden is still heavily on the consumer when resolving such issues because those federal laws require consumers to know what is on their credit reports and to take action when inaccuracies are discovered. For this reason, it is critical that consumers take advantage of the federal law which requires the agencies, which are Equifax (including credit files owned by CSC Credit Services), Experian, and Trans Union, to provide them with one free credit report each year.  To obtain your free annual report go to the only official site: www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

Consumer Reporting Agencies Subject to Increased Federal Supervision

Earlier this week, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), Richard Cordray, spoke at a field hearing were he discussed the CFPB’s new authority to supervise consumer reporting agencies. Starting this September, the CFPB will have the authority to supervise 94% of the credit reporting industry. Until now, consumer reporting agencies (commonly referred to as “credit reporting agencies” or “credit bureaus”), the largest of which are Equifax (including credit files owned by CSC Credit Services), Experian, and Trans Union, have never been subject to like supervision. From conducting on-site examinations to seeking better comprehension of policies and procedures, the CFPB’s supervisory authority will seek to ensure that the consumer financial laws are being followed.

The creation of the consumer bureau, the CFPB, was done so in response to the recent financial crisis experienced by the United States.

Supreme Court Ruling Prompts the FTC, the Department of Justice, and the CFPB to Intervene

In May 2012, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intervened and filed a memorandum in support of the constitutionality of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The issue arose in Shamara King v. General Information Services, Inc. when the defendant, General Information Services (GIS), moved to dismiss the case; claiming that the FCRA was unconstitutional based upon the recent Supreme Court ruling in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., 131 S. Ct. 2653 (2011). As the dissent in Sorrell noted, the ruling would potentially open a Pandora’s Box of First Amendment challenges pertaining to the disclosure of public information. The issue of disclosing public information is the very issue at the heart of a class action lawsuit which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the credit reporting agency, GIS. 

How Long Will a Withdrawn or Dismissed Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

A bankruptcy can end in a number of ways prior to discharge; for example, a bankruptcy can be subsequently withdrawn at the request of the debtor or dismissed by the court for a variety of reasons. There are several reasons a debtor may file bankruptcy just as there are several reasons why a debtor may decide to seek withdrawal of that bankruptcy.  Because bankruptcy filings are public record those filings will eventually be picked up by the third party public information vendors which consumer reporting agencies use to collect public record information or directly by the consumer reporting agencies through the electronic PACER court reporting service.

Federal law requires that consumer reporting agencies that choose to report a bankruptcy must also report the type of bankruptcy filed (e.g. Chapter 7, Chapter 13, etc.) and, in the case of a withdrawn bankruptcy, that the bankruptcy has been withdrawn.  The current practice of the consumer reporting agencies is to report a bankruptcy, including a withdrawn or dismissed bankruptcy, on a debtor’s credit report for up to 10 years.

How does Trans Union process consumer disputes?

In general, when Trans Union receives a dispute from a consumer, Trans Union investigates the dispute using one of two systems developed for the purpose of processing and tracking disputes, the Consumer Dispute Verification process (“CDV”) and the Automated Consumer Dispute Verification process (“ACDV”).  Through the ACDV process, Trans Union contacts the furnisher of the disputed credit information and, via an automated process, asks the furnisher to verify that the indicative (e.g., name, social security number, address, date of birth, etc.) information on the consumer matches the indicative information maintained in the furnisher’s records and is associated with the particular account being disputed.  Trans Union also asks the furnisher to verify the accuracy of the account information, e.g. account balance, payment history, credit limit, etc., being reported to Trans Union by the furnisher.

If the furnisher verifies that the reported information is correct, Trans Union updates the information on the consumer's credit file and notifies the consumer of that fact. If the furnisher reports that the information is inaccurate or can no longer be verified, or if the creditor does not respond within the required time, Trans Union deletes the information from the consumer's credit file and notifies the consumer that the information has been deleted.  Trans Union may employ additional procedures depending on the precise dispute involved and the circumstances of the case.

Indiana Residents - Your Equifax Credit File Is Actually Owned By CSC

Most people know there are three national consumer reporting agencies - Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. However, if you are a resident of Indiana, then your "Equifax" credit report is actually a report compiled from a credit file owned by a company called CSC Credit Services.  CSC owns, manages and controls the file and all information within that file but stores the file on Equifax's database and reports the file through the Equifax reporting system.  If you discover inaccuracies on a credit report prepared by Equifax and you reside in Indiana, you should dispute those inaccuracies directly with CSC which you can do by clicking the following link: CSC Credit Report Disputes.  Note, CSC owns credit files for residents in fifteen (15) mid-western and central states.