Credit report errors are out of consumers’ control but can cost them big. People can end up paying higher interest because of the errors, or worse -- some can lose jobs, car loans or even home loans because of errors.
A recent study shows that from 2014 to 2016, there were 122 million confirmed credit report errors.
"[The three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion] have a responsibility to stand up for the rights of the consumer and to correct that mistake quickly, and if they don't do that, we'll do it for them," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D- Florida, who released the study.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ranks the number of complaints it gets about different issues. No. 1 is debt collection. No. 2 is mortgages. No. 3 is credit errors.
Senators are demanding the three major credit reporting agencies make the dispute process easier for people and better vet information they receive. If not, Nelson is threatening to push for stricter laws.
In the meantime, Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke says consumers’ best defense is to check their credit regularly.
People are entitled to a free report from each of the three credit reporting companies each year. Stoogenke says people should take them up on it and spread them out every few months so they’re checking their credit every four months.
Denver resident Krista Quigley was buying a house, and a $20 error could have cost her a home loan.
"My daughter had a surgery when she was a baby and something was on there where we still owed $20," Quigley told Stoogenke. "We had to go and investigate that."
Brian Ross said he found a fraudulent charge on his credit card and resolved it, but then, it popped up on his credit report and almost cost him a loan.
"It was something that was out of my control and out of my doing," Ross said. "We just had to keep bouncing back and forth from the credit bureau to the merchant to the bank, and it was just a nightmare."
Both Quigley and Ross got the mistakes cleared up, but it took effort and, in Ross's case, eight months.
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