PART TWO
creditaccuracy.com
Dirty data

     
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Laws | Legislation | Regulation | Studies | Mail | Contact | PART ONE (creditscoring.com)
12/21/04
  • creditaccuracy.com author's 9/17/04 public comment submitted to the Federal Reserve regarding credit reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion's illegal practice (hiding information from consumers): "Since your study deals with disputes of accuracy of consumer information, it would be incorrect for you to assume that a consumer can obtain all the information in his files in the first place."

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (the basis for the argument):

    Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request, and subject to 610(a)(1) [§ 1681h], clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:
    (1) All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request, except that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require a consumer reporting agency to disclose to a consumer any information concerning credit scores or any other risk scores or predictors relating to the consumer.
    That part of the law has existed since 1996 (also, see Case 4).

  • FTC action: "FTC Issues Report to Congress on Results of Studies Required by FACTA"
  • TransUnion
    • Arizona Daily Star: "'A lot of people are probably going to be dissuaded because now it looks like you have to pay. This is obviously a screw-up by the company,' said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard."
    • Associated Press: "'If consumers are being charged $9 for a report they're entitled to receive for free, that certainly is a violation of the statute,' she [FTC attorney Sandra Farrington] said."
  • Score Watch
    • Equifax press release: "Equifax and Fair Isaac Introduce First Credit Score Monitoring Service"
    • Fair Isaac press release (same as Equifax, above)
  • Experian December free-for-all: "'With the anticipated response from consumers nationwide to the FACT Act free credit report, we saw the value of providing a free credit report to all consumers now, regardless of their state of residence' said Ed Ojdana, president of Experian Consumer Direct." (https://www.freecreditreport.com/)
11/28/04 11/20/04
  • Equifax
    • Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates: "The case, which lasted more than seven years, resulted in a $7.9 million settlement that compensated thousands of consumers for illegitimate fees charged by the check processing company."
    • ConsumerAffairs.com, September 7, 2004, "Equifax Check Services Bilked Consumers with 'Bad check fees'": Without class action lawsuits, it would be often be impractical for consumers to protect themselves. For instance, it would not be feasible for a single consumer to hire an attorney to sue over a $20 charge.
  • Businessweek, Amey Stone: "Setting Up Credit-Report Central" - "For all its benefits, the new law has some glaring inadequacies."
  • FTC
9/26/04
  • TSA's Secure Flight
    • TSA:
    • Anchorage Daily News: "To do this, the government plans to check your name, your address, your credit card number, your home phone number, your birth date and any other information in the passenger record against commercial databases and credit reporting agencies to see if you're a risk to the traveling public."
  • Consumer Federation of America study
    • CFA: "Only about one-third (34%) correctly understand that credit scores indicate the risk of not repaying a loan, not factors like financial resources to pay back loans or knowledge of consumer credit."
    • AP: "The survey found that a majority of Americans don't know credit scores are being used for purposes beyond borrowing."
    • CBS: "The median credit score is about 725, says Janet Bodnar, executive editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance."
  • "Two reporters investigate their credit ratings" - "So there I was, in our weekly editorial meeting, holding the stupid press release that let me know January was Credit Awareness Month, thinking about that $11.65 and what it did to me."
  • Knight Ridder: "But this time, when he called TransUnion to report his findings, he finally seemed to get past the wall of denial."
  • "The FTC's web site on Credit"
  • Channel 5, Raleigh: "According to the three credit reporting agencies, Chad Humlicek is dead."
  • Credit files lifted
    • Reuters: "Charges are pending against three other people in the case."
    • Bloomberg News: "NEW YORK — A former employee of a company that helps banks and other businesses access consumer-credit data stole credit histories of thousands of people, in what may be the largest identity fraud ever, prosecutors said yesterday."
    • Newsday: "Although he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and identity theft fraud, Philip Cummings told U.S. District Judge George Daniels he did not realize the extent to which his accomplices would use the information."
    • MSNBC: "The data allowed Cummings and his accomplices to impersonate firms that had rightful access to credit reports. Then they could steal credit reports at will. (picture)"
    • AP: "Under a plea agreement, Cummings may be sentenced to at least 14 years in prison for conspiracy, fraud and wire fraud."
8/9/04
  • FCRA/FACTA
    • Federal Reserve Board: Press Release, August 5, 2004 - "The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced that it is conducting a study on the adequacy of investigations of disputed consumer information reported to consumer reporting agencies. In connection with the study, the Board is soliciting public comment on issues that will assist in the preparation of the study."
    • Paul Wenske, Kansas City Star: "The credit industry maintains it does a first-rate job."
  • Associated Press: "Little by little, a weapon against identity theft is gaining currency - but few people know about it... It's called the security freeze... "
  • New York Times: "'What we have is an industry that has completely run amok and is continuing to publish inaccurate information that harms consumers and does so without giving consumers an adequate remedy,' said Ian Lyngklip, a lawyer in Detroit who is representing Mr. Graham... 'Every one of these cases is like taking a little day excursion into the twilight zone.'"
  • FTC: "FTC Releases Consumer Fraud Survey - More Than One-In-10 Americans Fell Victim to Fraud"
    • CNN/Money: "The survey of 2,500 randomly chosen consumers found that people deep in debt were more likely to be victims of fraud... Little surprise then that three of the top four categories of fraud are related to credit, including credit-repair scams."
    • MSNBC: "Some con artists convince consumers that they can help them remove accurate, negative information from their credit report, or establish a new credit record."
    • COX NEWS SERVICE: "Credit-repair scams: 2 million victims."
6/26/04
  • Free credit report roll-out
    • FTC: "FTC Issues Final Rule on Free Annual Credit Reports" - "Under the final rule, the nationwide CRAs must establish a 'centralized source' for accepting consumer requests for free credit reports (called annual file disclosures in the final rule)."
    • Michelle Singletary: "But on this issue, the commission failed to put the interest of consumers above that of private industry."
    • Bankrate: "The FTC is currently working with the credit reporting agencies to figure out exactly how consumers will register their requests for a free report."
    • Peter G. Miller: "One Free Credit Report Per Year? How About Three?" - "In effect, you could order a free credit report every four months once the new rule kicks in for your state -- just apply to a different credit reporting bureau."
    • Kenneth Harney: "Finally, on September 1, 2005, the Eastern states will get their shot: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia."
    • David Hendricks, San Antonio Express-News: "What I fear is that the delay gives the credit bureaus more time to figure out how to make money from this requirement."
  • National Association of State PIRGs: "Mistakes Do Happen: A Look at Errors in Consumer Credit Reports" (2004) - News Release, Executive Summary, full report
    • "When there is an error, it is our obligation to correct it, which in 80 percent of the cases is done in 10 working days."
    • "'The big credit bureaus and big business tolerate big mistakes in credit reports,' said Ed Mierzwinski , U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director."
    • "In an online poll conducted early this year, HR.BLR.com asked human resource professionals, 'How damaging is a bad credit report for applicants at your company?'"
    • CNN/Money: "Credit report errors may cost you a job" - "Twenty-five percent of credit reports contain errors serious enough to deny consumers access to credit, favorable loan rates and in some cases a job, a new study said Thursday."
    • Jay Fitzgerald, Boston Herald: David Rubinger, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Equifax, questioned the accuracy of PIRG's data. But he couldn't provide accuracy-inaccuracy ratios for Equifax reports.
    • AP: "Serious errors found in the credit profiles maintained on some 90 percent of American adults include accounts incorrectly listed as delinquent or that actually belong to a different person, the Public Interest Research Group said in the report Thursday."
    • "Also, in conducting the survey, PIRG 'unilaterally decided what is a serious error,' said Norm Magnuson of the Consumer Data Industry Association."
    • Pamela Yip, Dallas Morning News: "How can the credit-reporting industry be so sloppy that one in four credit reports has errors serious enough to disqualify consumers from buying a home or opening a bank account?"
4/18/04
  • An expert witness:
    • "The jury awarded the largest compensatory damages ever awarded against a Credit Bureau."
    • In reviewing the sixteen credit reports that Trans Union produced for the plaintiff, the following types of errors have been identified:... Partial reporting: credit reports are generated that do not include all of a given consumer’s credit history.
  • Quote of the depostition - Testimony Before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions And Consumer Credit of the COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES: "In its deposition, Trans Union brazenly admitted this fact on the record."
  • Class Action - UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA: CAROLYN THOMAS, Individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, v. NCO GROUP, INC., NCO FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, INC., NCO FIN CFS, NCO CREDIT SERVICES NCO GREAT TRUST, TRANSUNION, LLC, EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., EQUIFAX, INC.
  • UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT: LINDA JOHNSON v. MBNA AMERICA BANK, NA and EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INCORPORATED; EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION SERVICES, INCORPORATED; TRANS UNION LLC
    • Court OPINION [alternate link]
    • Pratt's Letter: "Creditor responsibilities to investigate disputed information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are more onerous than creditors would like, judging from a significant decision handed down February 11 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit."
  • Lorraine Turner
    • Trisha L. Howard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 4/8/04: "Woman gets $500,000 in credit-reporting case" - "Antognoli said Thursday that Turner is still trying to get the mistake erased from her record."
    • Steve Horrell, Edwardsville Intelligencer - 4/8/04: "In fact, the bank sent those credit bureaus that false information each month for the 3 1/2 years following the repossession, Antognoli said."
  • Matrix (Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information eXchange)
    • Anita Ramasastry, FindLaw Columnist, Special to CNN.com, November 6, 2003: "Why we should fear the Matrix" - "According to news reports, the data may also include credit histories, driver's license photographs, marriage and divorce records, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and the names and addresses of family members, neighbors and business associates."
    • Paul Hughes, [central Connecticut] Record-Journal, March 20, 2004: "[Connecticut Public Safety Commissioner Arthur L.] Spada told the Judiciary Committee last week that the Matrix does not track reading lists, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, mortgage and car payments, credit card information, utility bills, bank account numbers and balances, travel records, telephone calls and costs for home additions."
    • Mark Johnson, Associated Press - 3/11/04: "Just five states now remain involved in Matrix out of more than a dozen that had signed up to share criminal, prison and vehicle information with one another and cross-reference the data with privately held databases."
4/14/04
  • Joseph Barrios, [Tuscon,] Arizona Daily Star: "Murder charges against Carolyn June Peak were dropped last year in part because deceased Deputy County Attorney David White had obtained copies of Peak's credit records without a judge's order."
  • Winsome E. Sears
    • Katrice Hardy, The Virginian-Pilot: "Brad Marrs, Sears’ attorney, said an agreement was reached with Melchor and signed this week by a U.S. District Court judge in Richmond... Sears was awarded $35,000 for her attorney fees and $10,000 in damages."
    • AP: "Virginia House of Delegates member Winsome E. Sears has filed a $1 million suit against her one-time political rival, former Del. William P. Robinson Jr., and a private investigator, claiming the two conspired to illegally obtain her [Equifax] credit report during her campaign."
  • Hena Daniels, Channel 11, Savannah: "She moved around a lot. I tried to find them through friends and Equifax," he said."
  • Sheffer v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
    • March 24, 2003 - "Sheffer, the court notes, asserted that he contacted several credit agencies to dispute the "deceased" notation, and those credit reporting agencies informed him that they had investigated the disputed information."
    • October 20, 2003 - "In a case that ended with a jury verdict of $1,000, it might seem like a major victory when a federal judge awards the winning lawyers $25,000 in attorney fees -- unless, of course, the lawyers were asking for five times that amount."
  • Bruce Mohl, Boston Globe: "Reilly's investigation mirrored one conducted by The Boston Globe last month... The credit report was apparently provided to ICU by CBC Credit Services, an information services company based in Columbus, Ohio, that is authorized to resell credit reports generated by the three major credit reporting agencies -- Trans-Union, Equifax, and Experian." (related story)
  • Jim Strickland, Channel 2, Atlanta: Medical Information Bureau - Darbyshire said it took him three years and a lawyer to straighten out his MIB file."
  • NCRA Press release: "NCRA sues National Credit Bureaus for Antitrust Activities" (alternate link)
  • Jerry Bier, The Fresno Bee: "When Trans Union continually refused, they eventually sued, and a jury in Fresno awarded them nearly $940,000 after a four-week trial in federal court."
4/11/04
  • Outsourcing
    • "Feinstein Calls for Investigation of Outsourcing of Personal Data Abroad by Private and Federal Agencies" - "According to recent news accounts, some companies have begun to outsource work to contractors and affiliates in foreign countries. Some of the documents used in the work include tax returns, credit files, and homeowner appraisals."
    • Cincinnati Enquirer: Feinstein: "'I am gravely concerned that consumer data is being sent overseas without proper safeguards,'" the California Democrat wrote to chief executives of Citigroup, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, Equifax and TransUnion."
    • San Fransisco Chronicle, David Lazarus: "'A hundred percent of our mail regarding customer disputes is going to go to India at some point,' said David Emery, executive vice president and chief financial officer of TransUnion in Chicago."
    • Business Day (Johannesburg): "Absa has set up an offshore operation at its 1450-seat call centre in Johannesburg [South Africa], where it is running a customer helpdesk for TransUnion, a US-based credit-rating bureau."
  • Background-Check-in-a-Box
    • Associated Press: "The new check-in-a-box, containing a CD-ROM that allows users to tap ChoicePoint's online databases, gives small business owners access to an essential tool previously available mostly to big companies, say ChoicePoint and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is selling the product in 41 of its Sam's Club membership warehouses in 26 cities."
    • Tom Zucco, St. Persburg Times: "Background check kits worry some" - "What the 46-year-old single mother had done was bounce a $60 check to a refrigerator rental company two years earlier."
    • Mary Lou Pickel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, warned that ChoicePoint may open itself to defamation charges if it shares personal information that is not accurate or complete."
    • EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) ChoicePoint Page: "At Privacy International's Big Brother Award ceremony held in Cambridge, MA on March 7, 2001, ChoicePoint received the 'Greatest Corporate Invader' award 'for massive selling of records, accurate and inaccurate to cops, direct marketers and election officials.'"
    • Other ChoicePoint Dalliance
      • U.S. Transportation Security Agency: "The ChoicePoint Phase 1 check includes the following elements: (1) credit check; (2) name-based check of ChoicePoint's proprietary criminal history records database; (3) in-person check of local criminal history records in every jurisdiction where a screener has lived for the past 10 years; and (4) link analysis against selected terrorism databases to find potential terrorist threats and possible connections to such threats."
      • The Washington Post: ChoicePoint, which was paid $19 million for conducting criminal, credit and other background checks on airport-screener applicants last fall, said it assigned a "green" flag to 39,578 TSA applicants who appeared to have clean records.
      • Joanne Cleaver, Special to the Chicago Tribune: "ChoicePoint let me in, all right, but to verify that it really was me checking up on myself, I had to answer a set of obscure questions about who services my family's mortgage and what kind of mini-van we own, and when we bought it."
      • Smartmoney.com: For $12.95 you can pull your insurance score plus a copy of your credit report at Choicetrust.com, a Web site run by ChoicePoint, a firm that calculates insurance scores for many companies.
  • Kenneth Harney:But the Federal Trade Commission has just proposed the key details of how and where consumers can request their free reports, and when the program will start up.
  • AP: The billionaire Pritzker family must provide some details of a closely guarded financial agreement to two young relatives who allege they were cheated out of their share of the family fortune, a judge ruled... The Pritzker family controls a financial empire estimated at $15 billion, including the Hyatt hotel chain, casinos, the TransUnion credit-checking company, and the Marmon Group, a global association of manufacturing and service companies."
  • This guy still gets milage out of the lousy job he did there. Dallas Morning News: "'Businesses must have grounds to refuse you the information - for example, if they're not sure of your identity,' said Oscar Marquis, a partner at Oldaker, Biden & Belair LLP in Chicago and former general counsel of credit bureau TransUnion." Hey, credit fans! Be sure to see Case 2, in the 4/1/04 update and elsewhere on this site (Ask Marquis his expert opinion about that and his role in it, journalists. Don't you want a hot story? Be a star! Crack the case!)
04/1/04
  • Case 2 update
    [Fisher's name]
    [address]

    November 4, 2003


    Bruce S. Luckman (representing TransUnion (aka Trans Union))
    Marion, Satzberg, Trichon & Kogan, P.C.
    1818 Market Street, 30th Floor
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

    Certified mail article number 7003 1680 0006 6900 0796

    Your report of my file, number [file nmber], dated October 3, 2003, is incomplete—just as it was on August 18, July 2 and May 27. Refund my money now; I am tired of waiting and I am tired of your malarkey

    In response to my letter of September 23, you did almost everything but make the correction I ordered. You stated that your investigation resulted in new information about eight accounts, and the deletion of nine accounts. This time, address the single particular account I brought to your attention instead of goofing around with seventeen others and performing tasks for which I made no request. Send a corrected report that includes a notation that the HOUSEHOLD BK # [account number] was 30 days late in September, 2002.

    In my last letter, I pointed out that a Google search for the words Bruce Luckman returns creditaccuracy.com as the third highest result. It is now number one. You violated the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act—again, and you are now infamous for that violation. Issue a complete report to me. Disclosing to me all information in my file is your grave responsibility. In stark contrast to that charge, your actions are foolhardy.

    [signed]
    [Fisher's name]


    [Fisher's name]
    [address]

    November 4, 2003


    Jan Davis
    President, TrueLink
    President, TransUnion Consumer Solutions
    100 Cross Street, Suite 202
    San Luis Obispo, California 93401-7570

    Certified mail article number 7003 1680 0006 6900 0802

    As President of both TrueLink and TransUnion Consumer Solutions, and one who is quoted frequently in the popular press, you must be the one most eager—and certainly most qualified—to respond to this inquiry.

    Your TrueCredit report of my TransUnion file dated November 4 (order #[order number], November 3), in the section regarding the HHLD BANK Account No.: [partial account number], states that, in September, 2002, the payment was not received as of 30 days after the due date. However, my consumer report from TransUnion (aka Trans Union) dated October 3 (Trans Union file number [file number]), mailed to me with a Chester, Pennsylvania return address, does not contain the September, 2002 30-day late notation. In fact, none of the accounts listed contain a 24-month history as does your report.

    Given that the report I obtained from TransUnion, Chester must, by law, contain all information in my file, I can only conclude that you fabricated the late date notation. If that is the case, then refund my money and shut down your operation. If that is not the case, please clear up the mystery.

    Thank you.

    [signed]
    [Fisher's name]

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • The 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), The Fair and Accurate Transactions Act
    • Consumers Union (Consumer Reports): 2003 Changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act: Important Steps Forward at a High Cost
    • Financial Literacy and Education Commission
      • The Meetings
        • 1/29/04 meeting video
        • Next meeting date proposed: May 20, 2004 (The Law: "The Commission shall hold, at the call of the Chairperson, at least 1 meeting every 4 months. All such meetings shall be open to the public.")
      • The Law:
        "... the respective head of each of the Federal banking agencies (as defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act), the National Credit Union Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, each of the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, the Federal Trade Commission, the General Services Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Office of Personnel Management; and (C) <> at the discretion of the President, not more than 5 individuals appointed by the President from among the administrative heads of any other Federal agencies, departments, or other Federal Government entities, whom the President determines to be engaged in a serious effort to improve financial literacy and education...

        The Secretary of the Treasury shall serve as the Chairperson."

      • The Press
        • Official releases
          • Treasury:
            "Secretary of the Treasury John Snow today chaired [for 11 minutes, that is, ed.] the first meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission in the Department of the Treasury’s Cash Room. Representatives of twenty federal departments, agencies, and commissions... The Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Education has been designated by Congress to lend its expertise and provide primary support to the Commission to assist it in fulfilling its functions and duties."
          • Federal Reserve Board (representative Alan Greenspan left after 11 minutes, too)(but, surely, watched the video later)(designated a lower-ranking official as permanent alternate at the meeting)
          • Education (sent an alternate)
          • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
          • Office of Thrift Supervision
          • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
          • National Credit Union Administration
          • Securities and Exchange Commission
          • Agriculture
          • Defense
          • Health and Human Services
          • Housing and Urban Development
          • Labor
          • Veterans Affairs
          • Federal Trade Commission
          • General Services Administration
          • Small Business Administration
          • Social Security Administration
          • Commodity Futures Trading Commission
          • Office of Personnel Management
          • The Law: "Alternates.--Each member of the Commission may designate an alternate if the member is unable to attend a meeting of the Commission. Such alternate shall be an individual who exercises significant decisionmaking authority."
          • Senator Sarbanes: "These new provisions will serve as a springboard in our efforts to help develop a single comprehensive strategy to improve the financial decision making among consumers.”
          • Senator Stabenow: "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary John Snow were among the top federal financial officials who met today to convene the Financial Literacy and Education Commission... legislation will also establish a toll-free number for people to get answers on financial questions, and it will set up a one-stop consumer Web site to serve as clearinghouse for information on financial literacy."
        • Members
        • http://www.federalreserveeducation.org/fined/
    • The FTC (Federal Trade Commission)(regulator)(old player)
    • The Fed (The Federal Reserve Board)(the central bank is a new player)
    • The U.S. Department of the Treasury (new player), Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Education
  • U.S. Senate
    • AP: "The Senate, by a 95-2 vote, approved the reauthorization of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which created a national credit reporting standard to make it easier for people to get credit cards, loans and mortgages."
    • USA Today: "House and Senate leaders still have to settle their differences before a final congressional vote."
    • Banking Committee 9/24/03 release:
      "Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), the Ranking Democrat on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, applauded the inclusion of financial literacy and educational opportunity provisions, many of which he authored, in 'The National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act of 2003,' legislation expanding and reauthorizing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee today and now heads to the floor of the United States Senate for consideration."
    • "Bennett in the Senate," and his benefactor, Equifax
      • AP: "A few days after Sen. Bob Bennett helped advance proposals favorable to the credit-bureau industry, a company that sought the changes threw a fund-raiser that brought in tens of thousands of dollars for the Utah Republican's re-election campaign... In an Equifax Inc. newsletter sent to employees a few days after the fund-raiser, the company praised Bennett as a powerful force in the Senate. It said Equifax's PAC and employees were supporting a senator who has been 'extremely helpful in our ... efforts to mitigate the impact of providing credit reports nationwide.'"
        (alternate links: The Guardian, UK, Casper Star Tribune, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, The Baltimore Sun)
      • Salt Lake Tribune columnist Lisa Carricaburu: "The changes, however, aid businesses at consumers' cost."
      • See, hear Bennett in FCRA hearing (first remarks come at 26:36 into the video)

        2:09:30 into the video: Bennett warns about going "back to the bad old days."

        So, let's take him up on this: "... I'm strongly in favor of the preemption provision and the affiliation sharing provision while we continue to try to find out more information about where the inaccuracies come from and what we can do to deal with it."

        Yes, sir, Senator! Let's do that! We're right behind you! Lead the way, and start with your buddies at Equifax and their blatant, illegal operating practice! Get, oh, say $5,000 from Equifax for the study. That shouldn't be too hard.

        Meanwhile, Equifax distributes credit reports to consumers containing less information than they give to lenders-- in flagrant violation of one of the fundamental notions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act: full disclosure. See Case 4.

        arrow10.gif - 5402 Bytes $50 dollar cash prize! Submit the first original letter signed by Senator Bennett mentioning the "24-month history" and win $50.00! (Senate members are eligible to win, too). Send your authentic letter from Utah Senator Bob Bennett to

        creditaccuracy.com
        P.O. Box 342
        Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342

        Perhaps the senator could look into Equifax's illegal practice outlined in Case 4.

        If you would like to give money to the senator, please make a pledge at creditaccuracy.com/contact.htm-- only 2500 $10 contributions to match Equifax's $25,000!

