With everything we all must worry about these days, it’s easy to avoid thinking about what is on your credit report. You may even wonder if you need to worry about it even if you aren’t in the market to borrow money for a car or a home. The answer is yes, you do. Aside from preventing you from obtaining a loan for a big-ticket item, credit report errors can cost you a job or cause you to pay higher interest rates.
What Credit Reporting Agencies (Should) Do
The big three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are supposed to have systems in place to make sure that only accurate information is included in your credit file. Many times, however, that is more like an aspiration than actual practice.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives many complaints regarding credit report errors. These errors are much more commonplace than one might think. In addition to errors, sometimes information is found in your credit file due to fraud or intentional misconduct. These items need to be addressed promptly.
Tackling Credit Report Errors
The best thing is to keep an eye on your credit reports. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free report per year. But, be careful about how you go about getting these reports.
My advice is to avoid the online credit monitoring services. Instead, get a separate paper report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get a form to use. Then, carefully review each report for fraudulent or incorrect information. Properly dispute any incorrect information and keep good records of your efforts. Better yet, get advice from a competent and reputable consumer protection attorney about the proper way to dispute items on your credit report. If you do properly dispute items on your credit report and you don’t have any success in getting the errors removed, you may have the right to sue for a substantial amount of damages. Again, this would require representation by a competent consumer protection attorney.
The problem of credit report errors has not escaped the attention of the federal government. U. S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., recently indicated that if credit reporting agencies don’t act to protect consumers, stricter laws may be passed to force them to do so.
Remember that credit report errors are widespread. Anyone any time may be the victim of this phenomenon. So, check your credit at least once per year and get errors removed from your credit reports. If you need assistance, the attorneys at Bond & Botes are more than experienced in this area. You won’t regret contacting us at one of our many locations, and your reports will be in good shape when you finally decide to buy that new vehicle you’ve been looking at so closely.
Ed Woods is the Managing Attorney of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Mississippi. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. Ed puts his extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law to use defending consumers from debt collection lawsuits and more. Read his full bio here.