We at The Watchdog told you a while ago that, when it comes to credit reports, “free” doesn’t always mean “free.”
For Laura Russell of Orange, it meant $832.
And now it turns out that, if you’ve ever wanted to tear your hair out after trying to resolve an error on your credit report, it’s probably because you’re not very important.
“The credit rating bureaus, whose reports influence everything from credit cards to mortgages to job offers, have a two-tiered system for resolving errors — one for the rich, the well-connected, the well-known and the powerful, and the other for everyone else,” The New York Times reports.
“The three major agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, keep a V.I.P. list of sorts, according to consumer lawyers and legal documents, consisting of celebrities, politicians, judges and other influential people. Those on the list — and they may not even realize they are on it — get special help from workers in the United States in fixing mistakes on their credit reports. Any errors are usually corrected immediately, one lawyer said,” NYT said.
And it gets worse, as the NYT explains how the credit-report-complaint process works for the rest of us. It’s a guilty-until-proven-innocent system where your complaint is shuffled off to an overseas worker who spends about two minutes “investigating.”
“There is a requirement that they do meaningful research and analysis, and it is almost never done,” Leonard Bennett, a consumer lawyer in Newport News, Va., told NYT.
Read the full (depressing, but fascinating) story here. With credit so tight that it can literally impact the course of our lives — home or no home? school loan or no school loan? job or no job? addition for new baby or no addition for new baby? — it’s important to understand how the process works.
Or doesn’t work.