    • Consumer Bankers Association
    • Credit Union National Association: "The Managers’ Amendment is a comprehensive 95 page bill (not introduced as yet)... "
    • American City Business Journals: "There's talk up on Capitol Hill that if they can't get any type of agreement before adjourning, they will pass a temporary extension on the current law allowing them to come back and work on the bill next year,' Thaler says."
    • U.S. Treasury: "I wish to congratulate Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Sarbanes, and the members of the Senate Banking Committee for their expeditious work... "
  • Mobile Register: "Another Washington consumer advocate, Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, credited Shelby with trying to do more, but said the 21-member banking committee is 'stacked' with lawmakers from states such as South Dakota, where the financial services sector swings a big stick."
  • U.S. PIRG:
    • "We intend to work to improve numerous flaws in both bills and to ensure that the final law takes the best ideas from each bill and restores states' rights to protect consumers."
    • "Credit Reporting Bill Is A Trojan Horse: HR 2622 Overrides California's New Financial Privacy Law"
  • Knight Ridder, 9/17: "Consumer advocates who have clamored for tougher laws on privacy, identity theft and credit reporting say a pending credit law would make only minimal improvements in those three areas."
  • AP: "When the House reauthorized the legislation in a 392-30 vote, it also decided to make it permanent, cutting states out of the decision-making on consumer credit privacy."
  • Pratt's Letter, 9/29: "But given the intensity of the continuing lobbying over a number of controversial provisions, the committee’s vote may have been the calm before the storm, with the real fireworks postponed first to debate on the Senate floor and then to the House-Senate conference committee."
  • Boston Globe, Bruce Mohl: "As part of a story on the vulnerability of personal financial data, The Boston Globe purchased Romney's TransUnion credit report -- listing his credit card accounts, credit card numbers, credit limits, and payment history -- from a Colorado company calling itself Goldshield Inc."
    • Goldshield-- John Strange, master sleuth-- 877-316-6160
    • USA Skip Trace, 877-316-6160 - Domain registrant: John Strange, "Worldwide Investigations,Inc.", 303-297-3400
    • Worldwide Investigative Services, aka Worldwide Investigations, Inc.
    • savvydata, "Helping Secure America," 888-853-2900 - "Mr. Nevins was also recognized as an honored professional of the Nationwide Register's of Who's Who in Executive and Business 2001-2002 Edition." (!!!) (National Register: "Participating members are placed in the directory in their area of specialty among their peers and colleagues, allowing them to maximize their networking potential.")
9/23/03
  • AP: "Americans could get free credit reports e-mailed annually to their homes under legislation easily approved by the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday... State governments could lose the ability to create stronger consumer protection rules, however."
  • NEW FEATURE: Get the Jump on the Chump!
    Tomorrow's news today! Read it before he does! Here's a letter mailed today:
    [Fisher's name]
    [address]

    September 23, 2003


    Bruce S. Luckman (representing TransUnion (formerly Trans Union))
    Marion, Satzberg, Trichon & Kogan, P.C.
    1818 Market Street, 30th Floor
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

    Your report of my file, number [file number], dated August 18, 2003, is incomplete. Refund my money now.

    Send a corrected report that includes a notation that the HOUSEHOLD BK # [account number] was 30 days late in September, 2002. Include the dates in the file of all late payments for all accounts. You ignored my June 13th request for that information. Your rights do not include an explanation from any consumer for why the dates of late payments are significant, although it should be apparent to you (but I’m not holding my breath): A late payment has a different effect on a credit score— or a lender’s evaluation of a borrower— depending on whether the late payment occurred two months ago or 22 months ago. If you wish to engage in a discussion about credit scoring, I am happy to oblige (see creditscoring.com)(and, speaking of the Internet, did you know that a Google search for the words Bruce Luckman returns creditaccuracy.com as the third highest result?).

    You violated the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Issue a complete report to me. Disclosing to me all information in my file is your grave responsibility. Take it seriously.

    [signed]
    [Fisher's name]

    Luckman: 215-575-7622
  • TransUnion official who referred Case 2 to outside expert credit report lawyer Luckman: Eileen Little, 610-546-4640
  • Regina (aka Jean, aka Gina) Sorenson who said, "We condensed the report [!!!] to make it more consumer friendly," and who refused to mail a report that gives all the information in a file as required by federal law. (Regina-Gina-Jean: 610-546-4711)
    • Sorensen as a footnote to "The evidence in case testimony by employees of the credit industry, shows that violations of the reinvestigation requirements are routine."
    • She's everywhere.
  • TransUnion's Philadelphia area (Crum Lynne, Pa) office telephone system: Dial 610-546-4701 and press 0 for the names directory.
9/15/03
  • Our next contestant in Case 2: Bruce S. Luckman of Marion, Satzberg, Trichon & Kogan, P.C., lawyer for TransUnion (the artist formerly known as "Trans Union")

    • Be part of the story! Send a memo to Luckman:
      TO: bluckman@mstkw.com, ekron@mstkw.com, mtrichon@mstkw.com, raxelrod@mstkw.com
      CC: greg@creditaccuracy.com
      SUBJECT: creditaccuracy.com/0002

      Mr. Luckman, you and TransUnion (formerly known as Trans Union) don't have a leg to stand on. Forget about your standard denial. Give up, tell Gambill and Pritzker to refund the $9.00, and issue full disclosures and an apology. The guy who writes creditaccuracy.com is a genius.

    • About the guest star: Bruce S. Luckman (215-575-7622)

  • Akron Beacon Journal: "Credit report mistakes can ruin a shot at home loan"
  • "Being dead while alive is a nightmare"
  • FTC
    • "FTC Releases Survey of Identity Theft in U.S. 27.3 Million Victims in Past 5 Years, Billions in Losses for Businesses and Consumers"
    • "FTC to Host Media Briefing Breakfast on Credit Reporting"
  • EPIC (on the FTC web site): "Fortunately, however, Turner’s premises and conclusions are so faulty that his 'research' can largely be discredited by examining a few of its passages."
  • Experian - Retention Triggers: "You'll be alerted when your customers are inquiring somewhere else about additional lines of credit, so you can keep your valued customers and not let them go elsewhere."
8/12/03
  • (Gambill's Gambit) Case 2, Round II. This is as good as it gets: The consumer asks the consumer reporting agency to provide all the information in the consumer's file (as required by federal law). But, rather than provide the full disclosure, the agency removes the information. How clever: They think that since the information is no longer in the file, they don't have to disclose it. You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to beat these guys.
  • U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing: "Addressing Measures to Enhance the Operation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act," July 31, 2003
    • Video and prepared statements (video contains more information: the Q & A session)
    • The General Accounting Office report presented to the Senate, GAO-03-1036T:
      CONSUMER CREDIT - Limited Information Exists On Extent of Credit Report Errors and Their Implications for Consumers

      Statement for the Record Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate.

      • The report: "Information on the frequency, type, and cause of credit report errors is limited to the point that a comprehensive assessment of overall credit report accuracy using currently available information is not possible."

        Chairman Shelby (after quoting the above): "This is troubling." (at 12:52 in the video)

      • Report Highlights: "Neither the impact of the 1996 FCRA amendments on credit report accuracy nor the potential implications of errors for consumers is known... The lack of comprehensive information regarding the accuracy of credit reports inhibits any meaningful discussion of what could or should be done to improve credit report accuracy."
      • Index, GAO web site: Today's Reports - July 31, 2003

    • The Bush administration (Treasury Secretary John Snow): "A basic tool to place in the hands of the consumers is access to their credit reports-- as I say, once a year, upon request, free of charge. Doing so, we think, would enhance the accuracy and the completeness of the credit reports... then the consumers can correct those reports if they see an error in them." (video mark: 8:29)

      You can't correct what you can't see, Mr. Snow. The evidence proves something entirely different than what you suggest: The "basic tool" doesn't exist; credit reports are not complete by design, and demanding completeness does not work. Take a look at this test:

      1. The consumer obtained his credit file from the national credit reporting agency.
      2. The consumer obtained his file from another source.
      3. The consumer compared the two reports and found information missing on the basic report (the one required by law) obtained directly from the national credit reporting agency when compared to the report from the other source.
      4. The consumer demanded that the national credit reporting agency provide a complete disclosure.
      5. Rather than providing the disclosure, the agency responded by removing the information.

      The agency: TransUnion

      Journalists, advocates, activists, regulators, legislators, alligators, litigators: Contact the consumer.

    • The Big Study, the industry's debacle
    • Reuters: "Shelby said he found troubling a new General Accounting Office study that said it was impossible to get a comprehensive view of the accuracy of credit reporting. The study said even a common definition of 'inaccuracy' was lacking in the credit industry."
  • Equifax's learning skills
    • Senator Shelby (Chairman) at 15:40 into the video: "Is it worth noting, Mr. Secretary that even at the time when the Fair Credit Reporting Act reauthorization is being considered-- when you would think that everyone associated would be on their absolute best behavior (whatever that is)-- the FTC just completed an enforcement action and the levied a significant fine against one of the big credit bureaus for failing to meet basic responsibilities with respect to handling consumer complaints?"
    • FTC: "Equifax to Pay $250,000 to Settle Charges" - "Equifax failed to meet the specific performance standards in the consent decree for blocked calls and hold times for certain periods in 2001. The settlement announced today will require Equifax to pay an additional $250,000 for violating the original consent decree."
    • For perspective (for non-rocket scientists): Equifax: "Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX), the leading provider of critical information to businesses, consumers and the public sector, today reported record second quarter revenue of $317 million, an increase of 18 percent over the prior year. Earnings per share from continuing operations grew 6 percent to 36 cents, in-line with consensus analysts' estimates."
    • Channel 10, Philadalphia: "The FTC also said Equifax blocked calls from consumers who wanted to discuss their credit reports."
    • Atlanta Business Chronicle: "'We did not violate the decree,' said Mitch Haws, Equifax spokesperson." (call Mitch at 404-885-8093, fax him at 404-885-8078, or email him at mitch.haws@equifax.com)
    • Your tax dollars (or Equifax's fines?) at work. MSNBC: "But she said that during the first half of 2001, in 5 of 13 two-week audit periods, Equifax customers faced unreasonable wait times or dropped calls."
    • Atlanta-Journal Contitution (Equifax headquarters are in Atlanta)
      • "Mitch Haws, a spokesman for Equifax, says the company disagrees that a violation of the decree occurred but agreed to settle to put the matter behind the firm."

        Explain that, Mitch. You either cut it, or you don't.

      • AP: "Many people also were kept on hold for unreasonable amounts of time, the complaints said."
      • "The company had just introduced a credit score service for consumers, and the volume of calls about it was heavier than expected."

        Here's the thing, Equifax: If you were up and running with the credit score thing in a reasonable time after I asked, you wouldn't be paying those 250-thousand clams now, would you? But let's face it: The money's nothing. It's the lambasting from the FTC that goes into the history books that you should worry about.

        But, that's hardly the biggest of your problems, as you know. There's this pachyderm in the living room: Incomplete, illegal consumer disclosures. Look right below: A colleague mentioned my pet project to the U.S. Senate! He said it right into the microphone, under oath.

  • U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing: "The Accuracy of Credit Report Information and the Fair Credit Reporting Act" (or "Somebody Finally Looks at the Elephant in the Living Room"), 10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 10, 2003.

    Ahh-- you thought it was so poetic that it would never happen, but finally, the issue reaches the record. The ever-lovin' U.S. by-golly Senate heard, in testimony:

    "In short, consumers are not receiving everything contained in their credit files."
    - Richard F. Le Febvre
    Let that resonate for a moment.

    The folly of the present law and regulation is that credit reporting agencies are getting away with a violation of the most fundamental idea of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and nothing stops them.

    Happy Bastille Day.

  • YOU EVIL STATES, YOU!: "Unless Congress renews important Fair Credit Reporting Act provisions, the national credit system would be replaced by dozens of inconsistent state and local laws complicating the credit process for consumers and businesses, while hindering important identity theft and fraud protections." - Partnership to Protect Consumer Credit

    Apparently, these guys know exactly what the stupid states will do even before they do it. This is a major development in credit reporting: They have, obviously, used their ultra super-intuitive and future-predicting software developed by the Wizard of San Rafael to predict the horrible outcome of the fulfillment of the legislation Congress enacted eight years ago.

6/16/03
  • U.S. House: Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Hearing entitled “The Role of FCRA in the Credit Granting Process,” Thursday, June 12, 2003

    Testimony of TransUnion big shot:

    "Under the FCRA, we may not provide a credit report to anyone who does not have a permissible purpose for such information."
    Same guy, 2001: No response. He's full of himself until the hard question.

    "It is also important to clarify what is not in a credit report" (unknown if said with a straight face).
    See this whole, bloody account of what's not in a credit report; what they have, but you don't get, that is. Journalists and legislators, start here (it's a blasted road map, but if you still don't get it, speak up).

    "In April 2001, TransUnion announced our intention to provide, upon request, a score disclosure with our consumer file disclosures."
    Same guy, 1997: "There is nothing I wish to add to the information provided by our General Counsel last week. I do not intend to reply to additional queries. Repeating the same request to different people within Trans Union is pointless. Thank you."

    Credit scores were never the point-- just a preamble to Act II (this web site, with all the real action) in this three-act play. Ask your senator to invite him to a hearing and ask him about the issue in Case 2. It would be a hoot. (if that case isn't crystal-clear, speak up.)

