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Hold credit reporting companies accountable for incorrect reports and shoddy service

“This is an unfair system …” “This is predatory and life ruining and preventing me from purchasing a home.” “The credit reporting system is broken.”

In less than two years, we have received more than 800,000 credit or consumer reporting complaints. That averages out to more than a thousand complaints every single day.

Consumers have described the obstacles they encounter when incorrect or incomplete information persists on their reports: difficulties seeking new credit, moving into a new home, or landing a new job. When information is wrong or incomplete, consumers have the right to get that information corrected. But in their complaints to the CFPB, consumers talked about a system by which the nationwide consumer reporting agencies (NCRAs)—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—put up barriers, hampering their ability to exercise their rights.

We heard from consumers who expressed frustration that their attempts to have information corrected were ignored, seemingly tossed aside never to be heard from again. A consumer told us:

I was able to verify incorrect information on my credit report, since that moment I just started the process to get in touch with the Credit Bureaus in an attempt to get this issue corrected. The sad truth is that I never got an answer. I sent letters for at least 4 times and never got an update or any kind of correspondence. At this point I am very much frustrated to keep trying to receive an answer from the Credit Bureaus.

We heard from consumers who waste time, energy, and money to try to correct their credit. Some consumers paid bills they said they did not owe to try to make their problems go away. According to a consumer:

This case is about abusing credit systems and collecting to force consumers ' hands to pay regardless of whether or not they are truly at fault. … After going back and forth [the Company] simply turned the matter over to a collection agency, who then, in turn, reported to [NCRA] to force us to pay while we still did not get a statement of fact. We eventually paid the {$220.00} last year to make this go away, but this cost my credit score 60+ points. We filed a complaint with [NCRA] but they use their bureaucratic process to justify keeping this on my report. This entire process is stacked against us as consumers ...

We heard from consumers who described being caught between furnishers and the NCRAs. Consumers said that when furnishers and the NCRAs point fingers at one another, they are the ones left damaged. A consumer, who had a late payment reported on their report, shared:

This action has caused harm to my credit and I am unable to apply for another loan. I would like the record corrected, the delinquency removed and for your company to stop incorrectly reporting. I have reached out to the 3 bureaus and they said they only report what they are given from [Company]. My wife has spoken to [Company] twice and they are claiming they did not report this loan as delinquent. Both parties are pointing the finger and we are the damaged parties. I want this issue escalated to a second level supervisor and the department that reports out the credit file information. This has caused irreparable harm to our credit file.

Here are steps you can take to monitor and address inaccuracies on your report and help hold the NCRAs accountable:

  1. Check your report. You should check your credit reports at least once a year to make sure there are no errors that could keep you from getting credit or the best available terms on a loan. Learn more.

    TIP: You can now request your credit reports for free weekly from each of the NCRAs through April 20, 2022, by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com .
  2. Dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. If you identify an error on your credit report, you should start by disputing that information with the NCRAs. Learn more.

    TIP: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have a legal right to dispute credit history errors yourself for free. You don’t have to pay a credit repair company to do it for you. Learn more.
  3. Submit a complaint. Consumers who have a problem with credit or consumer reporting can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). We use complaints to hold companies accountable in our enforcement and compliance work.

    TIP: Submitting a complaint is free. When submitting online, we recommend telling us about your problem in your own words. If you have supporting documents, include those when submitting your complaint.
  4. Take steps if your dispute is ignored. If an NCRA doesn’t respond to your dispute or doesn’t respond adequately, you have rights. Learn more.

    TIP: Some of these rights only apply under certain circumstances. There are also time limits on exercising your rights.

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