> Consumers have been able to challenge adverse entries in their reports
> for years. Reporting companies are required to investigate and remove
> said item if it can't be substantiated. Furthermore, the consumer is
> required to be told when a credit report was used to as a basis of an
> adverse decision and is entitled to request a copy of that report,
> even if they have their free annual report allowance used already.
From what I read in the newspapers, that protection doesn't
work very well in practice. In other words, the consumer ends
up with the burden of proof to show the errors were indeed errors.
In real life, there can be gray areas. For instance, suppose you have
an obligation but the company screws up your address and you never get
a bill. They never get paid. (This has happened to me.) Since they
never were paid, they blackmark you. I had a heck of a time proving
it was their error (they left my apt # off the address and the post
office returned it); further, they claimed it was still my
responsibility to get them payment no matter what. I got it cleared
up, but it was very aggravating.
For victims of identity theft or outright fraud, it seems the
companies take their time investigating the problem, in the mean time,
the blackmarks are on your record. It seems victims have to hire a
lawyer to push the companies to correct theft/fraud errors. (I can
understand a credit company not wanting to writeoff thousands of
dollars of fraud charges, but that's shouldn't be the consumer's
When I got my credit report, I discovered a lot of junk in it -- long
closed accounts listed as active or not responsive, stores long out of
business, bad addresses, etc. For instance, I had a card with a store
that closed. Unbeknowst to me, the successor store opened a new
account for me, but had my address badly wrong so I never knew an
account was out there. There were no charges, but still lots of
bookeeping activity. This was frightening since it showed how easily
errors can creep in or valid cards mailed to wrong places.