This is a follow-up to an earlier article about an excellent series from The Columbus Dispatch about significant errors of credit agencies combining the credit history of other people, usually family members or others with similar names, that have bad credit. Some of the stories really blew my mind- click to read the full articles:

Bad credit and other bad information on the reports prevents people from obtaining all sorts of loans, such as for cars or from their home equity. Bad credit rating can also effect employment, and cause auto and homeowner’s insurance rates to raise dramatically.

Credit reporting agencies are responsible for tracking our payment history on obligations like utility bills, mortgages, credit cards, and other debt, as well as using this information to compile a credit ratings for consumers. The reports also contain information about felony criminal records and addresses.

Normal problems are easy to corrected, such as small errors about late payments, or debt that has long since been repaid, by writing letters to the main credit reporting agencies. Often consumers have to make follow-up phone calls and send additional letters, but I understand that things usually get cleared up. It is just a pain to do so.

Everyone should check their credit history, usually for free through annualcreditreport.com and NOT freecreditreport.com. There you can get reports from Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. If you find that your information is incorrect, quickly find out what you need to do to fix it, and then constantly followup until done so. This may turn into a part-time job for some, but is important. To know your rights and procedure you should follow, there are many excellent articles at www.ftc.gov:, start with Credit and your consumer rights.

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