    Watch for a transcript of the entire hearing: "After the hearing transcript is finalized it will also be listed under 'Printed Hearings.' This version includes the question and answer period and any documents submitted for the record."

    (Previous House hearing: U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit: Hearing entitled "Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Consumers and the Economy" Prepared Testimony - Wednesday, June 04, 2003)

  • FCRA debate
    • Jane Black, Businessweek: "Give States the Right to Protect Privacy"
    • AP: "Most American consumers have come to take the Fair Credit Reporting Act for granted."
  • CAPPS capped
    • Wired News: "Plans to continue testing the controversial Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, or CAPPS II, on commercial airlines have been temporarily suspended, according to the Transportation Security Administration."
    • dc.internet.com: "Concerned that the CAPPS II program could violate the privacy and civil liberties of the flying public, Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) in March introduced an amendment to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress within 90 days on what impact the CAPPS II program will have on the privacy and civil liberties of United States citizens, including how individual information will be used and what safeguards will be implemented to protect the public's rights."
    • boycottdelta.org: "It's nice to know that there are now people within Homeland Security that have taken the time to read the Bill of Rights."
  • "Credit Reporting Inaccuracies: David vs. Goliath USA"
    • "Mr. Smith possesses recorded voice mails from Ms. Boyd profusely apologizing for the rough time given by Capital One, agreeing to delete the accounts from his reports, and several requests to settle the matter out of court."
    • "Capital One is represented by Nashville attorney, Phillip Welty, an associate at Gullett, Sanford, Robinson & Martin, P.L.L.C."
  • Federal Reserve Board: Study, February, 2003 FRB Bulletin, "An Overview of Consumer Data and Credit Reporting" - "Despite the benefits that the credit reporting system offers, analysis reveals several areas of the current system that could be improved."
  • Logansport Indiana Pharos-Tribune, Kristi Osenbaugh: "Gotta give them credit" - "Saying no to a credit review raises the same red flags that bad credit does."
  • Where is he now - Dennis Rodman: "According to Experian Business Reports, a financial risk-assessment service, Josh Slocum's has become 'increasingly late' in paying creditors."
  • GUS C.E.: “Once again, Experian, Argos and Burberry each reported record profits and the integration of Homebase is on track." (but they couldn't afford to give you your credit score until last week-- the last holdout of the three natonal credit reporting agencies)
  • Action 9, WSOC-TV, Charlotte - They'll get Equifax to do it if you can't:
    White made numerous calls, but couldn't get them to clear the blemish from her account.

    Action 9 contacted Equifax in Atlanta about White.

    The credit reporting bureau declined to discuss her complaint, but moved immediately to correct their mistake.

6/3/03
  • U.S. House:
    June 4, 2003
    **New**
    Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
    Hearing entitled "Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Consumers and the Economy"
    10:00 AM
    2128 RHOB
  • "Bush officials make the leap to lobbying firms" - "Their efforts have brought in about six new clients, including a business coalition that is pushing for an extension of key provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act."
  • "'Sunset' provisions in Fair Credit Reporting Act spark debate"
5/30/03
  • It's the Bob Morrison Show!

    • To: bob@morrisonagency.com
      Subject: Equifax, full disclosure
      Date: 5/30/03, 5:17 AM

      'Couple o' things, before you get started, Bob.

      You're up-- at http://creditaccuracy.com/index.htm#bob-o-rino

      and

      http://creditaccuracy.com/0004.htm

      Did they tell you about that problem before you took their account? Good luck; I wasn't able to convince them.

      I would copy Chapman but I don't have his email address. Please get this right over to him.

      Thanks.

      Greg Fisher
      the author of a play in three acts
      Act 1: creditscoring.com
      Act 2: creditaccuracy.com

    • "Equifax hires ad agency to raise visibility" - "'I'm fortunate that Atlanta is blessed with some damn fine ad agencies.'" (hint to the Bobster: Keep Mr. Chapman out of the spotlight. He swears with bad grammar.)
    • Equifax spends money on advertising instead of correcting their full-disclosure-as-required-by-law problem. You must misunderstand what they're "doing": "The goal is 'to create a corporate profile of the company and educate the world on the good things Equifax is doing,' Morrison said."
    • Equifax has a problem: "We are brand building specialists who solve marketing problems with innovative solutions and powerful creative." (Powerful creative what?)

  • Would you take advice from this man? - "If you're worried about that, Norm Magnuson of the Consumer Data Industry Association recommends bringing it up yourself during job interviews."
  • NY Times: "Surprise Jumps in Credit Rates Bring Scrutiny" - "'This really is an outrageous gimmick to jack card companies' profits up,' said Representative Sanders, an Independent and the ranking minority member of the House subcommittee holding hearings to review the law."
  • The Bill on the Hill: S.660
    • Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) proposes changing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (calling it "Re-Authorization" and "Economic Opportunity Protection")
    • Press release: "Johnson Introduces Bill to Re-Authorize the Fair Credit Reporting Act"
    • Our old buddy, Oscar: "Marquis, however, would not be so quick to jettison current law: 'I think the … [federal provisions have] worked, and if you let states change the law in any of the areas pre-empted, you don’t know what the unintended consequences are' to the economy."

      Oscar, Oscar, Oscar. Insurance is regulated by the states, and nobody's crying about how bad that is for the economy.

  • The Partnership to Protect Consumer Credit (or The Guys Who Spend a Lot of Money Advertising in Washington, But Not in Kokomo)
    • Ralph Nader: "Credit Reporting" - "... In this case, Congress can help consumers by doing nothing. Even this Congress should be able to manage that task."
    • The Hill - The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress: "These organizations have formed an ad hoc interest group called the Partnership to Protect Consumer Credit, which has taken out advertisements in Washington, D.C., subways and publications."

  • You dig? Indianapolis Star: "IRS analysts dig for data" - "'We don't get a whole lot of information,' said analyst Shelli Fletcher. 'I'm a digger. I really like digging to see what I can find. I can find anything or everything about a person'... Searching public records and databases such as Equifax, analysts pull out as much financial and personal information as possible."
5/16/03
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act and the 2004 thing
    • U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs: The May 15 "Hearing on "Overview of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Issues Presented by the Re-authorization of the Expiring Preemption Provisions" is postponed to May 20. (video)
    • U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit: Hearing entitled “The Importance of the National Credit Reporting System to Consumers and the U.S. Economy”

      • The AP: "The House Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Rep. Michael G. Oxley, already has begun hearings on the FCRA renewal. The Ohio Republican termed it this year's 'job No. 1.'"
      • Reuters: "The Bush administration stopped short of endorsing renewal of laws that set national standards for businesses who share the financial information of their customers, saying Congress must balance the flow of financial information with consumer protection."
      • The Bush administration:
        "No one sitting in this hearing room is immune from identity theft. Undoubtedly, there are many here who have been victimized or know someone who has. There may be some here who are being victimized right now and won’t know of it for several more weeks or months."
  • The Hartford Courant:
    • "A Credit Trap For Consumers"
      "A four-month investigation by The Courant has found that the nation's credit reporting business is built on a system so seriously flawed that costly errors are inevitable. A much-heralded congressional reform effort seven years ago has done little to repair the broken system or to hold credit bureaus accountable, the investigation found."
    • "'We met with the loan officer,' Deccy recalled, 'and he said, `You only have one little problem: One of your reports came back that you were dead.''"
    • This website, creditaccuracy.com, is mentioned:
      Greg Fisher of Dayton, Ohio, who runs a one-man crusade against the credit agencies at his website, creditaccuracy.com, recently complained to the FTC about problems with his credit report. The commission responded with a four-page form letter that summarized the Fair Credit Reporting Act and ended with this advice: "If you believe that the FCRA has been violated, we suggest that you consult a private attorney or a local legal services organization."

      But getting a lawyer might not be much help, either.

    • "It took an unusually long six weeks to get a copy of his credit report from Experian."
    • "It would take Leveille the next decade - and the involvement of U.S. Secret Service agents - to get her file clean with the credit bureaus."
    • Associated Press: "Inexact computer matches and inconsistent reporting by businesses create a credit-reporting system so flawed that expensive errors are inevitable, The Hartford Courant reported."

  • Big money: Partnership to Protect Consumer Credit (or If a Famous Guy like Jody Powell Called You, Wouldn't You Want to Talk to Him?)
    • The Hill: Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick (Weber Shandwick positioning statement: "the power to influence outcomes") client: Partnership to Protect Consumer Credit
    • The "Partnership"'s "Who we are" page doesn't say who the partnership's partners are. But the members' page does. Includes the CDIA.
    • Phunny phones: Called 202-783-1627 10 am, 5/12/03 and got an anserwing machine. Looked up the person's name from the search and found a PARKING COMPANY. Looked up the domain ("Record created on 10-Feb-2003. Database last updated on 12-May-2003 10:13:43 EDT.") and found this number: 703-777-7777. Called that number and got a SHUTTLE COMPANY.
5/10/03
  • creditaccuracy.com: Case 4 continues. "The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that you disclose to me all the information in my file, but you did not." No response.
  • PRNewswire: "TransUnion Inquiry Analysis provides all available input information from credit inquiries performed within the last 90 days by other TransUnion subscribers."
  • U.S. PIRG: "Credit Reports, Credit Bureaus, Credit Scores and Identity Theft" - "Here's how to track down the Big Three: (Contact us at uspirg@pirg.org if these numbers are changed. They do it all the time. Good luck with their voice mail jails.)"
5/9/03
  • creditaccuracy.com: Case 4. They don't get to be a Case unless they're contemptible.
  • Consumer Federation of America: "FIRST-EVER STUDY OF CREDIT COUNSELING FINDS HIGH FEES, BAD ADVICE AND OTHER ABUSES BY NEW BREED OF 'NON-PROFIT' AGENCIES"
  • FORTUNE: "Credit Bureaus Exposed" "(1) Who are these guys? and (2) Who put them in charge anyway?"
  • NBC11, San Francisco: "Innovis is a secret credit bureau... "
  • In the UK: Guardian: "Critics say that Experian's phenomenal expansion into the lives of almost every citizen in Britain has been achieved with the public barely noticing."
  • Associated Press: "In the most famous case, a Choice-Point subsidiary mistakenly flagged hundreds of eligible voters for removal from Florida's voter rolls in 2000."
  • Denver Post: "Credit report agencies sued for alleged errors" - "'It's fine for them to violate federal law, I guess because they're a large credit reporting agency, was sort of what I came away with from the conversation,' [the plaintiff] said."
4/4/03
  • Justice
    • Update, Bankruptcy notation
      • Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Bankruptcy-reporting process to be refined"
        Attorneys for the plaintiffs have asked that Franklin Clark, a South Carolinian who is the lead plaintiff, be granted a $1,000 award for taking that role.

        The five-member plaintiffs' legal team will get $15 million.

