Study: 1 in 5 Consumers Had Error in Credit Report

Credit Score balanceBy MARCY GORDON

WASHINGTON (AP) - One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.

The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.

The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors.

The study closely matches the results of a yearlong investigation by The Columbus Dispatch. The Ohio newspaper's report last year said that thousands of consumers were denied loans because of errors on their credit reports.

The FTC says the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports.

Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies.

The FTC study also found that 20 percent of consumers had an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after the consumer disputed it. About 10 percent of consumers had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors in their reports.

The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the credit reporting agencies and other data companies, said the FTC study showed that the proportion of credit reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small.

The study confirmed "that credit reports are highly accurate, and play a critical role in facilitating access to fair and affordable consumer credit," the association said in a statement.

In September, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gained the authority to write and enforce rules for the credit reporting industry and to monitor the compliance of the three agencies. Prior to that, the reporting agencies weren't subject to ongoing monitoring by federal examiners.

The CFPB hasn't yet taken any public action against the agencies. However, it is accepting complaints from consumers who discover incorrect information on their reports or have trouble getting mistakes corrected. The agencies have 15 days to respond to the complaints with a plan for fixing the problem; consumers can dispute that response.

By contrast, the FTC can only take action if there is an earlier indication of wrongdoing. It cannot demand information from or investigate companies that appear to be following the law.


AP Business Writer Daniel Wagner contributed to this report.

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New slogan... FICO, Stealing the American Dream one report at a time!

February 12 2013 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have always had excellent credit. Then one day, I was in the process of a loan and a blemish on my credit report came up. I quickly learned that it was a huge mistake by the bank. I had 2 different loans with this bank and sent them the 2 payments. Well, they punched in the wrong info on the loan accounts. I was short money on the one loan and overpaid on the other loan. The one that was short is the one that came up to be a blemish on my credit report. I called this bank and asked them to verify the amounts paid into the accounts. Bingo! They entered the wrong money into the wrong account. This was straightened out by the bank, but I refinanced everything with another and got rid of this bank for doing this to me. Sometimes, I believe the creditors are messing with people on purpose. There is no excuse for punching the wrong info on an account when all of the info was right there in front of them in the first place.

February 12 2013 at 6:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

they never change a thing regardless of how wrong you prove them to be , they are owned by the big bakns and sing to their tunes, they could care less if they make mistakes just makes them more money, kinda like the rating agencies being paid by those they rate , recipe for fraud

February 11 2013 at 11:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Credit cards are legalized loan sharking,the mafia is outta business.

February 11 2013 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Trying to contest the report is like trying to convince a billionaire to give you a billion dollars. No matter what you try, you can't succeed.
The only solution is to deal in cash only.

February 11 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply