Check Credit Score
Q: Recently I requested and received a free annual credit report. Instead of getting reports from all three agencies I randomly selected Experian. This is the first time I have seen my credit report. There are at least two errors; my employer (they list someone that both Google and I have never heard of), and they show an Amex card that I canceled a few years ago as still open. The Amex card shows a $55 dollar balance, which is the amount of the annual fee. I canceled the Amex card three or four years ago. But on the credit report the account shows "open", and even stranger, "never late". Does Amex commonly do this, and should I bother to dispute it? Last, I thought a three digit credit score was involved. I can find no such score on the Experian report. Is that normal?
A: You could always get it. You just had to pay for it. That was the problem. YOU had to pay for the tool to check THEIR product, and YOU had the responsibility for THEIR errors. Regardless of whether the error was by the person who submitted it to them, or the credit reporter themselves, THEIR bad data was YOUR responsibility. THEIR bad data could cost YOU money, not them. When you tell them about an error, they tell you what hoops you have to go through to correct their error. They call it "MY credit report". It isn't mine. It is THEIR report about ME. What an incredibly powerful business model. At least recently they have to provide the data to you without charging you for verifying their product. I'm not anti-credit bureau. They serve a critical purpose. But I do want them to bear responsibility for accuracy in data collection and reporting--not pass it on to us. If they have bad data pointed out to them, it should be up to THEM to spend three days on the phone straightening it out, not us. In the small problem I had before, I got the bad data removed from the credit report. But I still don't know where it originated. Neither Experian nor the original agency reporting to them will provide me with data about the bad account. The name associated with the bad dabt wasnt' even my name, but it was still on my credit report. Experian didn't even bother to see if the name was the same as mine! How sloppy is that? (I believe they crossed the SSN, which is another reason for the SSN to not be used for purposes other than taxes and social security, like the law says. ) AND since the name of the other person involved came up with another problem that crossed my path, I don't know whether I have a person who is using my name/ssn, or if there is just some incredibly unlikely coincidence. All I DO know is that nobody but me has the repercussions, and nobody is providing information to me. But both Experian and the originating collection agency are making lots of money for creating the problem. I guess THAT'S what I'm all het up about. Here's a news article on the web (note: I take anything from a "public interest research group" with a healthy grain of salt. But it is a data point. I've seen similar error levels claimed elsewhere.) http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=569 High rate of errors in credit reports leads to difficulty borrowing by Madeleine Baran (bio) One in four credit reports contains serious errors, according to a survey released Thursday by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Serious errors were those defined as those that could prevent borrowers from buying a home, opening a bank account or getting a job. Almost 80 percent of the 197 credit reports studied had at least one error, including misspelled names and switched identities. PIRG advised consumers to examine their reports before applying for new credit. Almost 90 percent of American adults have credit profiles.