|Received:||3/17/2005 7:37:27 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Notice of Proposed Study on the Effects of Credit Scores and Credit-based Insurance Scores on the Availability and Affordability of Financial Products|
Comments:I am writing regarding a very serious problem with Experian. I am being punished by Experian for exercising my rights under the FCRA. This is causing my FICO score to plummet, and is causing me to be denied credit. Someone must make Experian comply with the FCRA and protect consumers. Let me explain further what they are doing: When a consumer disputes a negative trade line with Experian, they are updating the Date of Status to the month the account is verified. This is causing several issues: 1) While Experian bases the trade line removal date on the Date of Commencement of Delinquency, per the FCRA, the date appears NOWHERE on a consumer credit report. You can NOT look at a credit report and tell a) how old a delinquency is and b) when the delinquency is scheduled to fall off. The only way a consumer (and therefore a lender) can tell how old a delinquency is would be to call Experian and have them reference their internal computer system. Therefore, Experian is NOT disclosing a complete credit report as the FCRA requires!!!! 2) FairIsaac uses the Date of Status to assess the age of delinquency. When Experian verifies a delinquency, they update the Date of Status to the current month. This causes the FICO score to drop, sometimes very dramatically. This is punishing a consumer for disputing! When nothing else changes, the trade line is the same except for this date of status, and a score falls as much as 70 points, that is punishing. 3) Score aside, the trade line looks new. A potential creditor looks at the trade line, and it appears that the delinquency just occurred. This again is punishing the consumer if an old delinquency appears new. 4) If you ask Experian about this, they will say the date of status is simply the date last reported. However, they have a Date Reported too, why have both? 5) An additional issue is that Experian refuses to reinvestigate a trade line after two disputes. A consumer is unable to dispute online via Experian’s website, and if disputing via letter, Experian will issue a letter stating that the trade line has been “Previously Verified”. YET, they do not state the dispute is frivolous as the FCRA requires. They simply refuse to investigate, another FCRA violation! They do this even if there has been a major change to the trade line since the last report, such as the account being paid off. Here is an example Trade line: Central Financial Control The account became delinquent 4-98 and is scheduled (per a phone call to Experian) to drop off 04/05. Was previously reporting with: Date of Status/Last Reported 4-1998/7-2003 Status: Collection Account $451 written off. $451 past due as of 4-1998. After disputing they updated the account as follows: Date of Status/Last Reported: 06-2004/06-2004 Status: This item was verified on 6-2004 and remained unchanged. Recent Balance: $451 as of 6-2004 With this single change, my Experian FICO score dropped dramatically and it now reports like it is a brand new collection account instead of one that is due to fall off in a few months. The FTC must step in and take action against Experian and protect the consumer. Congress has given us the right to dispute inaccurate information in our reports. Consumers should be able to exercise this right without being afraid of Experian updating the status date, worsening the reporting, dropping their FICO scores, and being stuck with the new erroneous reporting because Experian refuses to do their job and re-investigate a trade line. They tie a consumers hands. You dispute something old and inaccurate, Experian verifies and makes the account look recent. Then you are stuck because 2 strikes and you are out! Experian needs to disclose the Commencement of Delinquency date so that a trade lines true age can be ascertained by a) the consumer b) a lender and c) FairIsaac so that you are getting a true, accurate score.