Common Credit Reporting Errors Impacting New York City Consumers
Having an error on your credit report can have a surprisingly large impact on your life. A strong credit score is crucial if you want to apply for a vast array of financial products, from credit cards to auto and home loans. A poor credit score can lead to a denial of a credit card application, rejection of a loan application, or an inability to rent or finance a residence.
It is important to know how mistakes which negatively affect that credit score can occur. Because credit reporting companies have a legal obligation to investigate and correct errors on these reports, being able to identify and properly dispute these errors can lead to a healthier financial life. A member of our dedicated legal team can help improve your understanding of common credit reporting errors impacting New York City consumers.
Errors Stemming from Simple Mistakes
Many errors on the credit reports of New York City residents are the result of mistakes made by lenders or credit reporting companies. Loan servicing errors and data processing issues can lead to a timely payment being reported incorrectly as never having been made, or as having been made late.
In many instances, a consumer will be able to independently demonstrate that the payments in question were made on time. For example, a consumer may have bank statements, cancelled checks, credit card records, or other evidence of timely payment. While disputing the incorrect entry with the credit bureau and supplying these types of supporting documentation should be enough to get a faulty credit report fixed, it often is not.
Sometimes, even when presented with a proper and documented dispute, a consumer will need to hire a fair credit reporting law firm, such as Schlanger Law Group, LLP and file suit before the credit reporting agencies and finance companies are willing to correct the consumer’s credit report and compensate the consumer for the harm done.
It’s not just lenders and loan services that make mistakes, either, as credit reporting companies can also make mistakes on reports. One common mistake is to “mix” a consumer’s file with the file of another person with a similar name. The result is that a consumer with a long history of responsible use of credit can see his or her credit plummet as a result of the inclusion on his or her credit report of another consumer’s negative credit information. This is particularly common with regard to people with common names and/or people who have a family member with the same first and last name (e.g. Jr., Sr. III).
While credit reporting agencies should check to ensure that all information that they receive from vendors corresponds to an individual with that person’s full name, social security number, address, date of birth, etc., the reality is that the credit bureaus often use “partial matches” and make egregious mistakes.
At Schlanger Law Group, we have seen the credit reporting agencies as well as many creditors refuse to fix these sorts of mistakes, even when confronted with clear and compelling evidence. Sometimes a lawsuit brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other state and federal consumer protection statutes is the only viable way to address the problem.
Fraudulent and Criminal Errors
Of course, not every credit report error is a mistake. Every year, thousands of people fall victim to credit card scams or identity theft. Once obtained, these criminals may use a person’s personal information to make large purchases, take out loans, or even drain bank accounts. These are only some of the common credit reporting errors impacting New York City consumers.
Identity theft is a criminal act that can happen to anyone. In addition to securing personal data and filing a police report, consumers should dispute the erroneous information with the credit reporting agencies as well as the credit card company, lender, or other furnisher of information. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, consumers are well-advised to speak with an experienced fair credit reporting or identity theft attorney.
Working to Rectify Errors
The Fair Credit Reporting Act or “FCRA” requires credit reporting agencies to properly investigate and correct errors that are disputed by the consumer. The FCRA also requires credit bureaus to establish policies and procedures to ensure that their data is accurate and to prevent the mixing up of consumers’ credit files with one another. Additionally, the FCRA requires a credit card company, bank, or other furnisher of data to investigate and correct faulty information when contacted by the credit reporting agency regarding the consumer’s dispute. Falsely verifying inaccurate credit information is prohibited under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and New York state law.
An Attorney Can Help You Avoid Common Credit Reporting Errors Impacting New York City Consumers
The potential impact of a credit report error is difficult to overstate. A poor credit score can affect your ability to obtain financing, a place to live, or even a job. Sometimes, common credit reporting errors impacting New York City consumers are due to loan servicing or payment tracking issues, but in other cases the inaccuracy is the product of identity theft or other forms of fraud.
Regardless of the reason for the incorrect information on your credit report, you should not ignore credit reporting inaccuracies. Credit reporting and identity theft is a core practice area at Schlanger Law Group LLP. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.