John Oliver Takes Down the Credit Agencies

Posted by Nikitas Tsoukalis on April 22, 2016

John Oliver Takes Down the Credit Agencies

Credit reporting and background check agencies have a massive amount of power over our lives. They don’t just have an impact on whether or not we get a new credit card. They can affect where we live, where we work and how much we pay for things like car insurance. But, as John Oliver recently described on his show Last Week Tonight, they are not always used in a way that is fair to consumers.

How the Big Three Credit Agencies Affect Your Life

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion all market their services beyond individual consumer credit. TransUnion explicitly states that their reports allow employers to make quick, efficient decisions about who to hire. Experian advertises that their scores can predict whether a prospective employee will be able to handle company funds responsibly.

Why Their Rulings Can Be Unfair

Half of all consumer debt is medical debt. These sorts of debts can often be large and not a strong indicator of how responsible a person is. While credit reporting agencies advertise that their services can help employers pick responsible candidates, there is little data to back up the assertion that a person’s credit score is an indicator of their trustworthiness on the job.

Errors Abound

And, around 25% of consumers have errors on their reports. One in twenty had serious errors that would cause people to pay more than they should for everything from car insurance to a mortgage on their homes. In real numbers, that translates to 10 million people with severe errors. Credit bureaus can make errors that can significantly impact your life. In one case, credit bureaus had erroneously labeled a man a terrorist. A woman who was trying to buy a travel trailer learned that the credit bureaus listed her as deceased. Still another woman took six years and a federal lawsuit to get negative entries that were clearly erroneous off of her report. Last year, GIS and their affiliates had to pay out $13 million in fines and damages. The three credit bureaus have been the subject of the greatest number of complaints to the CFPB.

Getting the Credit You Deserve

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the three major credit bureaus are required to give you a free copy of your report every year. However, if you discover an error, it can often be difficult to get these errors removed from your reports. Background check companies are also required to give copies of their reports once a year. But, the background check companies do not keep ongoing records. They usually only generate a report when someone like a potential employer or landlord requests one. And, many companies will not sell you your own report so that you can check it for errors. You’ll only know that there was an issue if what is on your report costs you a job or a place to live. The FTC admits that there is no national list of background check companies and thus no comprehensive tool for oversight. We have years of experience dealing with the intricacies of credit repair. If you feel that there are errors on your credit report that are keeping you back, contact us to find out how we can help you correct the problems and unlock your opportunities.