Friday, October 27, 2006

Credit Reports

OK, so, as you might be aware, some new law was passed at some point saying that the 3 credit agencies are now required to give you a free report once a year. I began getting mine last year so that I can make sure that everything on them is correct. There are 3 different companies keeping track of all this, and you have to request each one individually.

Now, first off - why are there 3? There is no reason that I can think of that there be three. And you never know which one is going to be used for any particular inquiry, and they are never the same, so what is the purpose? Then you have to file disputes with three different companies, and follow up with all of them, too.

So, anyway, I go to the site online to request my free credit reports. Experian, no problems - I answer all of their questions and I get the report. Equifax, same thing. Then I get to TransUnion. They ask the same questions - who is my current mortgage with, what is the monthly payment, what bank financed my car loan, how much is that payment, and so on. I answer all of the questions - correctly I might add - and it says, "Sorry, you have entered incorrect information, we are unable to process your report." So, this makes me think that they have invalid information about me, since I do know that information pretty well.

I look over the other two credit reports and find nothing wrong with them. They are both accurate, both updated in 10/06. Neither of them have anything bad on there, no negative accounts, nothing.

I find the phone number for TransUnion after searching their site for a little while. Automated, of course - "If you would like to request a copy of your credit report, please press 1; If you already have a copy of your credit report, press 2."

So I press 1. "If you have been denied credit and would like your free copy, please press 1. If you would like to purchase your credit report with a major credit card, please press 2. If you live in a state where you get a free copy, you must go to the online site to request your copy." No other options. I press 0 - sometimes I have gotten lucky when I get automated recordings and they do not give you a "speak to a real person" option and the 0 works. Not this time. Then I get, "You have not entered a valid option, if you would like... " and I get the whole thing over again.

I hang up. Call back and select option 2. I finally get to a real person, albeit someone in India or some such place, and he speaks passable English. I explain to him the situation I am having and he says he will mail me a copy of my credit report. Nothing else. No explanation for the problems or anything.

So, I received my credit report in the mail today. I opened it and it is pretty thick - about 20 pages or so. I look at the top of the report and it says page 1 of 6. Strange. If it is only 6 pages, then what are all the other ones? I leaf through them to find a second credit report with my name on it and this one says it is page 1 of 9. What the heck? Why are there 2 different reports and why is one longer than the other??

I look further into the information on the front page, comparing the two. One has my first and last name, the other one has my first name, middle initial, and last name. The 6 page one says that I have been in their records since 02/06. Oh, only this year, huh? But yet they have records that are older than that, AND some of the information was "last updated" in 2005. They actually give this out to my creditors?? Looking at the first one on both reports, it is the same. A Kohl's account. Opened in 03/1997; Paid off 05/1997; Closed 07/1997 (OK, so I got a discount for opening an account, paid it off then cancelled. If I remember correctly, it was a pretty good discount!). Then it has a bunch of little boxes with months and years in them with the information of "OK" or "30" in them. And apparently I was 30 days late with my payment in two different months in 2005. Wait... 2005?? I do not have a Kohl's account currently, it states on the report that it was closed in July of 1997, so how in the heck could I have been late 2 times in 2005?

Incredible. Now I have to take the time to write them a letter and dispute all of these things (there are more issues than what I put here, but I don't want to list them all). If I could have accessed it online, I could have disputed it online. Sheesh. Just irritating and I thought I would vent about it on here. :)

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