When people complained about errors on their credit reports last year, the big three credit-reporting agencies provided relief in just 2% of cases monitored by the feds – compared with 25% in 2019, according to the latest report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The report said Equifax, Experian and Transunion often failed to respond substantively to an error, especially if the consumer hired a third party, such as a credit-repair company or law firm. John Heath, directing attorney at Lexington Law, specializes in credit cases and said unresolved errors can keep people from buying their first home or car – and even from getting a job.
“Potential employers are looking at credit reports as a way to determine whether somebody is going to be a good fit,” he said.
Heath would like to see Congress change the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require credit-reporting agencies and companies that offer credit terms to respond to third-party inquiries. The three credit-repair agencies did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.
The Rev. Andre Chapple, senior pastor at Faith Church Los Angeles and chief executive of the African American Empowerment Coalition, said problems with credit block many people from building wealth as homeowners, and many aren’t sure where to turn for assistance.
“We help people to understand that whole ecosystem of credit and credit responsibility,” he said. “We help them get free credit repair for three months. As a result, their credit scores are increasing significantly.”
Consumers submitted more than 700,000 complaints to the CFPB about the credit-reporting firms from January 2020 to September 2021, which is more than half of all complaints the bureau received.