What if you find an error in your credit report?
First of all, DON'T assume the credit reporting agencies will advocate for you.
You may have to be relentless until you have the resolution you deserve.
Most people find errors in their credit report at the worst possible time. It's time for a new mortgage, or a renewal. Or a new car lease. And surprisingly, your lender is turning you down, or offering you a high interest rate.
And they're not telling you why.
A Quick Story
As an example, I once had a big challenge clearing an error on the Equifax report of my client, Mary.
Mary discovered a collection item on her credit report which she had no knowledge of. She looked up the company and found it was relating to a BMW account in Cleveland.
Mary has no business with BMW in Cleveland and no delinquency with BMW.
Equifax called BMW, who confirmed that the reporting was valid. Equifax told Mary that the reporting was correct. Equifax required Mary to prove that this was not accurate and to have the company admit it.
Now this fraudulent company, wherever and whoever they were, would never actually admit that.
Mary’s application for a mortgage was in jeopardy ... I had to put in a lot of work to investigate and collect evidence for Equifax to realize this was in fact a fraud.
The moral of this story: EVERYBODY who has credit NEEDS to pay for credit agency fraud protection. Email me back for my current best recommendation.
If you find yourself in this kind of situation, hopefully it arouses your curiosity (not just confusion and anger).
So you check out your credit report and BAM! Error. Red alert.
There are mistakes galore in credit histories maintained by Equifax and Transunion.
Some are data-entry errors. Others can do serious harm to your credit score, qualifying to borrow money, getting a credit card or refinancing/renewing your mortgage. And/or result in higher credit card interest rates.
You can even end up with somebody else's bad behaviour on your credit report, just because they have the same name as you. Or because of something a family member did.
One survey about credit reports showed that:
- only 17% of Canadian adults had checked their credit reports in the last 3 years
- 18% of those who checked, found mistakes in their credit reports
- 10% cent believed they were denied credit or money because of mistakes in their reports
Some experts estimate errors in anywhere from 10 to 33 per cent of credit files.
Provincial consumer agencies get hundreds of complaints annually about credit bureaus.
If You Find A Mistake
Errors on your Transunion report?
Go to https://www.transunion.ca/assistance/credit-report-disputes
Errors on your Equifax report?
Go to https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/personal/dispute-credit-report/
Include supporting documents that support the facts. The reporting agency then checks with the person who maliciously or mistakenly submitted the information you're disputing.
If you prevail, you will be sent your updated report. AND ... any company that's requested your credit file recently will also be sent the corrected file.
But follow up anyway. Never assume this is going to be done at all, never mind correctly.
If the item is not fixed on your report, you have the right to add a note to your credit file with your statement of the facts.
You can also file a complaint with your provincial consumer agency if you are unable to resolve things with the reporting agencies.
Hit me back with ANY questions about credit, debt, your report, the housing market, mortgages and so on.
If you've never really looked into your full credit report (with all its confusing jargon and details) ... get in touch and I'll walk you through it.
Cleve DeSouza is a Toronto based mortgage professional. Find out more info at mortgageapprovedfast.com.