Whether to Dispute Errors Online or by Letters

Whether to Dispute Errors Online or by Letters We and other consumer advocates have long advised consumers to send disputes to the credit reporting agencies by mail rather than using the agencies’ online option. The main reason for using old-fashioned mail was that there was no way to send in documents to the agencies to show the consumer is right and the reports are wrong. Now, however, the bureaus online systems allow consumers the ability to upload documents, such as documents showing proof of payment. Consumers understandably like the online option because it is easier and faster. There is still...

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Credit Scores May Rise with FICO’s New Scoring Model

Credit Scores May Rise with FICO’s New Scoring Model FICO, the creator of the most widely used credit scoring system, last week announced that new version (FICO 9) available this fall will make changes beneficial to consumers. The new model will ignore previously paid collection items whereas the current and older FICO models scored paid and unpaid collections equally. For some consumers, even better news is that the new FICO version will put far less weight on medical debt that is the hands of debt collectors. This change will improve scores for countless consumers who have medical debt–medical debt accounts...

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Bill to Curb Employers’ Misuse of Credit Reports

Bill to Curb Employers’ Misuse of Credit Reports The NY Times reports on a bill introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would bar most employers from requiring applicants to disclose their credit histories or otherwise disqualifying applicants based on poor credit ratings. Employers are increasingly running credit checks on job applicants with the three national credit reporting agencies only too eager to add to their profits by selling credit reports to employers. The problem is that research has proven that people with poor credit histories are not automatically poor job prospects. Plus, credit reports are not always accurate making the...

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Oregon Jury Awards Consumer over $18 million in Mixed File Case

Oregon Jury Awards Consumer over $18 million in Mixed File Case Mixed files cases are ones in which the credit bureau intertwines the credit files of one person with another. When this happens, the bureau has no one to blame except itself. Last week, an Oregon jury awarded Julie Miller $180,000 in actual damages and $18.4 million in punitive damages against Equifax. The Oregonian story is here. Ms Miller contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 in an effort to correct inaccuracies, including erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as a wrong Social Security number and birthday. Yet...

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When Bureaus Mix Credit Files, the Consumer Suffers

When Bureaus Mix Credit Files, the Consumer Suffers Yesterday’s NYTImes has an op-ed how the credit bureaus sometimes mix the files of one consumer with another. Mixed files result when a credit bureau issues a report on a consumer that includes the credit files of a different person. When the other person has negative accounts like charge-offs, repossessed car loans, etc. the innocent consumer cannot get credit from banks, can’t open a checking account, can’t get a car loan, etc. The op-ed piece gives the Judy Ann Thomas case as an example. She lived in Ohio, but the credit bureau...

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