      • AJC: "Federal judge to clarify rules for credit reporting companies" - "In addition to changes in the affected credit reports, each of the affected consumers would be offered a free credit report."
    • Update, Thomas v. TransUnion: "Real-estate agent Judy Thomas tried for six years to get TransUnion to remove another woman’s bad credit history from her credit report. Thomas finally won a $5.3 million lawsuit against the credit bureau. The judge later reduced the award to $1.3 million, but hey, Thomas made her point."
  • In the UK: "According to Equifax, the credit reference agency, a considerable number of people are turned down for no reason other than they do not appear on the electoral register."
  • "Credit Reporting Companies Obstruct Positive Credit History Reports" - "Credit reporting companies readily accept negative credit reports, but require positive credit report submissions in batches of 100, preventing many microlenders from reporting."
1/31/03
  • Bankruptcy notation
    • January 30 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Equifax, rival move to settle credit-data suit" - "The companies agreed to stop using a bankruptcy notation on the credit reports of individuals who have not filed for bankruptcy but are co-signers for people who have, according to attorneys and others familiar with the negotiations."
    • January 18 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Experian agreed to remove the bankruptcy designation from the credit records of about 1.6 million consumers, and not to use it again, attorneys and others close to the negotiations said Friday."
    • December 16 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Credit report suit puts Equifax, rivals in hot seat" By DAVID MCNAUGHTON Staff Writer - "His case has evolved into a class action suit that involves millions of consumers and damage claims in the billions... People eligible to join the class action suit will be notified by Feb. 17, 2003."
  • California, identity theft, blocking your credit file
    • State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs, Office of Privacy Protection: "New Law Lets Consumers Freeze Credit Files"
    • San Francisco Chronicle: "Blocking credit files no breeze"
  • Innovis (also, see Innovis, 9/11/01 Updates, and search this page and Updates for "CBC" and "Innovis.")
    • Andrew Shain, The Charlotte Observer: "And Innovis' Web site did not include information for consumers to get a copy of their credit report until this week, just a few days after I e-mailed questions to company officials."
    • January 3, Fox 2, St. Louis: "Joel Winston from the Federal Trade Commission says, 'They do maintain credit information about consumers, and consumers do have a right to see those reports and correct any errors'... Innovis declines an on-camera interview, but issued a statement saying 'INNOVIS IS NOT INVOLVED IN PROVIDING SERVICES THAT CAN RESULT IN THE DENIAL OF APPLICATIONS FOR CREDIT, INSURANCE OR EMPLOYMENT'... We've found a number to call to see what Innovis has on file about you. It's 800-457-0247."
    • January 22, NBC 5, Chicago: "'They do maintain credit information about consumers, and consumers do have a right to see those reports and correct any errors,' said Joel Winston of the Federal Trade Commission... But while the big three offer credit histories online for consumers to check, Innovis doesn't have a link, a phone number, or any information about how to get in touch with the company."
1/11/03
  • Case 2:
    • No response from TransUnion, so a letter was sent to the regulator, a journalist, a consumer advocate, two congressmen and a senator.
    • New evidence: TransUnion charges more than the $9.00 allowed by law; violation exposed by their own bungling.
  • Washington Post, Kenneth R. Harney: "FTC Policing Accuracy of Credit Files" - "A low-key settlement with a mortgage company announced by the Federal Trade Commission at the close of 2002 has broad significance for home buyers and borrowers in 2003."
1/5/03
  • creditaccuracy.com Case 3 is released
  • Equifax, responding to Consumer Federation of America study: "The U.S. credit reporting system is the envy of the world." (see The Credit Scoring Site, 12/18 update)
  • St. Petersburg Times political editor: "The stolen self" - "Credit issuers and credit bureaus make it much easier for people to pile up debt than for victims to clear their names and credit."
  • FTC announces no change in credit file disclosure price: "As detailed in the notice, which will be published shortly, the ceiling on allowable charges for certain disclosures under the FCRA, Section 612(a)(1)(A), will remain at $9.00 during 2003."
12/12/02
  • So, if you need an apartment, you're out of luck: - "The Bureau Direct method is a newly-released process from each of the three repositories that allows mortgage brokers— with proof and the affiliated credit reporting company's validation— to have significant errors found on a consumer's credit report changed."
  • TransUnion (formerly Trans Union)
    • Crain's Chicago Business: "Pritzker family at odds over biz strategy" - "Members of the billionaire Pritzker family have agreed to split up the estimated $15-billion family fortune, possibly leading to a public offering by hotelier Hyatt Corp. and a sell off of the privately held Marmon Group."
    • quicken.com: "Chicago's Pritzker family is planning to break up its $15 billion empire by liquidating many holdings and perhaps taking public the Hyatt Corp. hotel chain, as part of a financial settlement reached with dissident members of the intensely private family, people close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal."
    • Forbes: "Liesel Pritzker, Meet Meadow Soprano" - "The family also controls industrial companies, real estate, cruise lines, banks, mining, railroads and the TransUnion credit bureau."
    • New York Times: "Knives Drawn for a $15 Billion Pritzker Family Pie" - "Since the trust among the cousins has cracked, a committee of outsiders — Arnold Weber, former president of Northwestern University; Newton Minow, a Northwestern law professor who once chaired the Federal Communications Commission; and Michael Sovern, president emeritus of Columbia — were brought in to help interpret the cousins' pact and mediate disputes."
    • USA TODAY: "Pritzker daughter sues family that owns Hyatt chain" - "If things sour, the lawsuit, which asks for $1 billion plus $5 billion in punitive damages, could wind up causing the assets to be divided."
    • Newsday: "Hyatt IPO May Settle Family Squabble" - "The Pritzkers decided last year to divide up its investments after some family members threatened lawsuits over control of Hyatt's vast holdings, the person said."
    • Bloomberg Business News: "A year ago, Superior Bank FSB, a Chicago-area thrift the Pritzker family co-owned, agreed to pay the government $460 million."
    • Chicago Sun-Times:
      • "Private Pritzkers 'regret' actress filed suit" - "Whatever the outcome of a lawsuit filed by actress Liesel Pritzker against her famous family, it has already accomplished something virtually nothing else has: It's gotten them to talk.
      • "Pritzkers may scale back fiscal empire" - "The lawsuit marked the culmination of hard feelings between Liesel, now 18, and her father, who sued to keep her from appearing in a Hollywood movie, 'A Little Princess.'"
      • "Suits expose Pritzker fights" - "What sets their tussles apart is the seeming willingness to turn to the courts at the slightest provocation."
    • MSNBC: "Pritzker family to divide empire" - "The new arrangement could also mean that the many of the industrial businesses and other assets that the Pritzkers control through Marmon Group are likely to be sold, the newspaper said."
    • AP: "Assets belonging to her trust funds were sold off by her father, 76-year-old business executive Robert Pritzker, at below-market prices and transferred to trusts benefiting other family members, the lawsuit said."
    • "In a statement to the court, Robert Pritzker said: 'This is a family matter and we are not going to comment other than to say that it is sad when a daughter, who is a beneficiary of great family wealth and tremendous advantage, sues her father and other members of her family.'"
11/26/02
  • Case 2: The ridiculous, ongoing cat-and-mouse contest:
    "You did not answer this question from my last letter: What is your supervisor’s name and mailing address? Answer that question. My dispute with you, on your level, is unresolved: My credit reports are still incomplete."
  • wweek.com: "Rogue of the Week: TransUnion" - "If that doesn't ding the company into sanity, we're not sure what will."
  • "Shoe sparked ID theft probe" - "The failure of a Mount Vernon woman to say what size shoe she wanted may have tripped up the three men charged in the largest identity theft case in U.S. history."
  • "Backround checks required by Boy Scouts" - "The organization’s national executive council engaged ChoicePoint, a background-checking division of the consumer data management corporation Equifax, to handle the job, which scouting will call VolunteerSelect, Shields said."
  • USA TODAY: "Consumers boost credit-score industry" - "Still, he says, the boom in consumer sales raises issues of fair pricing of credit histories, which ultimately belong to the consumer anyway."
11/26/02
  • Case 2: The ridiculous, ongoing cat-and-mouse contest:
    Consumer: "What is your supervisor's name and mailing address?"
    TransUnion: "Please be informed that at this time NACLVD/GLHEC... is no longer being reported to our database."
  • Innovis
    • Bankrate.com: "The credit report you don't know about " - "The Innovis Web site does not provide an address for consumers to request a copy of their Innovis credit report... When Greg Fisher, author of The Credit Scoring Site, sought the address for consumers to request their Innovis credit files, Price told him it was: PO Box 219297, Houston, TX, 77218-99297."
    • Freddie Mac: Effective date, January 2, 2001: "Addition of Innovis Data Solutions, Inc. to Exhibit 51, Credit Repositories and Information to Report"

    See Innovis, 9/11/01 Updates, and search this page and Updates for "CBC" and "Innovis."

  • TransUnion FICO score
    • Fair, Isaac: TransUnion FICO scores available to consumers through myFICO [alt, 2014-09-04]
    • TransUnion press release, November 18, 2002
    • ? - "TransUnion Consumer Solutions (TCS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransUnion... "
  • Ford and Experian (see 9/29/02 updates)
    • A.P.: "U.S. Charges 3 in Historic ID Theft Case" - "Federal authorities broke up what they called the biggest identity theft case in U.S. history and charged three men Monday with stealing credit information, draining victims' bank accounts and ruining their credit."
    • FINANCIAL TIMES: "Thousands of credit reports were stolen from companies including Washington Mutual Bank in Florida, Washington Mutual Finance Company in Tennessee and Dollar Bank in Cleveland."
    • Canadian Press: "They said thousands of other credit reports were stolen from companies such as Washington Mutual Finance Co. in Crossville, Tenn.; Dollar Bank in Cleveland; Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Illinois; the Personal Finance Co. in Frankfort, Ind.; the Medical Bureau in Clearwater, Fla.; Vintage Apartments in Houston; and Community Bank of Chaska in Chaska, Minn."
    • LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer: "More than 15,000 credit reports were stolen using passwords belonging to Ford Motor Credit Corp. to access information from Experian, a commercial credit history bureau, officials said. Credit reports also were stolen from other companies, authorities said."
    • Newsday: "The scheme involved getting access to the computer systems of the three major credit reporting companies -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- Comey said... Kate Rears, a director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington privacy watchdog, said Teledata's relative mom-and-pop status and its easily accessed Web-based services are red flags."
    • "Comey said many victims may not yet know they were defrauded. He urged consumers to pay closer attention to their financial statements and credit histories and learn how to protect themselves through the Federal Trade Commission's Web site."
    • Video - MSNBC: "The big three credit agencies distanced themselves from the issue Monday, saying they don’t work directly with companies like Teledata."
    • NEWS.COM/CNET: "TCI declined to comment."
10/13/02
  • EQUIFAX PURCHASES CONSUMER CREDIT FILES FROM CBC COMPANIES, INC.
    "Equifax has a long and successful track record in acquiring and integrating independent credit reporting affiliates. The purchase of data files and customer contracts from CBC is consistent with this strategy and is the largest such transaction to date."
    See Innovis, 9/11/01 Updates, and search this page and Updates for "CBC" and "Innovis."
  • "'The combination of Naviant's unique email database with Equifax's extensive marketing data and technology clearly positions Equifax as the pre-eminent leader in the eMarketing field,' said Thomas F. Chapman, Equifax chairman and CEO."
  • "Learn how to develop a financial plan, including insurance, credit card management and savings plans from Trans Union, a company specializing in financial management." If you want to act as an expert and play Public Affairs, figure out Case 2, first. What do you say Mr. Richman?
  • In the UK:"Hundreds of thousands of people have been hit by the dispute, automatically turned down for credit cards and mortgages because finance companies cannot confirm their identity through Experian or Equifax."
9/29/02
  • Ford and Experian
    • "'I've never seen anything of this size,' a spokesman for Experian, Donald Girard, said."
    • May 16 - Associated Press: "The credit files included social security numbers, addresses, account numbers, creditor names and payment history — everything needed to commit credit fraud."
    • May 16 - By Mark Truby, The Detroit News: "Thieves downloaded the consumers' credit files between April 2001 and February."
    • May 17 - CNN/MONEY: "Ford Credit said it contacted Experian after the automaker received a phone call about an unauthorized credit check in February, which appeared as though it was made by Ford Motor Credit."
    • "Ford said consumers who discover any fraudulent entries should contact the Detroit office of the FBI or call a Ford hotline: (888) 838-8176, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. CDT, Monday through Saturday."
    • May 17 - "EPIC's Rotenberg said the breach, the latest in a line of similar hacks and exposures, is evidence that privacy legislation is needed."
    • May 17 - "Letters to the 13,000 people, 400 of whom were Ford credit customers, were mailed out in the last three weeks, Ford Motor Credit spokesperson Melinda Wilson told NewsFactor."
    • May 28 - Experian, Ford Still Unsure How Hacker Stole 13,000 Credit Reports
    • May 29 - MSNBC: "Most victims weren’t customers of Ford Credit; the identity thieves simply used Ford’s name to get credit reports on victims living in affluent neighborhoods, according to the Detroit News, which first reported the theft."
    • "While Experian may be able to cancel the stolen Ford IDs, those consumers will never be able to put their genies back into the bottle."
    • September 19, U.S. House Subcommittee hearing - testimony and statement of Legislative Counsel, Electronic Privacy Information Center: "Earlier this year, Experian, one of the principal credit reporting agencies, experienced an unprecedented breach of security involving individuals' personal information."
    • Search of Experian's Web site for "Ford" (no mention)
    • Search of Ford's Web site for "Experian" (no mention)
  • Dolan
    • "Dolan Information is considered a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) and complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)."
    • "Our extensive public record data is used by credit bureaus, tenant-screening agencies, mail houses, and other businesses to make smarter decisions and manage risk."
9/14/02
  • Case 2 Update: The credit reporting agency's response was so odd, it forced a demand by the consumer to undo the damage (restore the account). The original dispute remains unresolved, and is exacerbated by the strange action.
  • National Consumer Law Center: "Everything You Need to Litigate a FCRA Case"
9/7/02
  • Case 2 Update: Failed to provide a complete disclosure. The ridiculous first-line defense nonsense: "Please be informed that [the account] is currently not being reported on your TransUnion Credit file."
  • BusinessWeek: Who's Policing the Credit Cops? - If bad info gets into your report, correcting it can be a Kafkaesque nightmare. What's needed: Easier access and stronger laws
8/20/02
  • Mailbag, re: Arthur Andersen:
    From:
    To: Nmagnuson@cdiaonline.org
    Cc: gfisher@erinet.com
    Subject: Information
    Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 18:19:33 -0400

    I think that a reply of some type to Mr. Fisher's e-mail is appropriate.

