More Than One in Five Americans Have an Error on Their Credit Report!

Here are the 12 most common credit reporting errors that can cost you real money*:

1. A delinquent account that has the wrong "date of delinquency*" or that is being reported more than 7.5 years from the date of original delinquency.

* The classic example is where an original creditor like CityCapital charges off your credit card account in June of 2010 because it went delinquent in January of 2010 (when you stopped paying), then they sell it to DebtBuyer in 2011 who posts the date of delinquency as anything other than January of 2010 (usually later). Sneaky! And Wrong. You deserve to have that thing disappear 7.5 years from January 2010. 

2. A debt that was discharged in Bankruptcy (or that pre-existed a “no-asset” Chapter 7 Bankruptcy) but is still listed as ANYTHING OTHER than discharged in Bankruptcy - and with a ZERO balance. 

3. Accounts that you closed but that don’t indicate “closed by consumer.

These are a problem because it looks like the creditor closed the account involuntarily. 

4. A vehicle account listed as a “repossession” when, in fact, you voluntarily returned the vehicle.

This is a big deal. (You can dispute this with the short statement that YOU returned the vehicle voluntarily.)

5. Account histories that are inaccurate. 

Maybe you paid late in May of 2012, but the tradeline says you were current in May but paid 30 days late in October of 2012. (You can dispute that October late payment with a canceled check or orally and are under NO obligation to include in your dispute that you were late in May.)

6. A tradeline that you don’t recognize.

Maybe it’s someone else’s, maybe it’s nobody’s. Maybe it’s yours and the creditor and Credit Reporting Agency can or can’t verify it. If you can’t recognize or remember it - you can dispute that it belongs to you.

7. A tradeline belonging to someone with a similar name or alias or Social Security Number.

Maybe this account actually belongs to somebody else! (This is called a "mixed file").

8. A missing notation that you have disputed any tradeline or portion thereof with the creditor.

(e.g. “Consumer Disputes”) (You can send proof of your prior dispute with the creditor or make a short statement if you don’t have it.)

9. A creditor’s tradeline that fails to note that it was assigned to collections or “charged off.”

This makes it look like you have two delinquent accounts - the original one and the one (for the same debt) that is being reported by the collection agency or debt buyer.

10. Any overdue child support that is more than 7 years old.

11. Any tradeline - or portion thereof - that is a result of ID Theft.

12. Former creditors on accounts that were discharged in Bankruptcy who have been “hard pulling” your credit report: They’re on autopilot and they don’t realize that they don’t have any business relationship with you any more

These have a negative effect on your credit score. They may be listed in a section called “inquiries that creditors can see” and are different from pre-screening inquiries or “soft pulls” that are for marketing purposes and don’t affect your score.

Remember: It's got to be accurate and it's got to be verified. Otherwise it gets deleted (or corrected if anyone can actually figure out what the correct information should be - and it should not be YOU who supplies that information).

Long Story Short: The Credit Reporting Agencies and the Creditors have a duty to make a meaningful investigation of a disputed item - and they don't. Why? Because they all use an automated system that essentially re-reports the information that was on there in the first place.

If you find an error on your credit report:

I recommend that you use an attorney experienced with credit reporting disputes who will evaluate your case for free, draft disputes for you for free, and, if you have a case, sue the Credit Reporting Agencies on your behalf in order to fix your problem for no money down. Find out more about how I can do this for you!

* (The "costing you real money" asterisk - remember this?) A credit reporting error can cost REAL money! For example, a 2% higher (or worse) car loan on an average sedan over two years can cost you over $712.00. Now think about how much money is at stake when you're buying or refinancing a home? Getting credit cards? Taking loans out for college? You get the idea!

Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
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U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney helping victims of ID theft and Credit Reporting errors.
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