Friday, May 2, 2008

Fixing Your Credit Report

A while back I found an error on my Transunion credit report, but it wasn't on the Equifax or Experian reports. Dummy that I am, I didn't fix it right away.


So, it was an account that I did not recognize from a bank that I have had an account with. More suspicious, it was an installment account for an amount that didn't make any sense to me. I'm pretty good about knowing about my accounts, so I knew this wasn't mine. It was on my list of things to do, but dang it, it just fell clean off one day for no good reason.

I have an old credit card with Providian, now Washington Mutual. I never use it, but I keep it open because they provide my Transunion credit score for free. One day I check it and see that my 800 score has dropped by 100 points.


So, I got my 3 credit reports and saw that Transunion and Equifax now had this unknown account, and it has become delinquent. I contact the bank and ask them about it. But I only had a partial account number as provided on the credit reports. I provided my name, address, and social security number, but they still couldn't find anything. So I had to submit an inquiry, which takes about one month to complete. I kept calling to get an update from the bank, and I ended up having to submit my inquiry twice. Eventually, I got someone really helpful on the phone who suggested I submit another inquiry with them, and one with Transunion and Equifax. The credit reporting agencies, she told me, are required to provide information on the item on my credit report or, if they can't, remove it. Better yet, they have to do one or the other within 30 days.

So within 30 days, I got a notice from both agencies telling me that the item was removed from my credit report.

Woo Hoo!!

My Transunion credit score is now back to the 800 range.

Lessons learned:
  • If you see an error on your credit report, fix it right away.
  • The longer you take in fixing the problem, the wider it spreads. The wider it spreads, the more tedious it is to fix.
  • Don't just call the bank that the erroneous credit item is with. Call the reporting agencies as well, which unlike banks, are required to resolve the disputed item in a set amount of time.
  • If you see an unexpected dip in your credit score, something bad has happened.
Want some fore info on credit scores? Check out PBS. More info than you knew existed on credit scores, including it's rather biased history.


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Have I ever told you that you are a wealth of information?

And may I also offer up one more big UGGGH!


MetaMommy said... as I say, not as I do ;-)