  • SOME REFLECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS ON THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT - By Edmund Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director, U.S. PIRG
8/18/02
  • Search FTC (the regulator) site for
  • "For instance, one bureau gathered data through such means as sponsoring local welcome wagon ladies, who greet newcomers and report back to credit bureaus their former residence (so that a credit file can be obtained from the previous locale) and their "worthiness" for credit." - from "Computers and Social Change: Information, Property, and Power" (Web Edition), Chapter 10.2.3.1 Government Data Collection, by By Judith A. Perrolle, Associate Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University, Boston
  • Credit Tool Kit (includes "History of Credit Reporting"), farwest-credit.com
8/16/02
  • "Business Review," Federal Rerserve Board Philadelphia: "What's in the File? The Economics and Law of Consumer Credit Bureaus"
  • On the Federal Reserve web site: "An Overview and History of Credit Reporting" by Mark Furletti, June 2002
  • "Credit Information Reporting: Why Free Speech is Vital to Social Accountability and Consumer Opportunity" by Daniel b. Klein, Santa Clara University - "Activist groups like U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Consumers Union smear credit bureaus for being irresponsible gossipers, but they pay no attention to the social accountability function that that accusation would imply." (.pdf)
  • "Part One: Databases Online: What Is Already Known" - "Equifax - already dinged for bad practices in 1977 - found itself in trouble with the FTC again in 1995 - this time on charges much like those from 18 years before."
  • "Credit-Reporting Agencies: Their Historical Roots, Current Status, and Role in Market Development" by Rowena Olegario, University of Michigan Business School
8/14/02
  • (as Case 2 continues) More on Thomas v. Trans Union, U.S. District Court - Oregon
    • Comedy arrow10.gif - 5.4 K L.A. Times: Woman Blazed a Paper Trail to Clear Her Credit - "The company maintained at that trial that Myra could be a nickname for Maria."
    • Benjamin "Ben" Dover: "Judy Thomas stung the clowns from the worst reporting agency on the planet... "
  • BusinessWeek: The Pritzkers' Empire Trembles
  • When TransUnion was still Trans Union
  • Mailbag: "Stop whining and get on with it."
8/4/02
  • (as Case 2 continues) More on Thomas v. Trans Union, U.S. District Court - Oregon
    • Associated Press: "The company was not answering its telephones Tuesday."
    • The Oregonian: Victory against credit agency a 'wake-up call' - "In court, Trans Union officials said they ask applicable staff members to aim for nine reinvestigations an hour... Consumer attorneys say the practice leads to inadequate attempts to clean up incorrect credit histories."
    • Privacy.Org: Oregon Woman Gets $5.3 Million for Credit Reporting Company Errors
    • CBS News, The Early Show: Mistaken Identity In Credit Report
      • "There was no place to finish except through litigation."
      • Video
        • Host Jane Clayson: "Your story's so scary on so many levels..."
        • The plaintiff on the errors: "I don't know that it's over."
        • You can't buy better advertising. Our federal government regulator advises giving them more money: The Early Show guest Barbara Anthony, Federal Trade Commission recommends getting two credit reports per year (a mixed message: Here's an FTC document which states, "Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every year."). So, that's 2 reports times 3 main credit reporting agencies times $9 each times 180 million consumers = a whopping $9.7 billion. Lovely. If credit file accuracy gets worse, the FTC might recommend three, four-- then five times per year. So, one more time: They get it wrong, and you're supposed to pay them so you can help them get it right.

          Fun with numbers

          • "The Chicago-based company is privately held, but according to accounts of testimony during Thomas' trial, Trans Union brings in about $200 million annually in revenues."
          • Equifax 2001 revenue: $1.1 billion.
          • "Experian North America's annual sales are more than $1 billion."
          • Previous fun with numbers
    • TransUnion press release page with no statement on the verdict
    • David Horowitz, fightback.com: "According to Thomas' attorney... , 'It's a reflection of the fact that credit reporting systems often don't have the proper mechanisms in place to correct a problem even after it's been identified and proven to be inaccurate by the consumer.'"
    • Portland ABC affiliate, channel 2, KATU TV: "'They did ruin my life, they did their very best to ruin my life,' says Thomas of Trans Union." (with video)
  • Other cases (also, see Legal Action page)
  • Search FindLaw for all circuit court opinions, Trans Union, TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, TRW (now Experian), Innovis
  • COUSIN v TRANS UNION CORP
  • Jorgensen v. TRW (same lawyer as Thomas v. Trans Union)
  • Evaluating Credit Reporting Errors for Litigation, by Fred Miller, the UAW Legal Services newsletter The Advocate - "A deposition of a former employee of Experian, taken by a Louisiana FCRA specialist and recently circulated among attorneys handling these cases, documents some poor practices at that agency, including the reporting of public record information, such as judgments, knowing that too little information was available to accurately identify the person."
  • Innovis and dates - FTC document: "Early Termination Date: 04/14/1999, Acquiring Person: CBC Companies, Inc."

    In 2001, Houston Chronicle reporter Shannon Buggs wrote, "So, you can't call up Innovis and order your credit file, says Eric Duhon, Innovis' chief information officer."

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request, and subject to 610(a)(1) [§ 1681h], clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer: (1) All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request... " 7/31/02

    • The Oregonian: Jury awards woman $5 million for credit bureau mistake - "The verdict against Chicago-based credit reporting firm Trans Union was the largest amount ever awarded for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act... Trans Union is expected to appeal the verdict... " (law firm)
    • Case 2, TransUnion: Certified mail confirmation, date of delivery: 07/24/02
    7/22/02
    • Case 2: TransUnion's failure to disclose all information upon issuing a consumer disclosure
      • Letter to TransUnion president, 7/22/02: "Other companies gave me-- and others-- information in my TransUnion file that you failed to give me... What are you going to do to make your consumer disclosures complete?"
      • Document that shows the missing information and proves the case (download it to your hard drive-- it may not exist tomorrow and witnesses may be necessary): "The TransUnion Credit Report Training Guide" (http://www.openonline.com/pdf/tu_guide.pdf)
      • Federal law requiring credit reporting agencies to disclose to the consumer "All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request... "
    • National Association of Consumer Advocates
    6/29/02 6/22/02
    • Arthur Andersen and the credit reportng industry
      • CDIA, April 15, 2002: "Notwithstanding the fact that Andersen--the corporate entity--has yet to be found guilty of anything."
      • MSNBC, June 15, 2002: Arthur Andersen guilty of obstruction
    • Innovis and fun with dates
      • Freddie Mac Bulletin, October 6, 2000: Effective date: January 2, 2001 - "Addition of Innovis Data Solutions, Inc. to Exhibit 51, Credit Repositories and Information to Report... We are updating Exhibit 51 to include Innovis Data Solutions, Inc. as an additional credit repository to which you must report."
      • Innovis states, "In April of 1999, CBC Companies purchased Innovis Inc. from First Data Corporation," but on July 16th, 2001, Houston Chronicle reporter Shannon Buggs wrote, "So, you can't call up Innovis and order your credit file, says Eric Duhon, Innovis' chief information officer."
    6/12/02
    • Trans Union still doesn't get it
      • "The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied."
        • KENNEDY, J., dissenting: "The company’s demise will have adverse effects on both the national economy and petitioner’s thousands of employees."
          Justices Kennedy and O'Connor, please read about this embarrassingly obvious Trans Union folly.
        • United States Court of Appeals:
          • "Having considered and rejected Trans Union's other arguments, we deny the petition for review."
          • "But because of the utter incoherence of Trans Union's briefs... "
      • Dow Jones: High Court Rebuffs Trans Union Appeal
      • AP: Supreme Court Rejects Case Testing Consumer Privacy Rights
      • wired, April, 2001: Court: No Selling Credit Data
      • FTC, March, 2000: Trans Union's Sale of Personal Credit Information Violates Fair Credit Reporting Act, FTC Rules
      • privacy.org: Supreme Court Appeal Denied in Profiling Case
    • Federal Reserve: PERSPECTIVES ON CREDIT SCORING AND FAIR MORTGAGE LENDING - Fourth of a Five-Part Series
    • Credit reporting industry association CDIA: "The new network, E-OSCAR, is the Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting."
    5/22/02
    • Case 2
      • FCRA: "Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request, and subject to 610(a)(1) [§ 1681h], clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer: (1) All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request... "
      • Disclosure to the consumer obtained directly from Trans Union showing the dates of only two late payments
      • Disclosure to others showing the dates of eight late payments
      • Trans Union claiming they don't have the dates.
    • Correspondence with the credit bureau trade association regarding Arthur Andersen study (including 5/21/02 certified mail).
    4/24/02
    • Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 08:45:48 -0400
      From: Greg Fisher
      To: Magnuson

      Are you there?



      Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 12:10:35 -0400
      From: Greg Fisher
      To: Magnuson

      Please respond.

      Ask for a response.

    • Consumer credit counseling - Georgetown University Credit Research Center study
      • Subject: Impact of Credit Counseling study statistics
        Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 08:26:59 -0400
        From: Greg Fisher (gfisher@erinet.com)
        To: "Michael E. Staten" (statenm@msb.edu)
        CC: FORWARD TO Stephanie Wilshusen (msb-crc@msb.edu)
        CC: Gregory Elliehausen (elliehag@georgetown.edu)

        Your report gives the initial 1997 Emperica score mean as 588 (587.918).

        What is the final (2000) mean?

        creditaccuracy.com

      • Trans Union allowed the use of the FICO score, but still refuses to release it to consumers.
    4/16/02
    • Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 10:52:40 -0400
      From: "Magnuson" (NMagnuson@cdiaonline.org)
      To: (gfisher@erinet.com)

      Greg:

      The statement I e-mailed last week is appropriate. Unless somebody can argue that the Andersen study results are in question based on some statistical evidence, I think its validity in the marketplace stands. I also think it would be wrong to impugn the integrity of Andersen's entire portfolio of work through the years based on the current problems they're having. At least history would indicate there were no issues with Andersen prior to Enron. Notwithstanding the fact that Andersen--the corporate entity--has yet to be found guilty of anything.

      Norm

      Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 01:19:35 -0400
      From: Greg Fisher (gfisher@erinet.com)
      To: Magnuson (NMagnuson@cdiaonline.org)

      Your Web site says, "In the only statistically valid study conducted to date, Arthur Andersen concluded that in only two-tenths of one percent of the over 15,000 cases studied, were consumers denied a benefit based on an error in their credit report," but the Credit Report Reliability Study executive summary does not give that statistic.

      How did you arrive at that number?

    • Credit Report Reliability Study Executive Summary, February 4, 1992
    4/15/02
    • Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 11:52:24 -0400
      From: "Magnuson" (NMagnuson@cdiaonline.org)
      To: (gfisher@erinet.com)

      Greg:

      The Andersen study was undertaken in 1991 and its integrity has never been in question. To date, it is the only definitive, empirical study on accuracy based on a methodology and sample size large enough to validate the numbers.

      Best regards,

      Norm Magnuson
      202.408.7406
      202.371.0134 (Fax)
      nmagnuson@cdiaonline.org

      Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 06:56:29 -0400
      From: Greg Fisher (gfisher@erinet.com)
      To: Magnuson (NMagnuson@cdiaonline.org)

      Yet, last month, Equifax joined the companies who replaced Andersen with another accountant.

      Tomorrow on creditaccuracy.com, I'm releasing to the public the Credit Report Reliability Study Executive Summary and letter from Arthur Andersen, both dated February 4, 1992. Do you have a comment?

