of the most frightening statements any of us could ever hear is
“Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Be afraid….be truly afraid….in fact run if you can.
Let’s look an example of how we are being ‘helped’ by the good old
Suppose you want to buy something and they run a credit check on
you. You get turned down. The results show some kind of an error
which you don’t understand. These can be fairly simple; sometimes
they have you confused with another person, perhaps the store made
a mistake, maybe the account was entered twice or you could be the
victim of identity theft.
In any event
you decide to check it out for yourself, since the company doesn’t
give you the exact nature of the reason you were turned down. You
log onto annualcreditreport.com and then try to navigate you way
through all of their on line instructions to obtain your annual
free report….The first agency (TransUnion) doesn’t allow me to see
my report due to the fact that at one time or another I had a credit
alert reporting account with them that has since expired…so they
have me blocked. The other two agencies are fairly straight forward
and I print out all of the information without any hassle. Now it’s
up to me to sort through everything and make some sense of it.
This is the
hard part. I find a number of duplicate accounts that should not
be included. No one (at least no one I know of) has three Sears
accounts. I also find that some of the accounts have reported me
in the good guy, no problem section along with another reporting
of me in the “He was late one month back in 2002” bad guy section…for
this same account. How can I be both? It appears this information
stays with me forever or until I die, perhaps even after that. With
my luck the funeral home won’t take me as a customer due to some
error on my credit score. I suppose you have to have a decent average
and be in good standing with the credit bureaus before you can get
a funeral. I don’t know this to be a fact, but would not be surprised.
Not that it will bother me, but I’d like to think of my wife and
kids not having to explain why I was late paying for some unwanted
magazines in the years past. So, as I am writing this, I am also
printing out the two reports I was able to access on line. I will
get started working on the resolution of these issues before I depart
the earth since I tend to believe things of this nature might produce
unwarranted stress in times of grief. I might be wrong, but that’s
what I believe.
I finally get the reports printed out. One is 17 pages and the other
is 36. Why anyone needs to know about accounts that I closed years
ago is beyond me, but there they are. So, what good does this do
for me or anyone else?
When I checked the internet to find out if anyone was having problems
such as this, I found that my ability to print the reports at all
was somewhat of a miracle. It seems lots of folks are having a very
difficult time even getting this far. Then here comes the best part.
in charge of investigating the credit bureaus for mistakes or delays
is the Federal Trade Commission ( www.ftc.gov or 1-877-382-4357)
but they can’t really help you since they can’t tell you if they
are investigating any complaints about any of the agencies. A spokesperson
stated that ‘all FTC investigations are non-public” so there you
go. This means they can’t advise you if they are checking for issues
with any of the three major agencies. And, they can’t tell you if
they are trying to resolve any of these issues as well.
They do recommend
that you log onto their web site and file a complaint if you aren’t
happy with your experience with either getting your free report
or correcting any errors in your report. Having said that, then
they tell you they aren’t able to tell you what will happen to your
complaint since it’s ‘confidential’.
So, if you complain,
but you can’t check on your complaint, then how do you know anyone
is doing anything about your complaint or that they ever will? Especially
when you go for months and see no action or get the results you
are looking for? Sound like the old runaround to me, doesn’t it
to you? How much money is spent on this dismal effort?
in action….ain’t it great?