In today’s world, there is perhaps nothing as important as credit. Good credit can help us buy homes, finance cars and make improvements to our lives; bad credit can cost us thousands of dollars in interest and even our dream jobs. But what happens when your “bad” credit is the result of an inaccuracy on behalf of the reporting agency? Why can we not just fix the mistake and move on?
A new agreement between Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is aiming to put an end to what one Washington Post writer has aptly called “falling down the rabbit hole” of fixing an error on your credit report. The National Consumer Assistance Plan should offer consumers with mistakes on their credit report a lifeline to actually fixing the problem.
How the National Consumer Assistance Plan works
The Plan is supposed to improve the “dispute resolution process with specially trained employees to review all supporting documentation submitted by consumers for all disputes involving fraud, identity theft or mixed-up information.” So instead of sending information through email or fax and hoping for the best, each dispute will be reviewed by a specialist whose only job is to investigate claims of errors.
Furthermore, “in cases where a creditor rejects a disputed claim through an electronic system, the bureaus won’t automatically accept the decision but will give employees the discretion to reinvestigate the dispute” (emphasis ours). As the writer says, “that’s huge.” And it is, because the automatic rejection of claims based on a circuitous “glitch” in the system is why it takes so very long to resolve a dispute – if it ever gets resolved, that is.
Finally, the Plan offers consumers another free report every time a modification is made. Thus, if you make a claim for an error on your credit report, you no longer need to wait a year to find out if it has been resolved: if you receive another credit report, it has been fixed. If you do not, then there is still a problem. “The bureaus will also create a working group that will review and help ensure consistency and uniformity in the information submitted by data furnishers.”
The Plan may only be implemented in New York right now, but eventually we should see it throughout the country. These changes could help millions of Americans be more successful in their endeavors to build a better future – and keep thousands, millions, maybe even billions of our hard earned dollars out of the hands of the greedy credit card companies and in our own pockets.
Isn’t that worth fighting for?