    • The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act and the Future of Electronic Commerce Law - "Professor Peter Swire teaches banking regulation at the Ohio State University College of Law."
    4/12/02
    • Subject: Re: credit files study
      Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 02:04:17 -0400
      From: Greg Fisher (gfisher@erinet.com)
      To: Magnuson (NMagnuson@acb-credit.com)

      Today the Wall Street Journal reports Arthur Andersen is prepared to admit that some of its partners and employees obstructed justice.

      Is the Andersen study about credit file accuracy credible?

      creditaccuracy.com

    • Innovis, a review
      • Innovis: "In April of 1999, CBC Companies purchased Innovis Inc. from First Data Corporation."

        July 2001: "So, you can't call up Innovis and order your credit file, says Eric Duhon, Innovis' chief information officer."

        October, 2001: "Innovis is a credit reporting agency and you can request a copy of your credit file."

      • Art/life - The West Wing, Josh to Donna: "Do a Google search or something."
    3/26/02
    • Subject:
      Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 18:14:10 -0600
      From: "xxxx xxxx" (xxxx@xxxx.xxx)
      To: gfisher@erinet.com

      I recieved a notice in the mail stating that I had been declined for a credit card. It listed these reasons as to why I was declined. Collection,profit and loss,foreclosure,repossession, or suit. I have never had any of these happen, so if you could please help me I would really appreciate it.

      Thanks,

      xxxx and xxxx xxxx

      Subject: Re:
      Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 06:40:54 -0500
      From: Greg Fisher (gfisher@erinet.com)
      To: xxxx xxxx (xxxx@xxxx.xxx)
      References: 1

      Fax the letter to 443-658-0426 (http://creditaccuracy.com/contact.htm).

    • How often?
      • MasterCard: Consumer Education - Credit Report Accuracy | MasterCard® - "Check your credit at the beginning of every year; six months before buying a new car or home, or other major purchase; six months before seeking a job that requires a security clearance or background check."
      • Federal government: The FTC advises all consumers to check their credit reports once a year to make sure they are accurate and complete.
      • Trans Union: You should review your credit report at least once a year to make sure the information is accurate.
      • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: "Ordering your credit report once a year and knowing your credit reporting rights are among the most important steps you can take to safeguard your privacy."
      • Fair, Isaac: "Review your credit report from each credit reporting agency at least once a year and especially before making a large purchase, like a house or car."
      • ABCNEWS.com: "Finally, it is good to review a current credit report at least once per year."
      • But, why worry? Trust Arthur Andersen! "In the only statistically valid study conducted to date, Arthur Andersen concluded that in only two-tenths of one percent of the over 15,000 cases studied, were consumers denied a benefit based on an error in their credit report."
      • Add it up: $9 x 143 million consumers (1/2 U.S. population) = $1.3 billion. Equifax revenue is only: $1.1 billion worldwide
    • Comparisons of consumer disclosures - What they acutally look like when mailed from the national CRAs
      • Equifax (?)
      • Experian (?)
      • Trans Union
      • Innovis (anybody?)
      • (In this next example of do-gooder-ship, the link to the samples is dead. It fails to list Innovis, yet Innovis states, "Innovis is a required credit repository for reporting purposes to those who are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac servicers.") Freddie Mac: CreditSmart: Credit Reports & Credit Bureaus - "Click here to view sample reports from each of the three primary credit reporting agencies (PDF format)." Here's the file with the same name as the link. Looks nothing like the reports consumers get from the national credit reporting agencies.
      • Online version on the Equifax site.
    • Epinions.com - Reviews of Credit Bureaus Credit Reports
    • PlanetFeedback (what planet are they on?)
      • Equifax rating: D. Complaints: 97.6% - Compliments: 2.4%.
      • Experian rating?
      • Trans Union rating?
    3/23/02
    • efunds Debit Report: Request your file: 888-933-8637, "Corporate office" address
      • "eFunds' DebitBureau database is the most comprehensive source of debit data available. It contains more than 3 billion records related to checking and savings account opening and closing information, checking account collections data, overdraft histories and check order histories."
      • "Debit Report supplies detailed debit summaries about consumers who have or had checking or savings accounts."
    • Deluxe
      • "ChexSystems and SCAN are the two Deluxe business units that operate as consumer reporting agencies."
      • Ordering Your SCAN Report
    • JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ALLOWS EXPANSION OF CREDIT INFORMATION EXCHANGE AMONGST TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIERS AND OTHER UTILITIES
    • Trade association to FTC: "... In addition, the FTC's proposal is in contrast to the guidelines issued by the federal banking agencies and appears to be at odds with the GLB Act itself... "

      [Extra (a quote from the same statement): "Finally, the FCRA provides for civil and criminal liability for any person who obtains a consumer report under false pretenses, and also provides that officers and employees of consumer reporting agencies can be prosecuted criminally for knowing and willful disclosure of consumer information that is not expressly authorized by the FCRA. Sections 616, 619, 620."]

    • Arthur Andersen
      • Who do you believe?
        • Member of Congress: "In fact, some studies have shown that up to one third of credit reports could contain serious mistakes."
        • Consumer group: "Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the credit reports contained serious errors - false delinquencies or accounts that did not belong to the consumer - that could result in the denial of credit... "
        • Credit reporting information industry trade association: "In the only statistically valid study conducted to date, Arthur Andersen concluded that in only two-tenths of one percent of the over 15,000 cases studied, were consumers denied a benefit based on an error in their credit report." (also, see Updates, Arthur Andersen - Fun with numbers, and creditscoring.com - The Rhubarb)
      • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA against ARTHUR ANDERSEN, LLP
      • Freddie Mac: "PWC replaces Arthur Andersen LLP ("Arthur Andersen")."
      • Chicago Tribune, 3/16/02: "Chicago-based Andersen has lost more than 40 clients this year... "
      • Andersen:
        • March 15, 2002: "The indictment of Arthur Andersen, LLP is riddled with factual and legal errors establishing that the government's case entirely lacks substance."
        • March 14, 2002: "Given the circumstances in this case, this is a gross abuse of government power."
    • Medical Information Bureau: Request Your Record
    • Auto insurance, ChoicePoint C.L.U.E.: "More than 95 percent of insurers writing automobile coverage provide claims data to the C.L.U.E. Personal Auto database."
    3/11/02
    • TOBY D. NELSON, v. CHASE MANHATTAN MORTGAGE CORP.
      • Las Vegas Review-Journal: Consumers get right to sue over incorrect credit data - "At the trial court level, attorneys for Chase argued that the act didn't allow private citizens to sue banks that provide erroneous credit information."
      • Court opinion: FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
        "... As counsel for the FTC observed, there are involved in any credit transaction only the consumer, the CRAs, the user of the credit reports and the furnishers of the credit information. As consumers would not be made subject to suit by consumers, and as CRAs and users were already suable, who else except furnishers could Congress have had in mind when it introduced "any person" into the statute? Where, other than under § 1681s-2(b) would furnishers be suable by consumers? In oral argument, counsel for Chase conceded that Chase had no answers to these questions... "
      • FTC
        • Supports consumer: Amicus Curiae Briefs or Partial Interventions - "Amicus brief supporting appellant and urging reversal of the dismissal, filed 7/21/00."
        • March, 1999:
          Q. Do I have the right to sue for damages?

          A. You may sue a CRA, a user or -- in some cases -- a provider of CRA data, in state or federal court for most violations of the FCRA. If you win, the defendant will have to pay damages and reimburse you for attorney fees to the extent ordered by the court.

      • PIRG: Recommendations For Policymakers:
        State and federal credit reporting laws should provide for $1000 mandatory minimum statutory damages to consumers for violation for credit reporting laws by credit bureaus or furnishers, rather than the current requirement that consumers tediously prove actual damages in each complaint. Also, consumers should have a private right of action to sue furnishers of information for any pertinent violation of the FCRA, as they only have in Massachusetts and California.
      • Federal Reserve: "Consumers have the right to sue credit-reporting agencies, users, and providers in state and federal court for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act."
      • bankrate.com, 1999: Consumers can sue credit bureaus over bad data - "The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs credit reporting, says that only a state's attorney general can sue a creditor for furnishing inaccurate information."
      • Washington Post, 1996: "You wons't be able to sue your creditors for mistakes. Lawsuits will generally be possible, however, if they don't correct a mistake you've shown them or if they reinsert erroneous data in your file. This should make sloppy creditors careful. "

    • A consumer's testimony from the congressional archives:
      I entered the Fannie Mae Foundation Essay contest by writing an essay about what it means to own a home. I was pleased when I won and was awarded $1,000 toward the closing costs upon the purchase of my new home.

      I was horrified to find out when I went to Home Bank to get a loan that I could not get financing. I soon found out that the greater bulk of the financial institutions today have a stringent set of rules, a sort of "in the box" way of thinking. When the average person comes to these types of organizations seeking a mortgage they better line up exactly in the box or they will go home empty handed. I tried again and again. Pultie Realty turned me down with even my VA eligibility backing me up.

      I was ready to give up on my dream of home ownership. Then I was referred to a mortgage broker by the Realtor at the subdivision. Promethean Finance Inc. is a small mortgage brokerage firm in Marietta Georgia. John Harris took on my loan and amazed me with his dedication. No where else would anyone really consider the tough times I had gone through. John’s first comment was that it would be tough but he believed I should be doable.

      From that point, John has helped me settle out the remainder of my small collection accounts. Helped me correct the inaccurate information on my credit report that is adversely affecting my credit score, and he has been an overall support and information source throughout this whole process.

    3/4/02
    • Arthur Andersen (also, see Updates, Arthur Andersen - Fun with numbers, and creditscoring.com - The Rhubarb)
      • NAII: "Studies by Arthur Andersen and the Insurance Research Council show that credit reports are more reliable than motor vehicle records."
      • Progressive: You should know that a study of 15,000 credit reports by Arthur Andersen found that only two percent contained disputed information.
      • Christian Science Monitor: "Serious errors on even 0.2 percent of credit reports is a huge number, several hundred thousand Americans. And the reports remain the No. 1 source of consumer complaints to the FTC... 'Perfection is unlikely,' [the FTC's] Mr. Medine says, 'but a high error rate is unacceptable.'"
    • Legislation (see TRW INC. v. ANDREWS)
      • H.R.3368, Sponsor: Rep Schakowsky, Janice D.(introduced 11/28/2001) "To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act with respect to statute of limitations on actions."
      • S.1723 (introduced 11/16/2001), "A bill to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act with respect to the statute of limitations on actions."
      • H.R.3387 (introduced 11/30/2001), "To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to extend the limitation on actions, and for other purposes."
      • H.R.3369 (introduced 11/28/2001),"To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide that the statute of limitations begins to run when a violation is first discovered by a consumer."
    • Mail: "We live in Canada."
    • TransUnion
      • "Our database houses pertinent data on over 280 million individuals... Covers virtually every adult and market-active household in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands... Monitored and audited to achieve uncompromising accuracy."
      • U.S. population per Census 2/24/02: 286,509,302 (that includes children, right?)
    2/3/02 1/29/02
    • EPIC v. DoJ, et al. (Private Sector Profiling Companies FOIA): LAWSUIT SEEKS INFORMATION ON LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY PURCHASES OF "PROFILING" DATA - "ChoicePoint and Experian are selling profiles on citizens with little public awareness or oversight."
    • Congress: (see TRW v. ANDREWS)
      • H. R. 3387: "IN GENERAL- Section 618 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681p) is amended by striking `within two years from the date on which the liability arises' and inserting `before the end of the 3-year period beginning on the date by which the violation giving rise to the liability is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered by the consumer'."
      • H. R. 3369: - "To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide that the statute of limitations begins to run when a violation is first discovered by a consumer."
    • Trade association name change: "Welcome to the CDIA, formerly the Associated Credit Bureaus."
    1/16/02
    • Bureau rates Bureau (Innovis): "Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to unresolved complaint(s)."
    • Stevenson v. TRW: "We affirm the award of $30,000 in actual damages based upon the finding of mental anguish. We also affirm the award of $20,700 in attorney's fees."
    • Bankrate.com: Credit repair -- can you buy it?
    12/30/01
    • U.S. Supreme Court, Fair Credit Reporting Act, 2001
      • SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRW INC. v. ANDREWS, CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT, No. 00—1045. Argued October 9, 2001–Decided November 13, 2001 (syllabus)
      • USA Today/FindLaw.com: No. 00-1045: TRW Inc. v. Andrews - Amicus (Merits)
      • bankrate.com: "The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, upheld a federal law that says consumers whose credit rating is damaged because of an error by a credit-reporting agency have only two years from the time the error is made to file suit."
      • Washington Post: Time Limit On ID-Theft Suits Upheld
      • ConsumerAffairs.com: Supreme Court Makes it Harder to Sue for ID Theft - Court to Victims: Tough
      • Credit Reporting Agencies' reactions
      • Trans Union: press releases
    • CardReport.com: Collection Agency FAQ
    • PIRG: Consumer Credit & Privacy
    10/31/01 10/27/01
    • Legal Action
      • LESLIE K. SPENCE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TRW, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
      • JAMES R. PHILBIN, JR. v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION; TRW CREDENTIALS
      • Cushman v. Trans Union Corp., 115 F.3d 220, 222 (3d Cir. 1997).
        • JENNIFER CUSHMAN, Appellant v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION
        • SETON HALL LAW REVIEW: "Continuing, Judge Cowen theorized that a reasonable jury could have decided that the seventy-five cents expended by TUC for the reinvestigation was too little when compared to the harm that reporting the wrongful information would cause Cushman.
      • Ryan v. Trans Union Corp., Case No. 99 C 216, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1239 (E.D. Il. Feb. 8, 2001). - "The court held that defendants were entitled to a partial award of attorney's fees from plaintiff under the FCRA to the extent that plaintiff filed oppositions to defendants' summary judgment motions knowing that he no longer had a valid claim."
    • NACA: Focus on Fair Credit Reporting
    • U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director: SOME REFLECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS ON THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (at the first NACA Fair Credit Reporting Act conference, June, 2001) - "The repositories and creditors have always had an odd symbiotic relationship; the creditors both provide data and buy reports in the so-called “free flow of information” that allegedly keeps our economy in overdrive, especially compared to the hapless Europeans."
    • Colorado: EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CREDIT REPAIR
    • National Association of Attorneys General: File Segregation: An Illegal Way to 'File' Bad Credit Away
    • Ohio, Attorney General: Montgomery Gives Tips on How to Clean Up Your Credit Report
    10/20/01
    • Case 1: "What is Outside Managing Director, Intec Telecom Systems and President, Computer Generation Incorporated (as "Jackie" Ward)(and Equifax board of directors member) Jacquelyn M. Ward's email address?"
    • Correspondence: To Houston Chronicle: "Please, respond today."
    • Mail:
      • "It has been over 7 years, can I get it removed from my report?"
      • "Thanks for looking out for the people."
    10/17/01 10/13/01
    • Case 1: Will you correct the file in the next four days?
    • ChexSystems
      • "The ChexSystems network is made up of member banks and credit unions that regularly contribute information on mishandled checking and savings accounts to a central location... ChexSystems is also licensed to do business as ChexSystems Collection Agency providing debt collection services to members articipating in that service."
      • eFunds Information Practices Policy
    10/12/01
    • Case 1: Will you correct the file in the next five days?
    • Attorneys General
      • National Association of Attorneys General: File Segregation: An Illegal Way to 'File' Bad Credit Away
      • Arizona: Credit Reporting
      • Colorado: EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CREDIT REPAIR
      • Florida: How to Protect Yourself: CREDIT REPAIR SCAMS
    10/11/01

    10/06/01

    • Correspondence: "... you sure seem like a credit reporting agency to me... "
    • Correspondence: The Big Study
    • Mail: "I object to this statement, supposedly by Greg Fisher... "
    • Mail: "She reiterated this mysterious 'RDC' thing."
    9/17/01 9/12/01 Updates
    • Urban myth email
      • Houston Chronicle: Don't be fooled on privacy issue - "Although TransUnion is appealing the decision, privacy rights activists considered the ruling confirmation that such lists intrude on consumers' financial privacy."
      • Detroit Free Press: Confused? "You should be."
      • Channel 4, Pittsburgh: Consumer Watch: Opt-Out E-Mails
      • Equifax: CONSUMER ALERT!
      • Experian: "I don't know the source of the e-mail, but I want to assure you that it is completely false."
      • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse & U.S. Public Interest Research Group: To the FTC: "As two of the leading organizations that educate consumers about privacy and identity theft, we are writing to express our concern over the excessive collection of personal data by the joint opt-out notification system established by 4 credit reporting agencies (CRAs or credit bureaus) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)."
      • Associated Credit Bureaus trade association: "First, there was no such law that took effect July 1."
      • That Myvesta (a debt-counseling service) would declare this number a "scam" is completely irresponsible.
      • FTC: Sharing Your Personal Information: It's Your Choice
    • Electronic Credit Repair Kit
    9/11/01 Updates
    • creditaccuracy.com in the media - BankRate.com: 7 steps to fixing your credit report - "Fisher is a fan of going by the book and then beyond it. He suggests these tactics... "
    • Mail: "What do you suggest? There is no question that I was late, but lets face the facts it was a one time issue, and the fact that there is no debt now proves it. I do not want this on me for 7 years."
    • Innovis - "In April of 1999, CBC Companies purchased Innovis Inc. from First Data Corporation.
      • "Failsafe: A national database of consumers with unfavorable current or past credit histories."
        • Houston Chronicle, July, 2001: "So, you can't call up Innovis and order your credit file, says Eric Duhon, Innovis' chief information officer."
        • The law:
          § 609. Disclosures to consumers [15 U.S.C. § 1681g]

          (a) Information on file; sources; report recipients. Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request, and subject to 610(a)(1) [§ 1681h], clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:

          (1) All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request, except that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require a consumer reporting agency to disclose to a consumer any information concerning credit scores or any other risk scores or predictors relating to the consumer.
      • "New Movers: A list of consumers who have reported a change of address"
      • "Innovis is a required credit repository for reporting purposes to those who are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac servicers."
    • CBC (remember, we're talking about sensitive personal finance data)
      • Some of the keenest business minds of the 1950s: "CBC Companies has been providing consumer credit information through its credit bureau organization for over 50 years." But, they missed out on the cbc.com domain.
      • cbc-companies.com domain: "Record created on 27-Jul-1996."
      • "We are unable to handle disclosures or disputes of your credit report at this website. Contact your local Credit Bureau."
      • "CBC Companies is a unique full service credit reporting company operating network of 70+ credit bureaus that are associated with national credit repositories."
    9/10/01
    • Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard: Consumer Credit Report Accuracy and Privacy Act of 2001, To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow any consumer to receive a free credit report annually from any consumer reporting agency.
    • junum: "Credit reporting mistakes happen all the time."
    • Virginia Attorney General: "At your request, the bureau must send a corrected copy of your report to anyone who received the incorrect version within the past six months."
    • Trade association ACB: "... the industry has an extraordinary record of accuracy." Ask them for the record.
    • FTC: 1997
    • PIRG: 1998 - "Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the credit reports contained serious errors... "
    • Arthur Andersen - Fun with numbers
      • "Studies by Arthur Andersen and the Insurance Research Council have found credit reports are much more reliable than motor vehicle records. Arthur Andersen found that only 2 percent of the 15,000 credit reports studied contain disputed information.
      • In the only statistically valid study conducted to date, Arthur Andersen concluded that in only two-tenths of one percent of the over 15,000 cases studied, were consumers denied a benefit based on an error in their credit report.
      • "Spokesman Norm Magnuson cited a 1992 study of 111,000 credit reports done by Arthur Andersen & Co., the consulting firm, which found that only 0.2 percent of people had been denied credit based on inaccurate information." Ask them for the record.
      • "A more rigorous study of 15,703 consumers, conducted by Arthur Anderson & Co., showed that the true error rate is probably as low as 1 percent."
      • "A more rigorous study of 15,703 consumers, conducted by Arthur Andersen & Co., showed that the true error rate is probably as low as 1 to 3 percent."
      • Still, that is more than two million people who are being denied credit unfairly.
      • "We called Arthur Andersen to get clarification. However, it was unable to locate the study in question." Ask them for the study.
      • By contrast, industry sources cite a 1992 study of 10,000 consumers by consulting firm Arthur Andersen.
      • Equifax: "The only scientific study on the accuracy of credit reports was the one sponsored by Associated Credit and conducted by Arthur Andersen."
    • "Eddy Lo of Fair-Isaacs discussed the use of credit rating in underwriting of personal lines insurance. He discussed several important issues including permissible use of credit reports and accuracy of credit reports."
    • Consumers & Credit Reporting 1994 - "... the mass media have run a steady stream of stories involving accuracy, correction of errors, secondary uses of credit report data, control over improper access or use, and other consumer issues involved in the operations of credit reporting agencies over the past five years...
    • Added section: Corrections
      • The Credit Reporting Agencies
        • Equifax: "How can I correct a mistake in my Equifax Credit Profile?"
        • Experian: "To request an investigation, you first must obtain a copy of your personal credit history by ordering your credit report online from our Consumer Center Welcome page, or by calling 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742)."
        • Trans Union: "How can I correct errors on my credit report?"
      • The Government
        • FTC:
          • How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
          • Building A Better Credit Record
            Every day, companies nationwide appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. They promise, for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job. The truth is, they can't deliver.
        • A Massachusetts Consumer Guide: Managing Credit and Debt
        • New Jersey: With more than 2.5 million credit reports being sold each day, some of the information will be incorrect.
        • Ulster County, New York: Your Credit Report - Know Your Credit Reporting Rights
      • Others
    5/20/01 4/13/01
    • E-Commerce Executive Files Suit Against American Express For Credit Slander
    • 3/2000: Phillips and Phillips v. Trans Union, Equifax and Experian
    2/21/01
    • Subject: Incomplete consumer report
      Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 01:17:56 -0500
      From: Greg Fisher, gfisher@erinet.com
      To: Harry Gambill, hgambill@tuc.com

      The consumer report I obtained directly from your company last month is incomplete. In the next five days, will you correct your reports so that they list the dates of delinquency?

    • Consumer Reports: "In all, we received and evaluated 63 credit reports-- and found inaccuracies in more than half with the potential to derail a loan or deflect an offer for the lowest-interest credit card."
    12/30/00
    • The Emperor's New Clothes: This goofy business of "Re-aging" - Kidding ourselves about accuracy
      • The Fair Credit Reporting Act Congressional findings and statement of purpose: "The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting. Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system... "
      • Sanity from the FDIC: "A permissive policy on re-agings, extensions, deferrals, renewals, or rewrites can cloud the true performance and delinquency status of the portfolio."
      • CCCS of SF: "... "reaging" of your account means your credit report starts looking better right away."
      • NCRC non-profit debt consolidation and loan alternative: Win-win-win-lose:
        "... creditors will reage your account once you have established a history of on time payments with them.

        "This is a win-win-win situation.

        "You win because you do not have to file for bankruptcy...

        "The creditor wins because they get their money back without having to resort to collections or collection agencies.

        "We win because we have another satisfied client."

        And consumers who pay on time are the losers in this sloppy mess. Their performance is better, but who would know?

      • A hapless credit bureau on revisionist accounts of fact:
        "You are asking them to change history!

        "We all would like to erase bad things in the past. Think how different history books would be if we didn't mention war, economic depression, famine or disaster. The only thing left would be peace, prosperity, health and happiness. Everything would seem wonderful. But it wouldn't be accurate... "

      • The government: "No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report." Yeah, right.
    • The credit report law
    12/29/0012/28/00
    • Testimony before Congress: "Our members do not know what consumers have purchased using credit (e.g., a refrigerator, clothing, etc.) or where they used a particular bank card (e.g., which stores a consumer frequents)."
      • Sample credit report listing a debt as "REAL ESTATE"
      • Sample credit report listing "NISSAN MAXIMA" as collateral for a debt
      • Sample credit report listing "1995 FORD TAURUS" as collateral for a debt and "TYP" as "AUT"
      • Sample credit report listing a debt to "LARMON FURN" with "WATER BED" as collateral and a "SUBCODE" of "H." Key showing "H" as "HOME FURNISHINGS."
    • Bankrate.com: Consumers turning to courts for relief from bad credit reports - "Some lawyers are proving that you can fight inaccurate reporting by the credit industry."
    12/26/00 - Get your reports online (2 out of three):
    • Equifax: Get your "Credit Profile" with "Secure, immediate, on-line access for 30 days"
    • Experian: "View your credit report online for the quickest and most convenient way to access your personal credit information."
      - CNET User Opinions - How would you rate Experian Credit Report Online?
    • Trans Union: "Due to the confidential nature of the information, you will not be able to view the contents of your report online." Oh, brother.