Smoke and Mirrors

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Wasn't it P.T. Barnum who said "a sucker is born every minute"?  The Big Three Axis of Financial Evil use that as their daily mantra you would think.  The latest smokescreen I have to tip my cap to them, their PR machine is good; make politicians look good and make it look like the politicians did a great thing for American consumers.
I'm referring to the news headlines heralding the 31 states attorney generals who "forced' the credit bureaus to change their ways!  Yep, that's what the big three evil entities are allowing and thrilled with!
In fact I am going to give you one of the states press releases to read, then follow it with reality.  Remember what you are about to read is EXACTLY what the credit bureaus wanted!  My notes will follow each section in red.

 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with the nation’s three leading national credit reporting agencies, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., (“Experian”), Equifax Information Services, LLC (“Equifax”), and TransUnion LLC (“TransUnion”). The agreement means the companies will improve credit report accuracy; increase the fairness and efficacy of the procedures for resolving consumer disputes of credit report errors; and protect consumers from unfair harm to their credit histories due to medical debt. All three credit reporting agencies worked cooperatively with the office to develop these critical reforms.   Yes they worked cooperatively!  Critical reforms!  LMAO!!

“Credit reports touch every part of our lives. They affect whether we can obtain a credit card, take out a college loan, rent an apartment, or buy a car – and sometimes even whether we can get jobs,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports. This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections for millions of consumers across the country. I thank the three agencies for working with us to help consumers.”   Or..I rock please vote for me.

"Debt collection is consistently one of our top complaints, with collection of debts not owed being the number one reason New Yorkers contact us," said NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin. "Mistakes like these, illegal payday loans and other information like medical debt end up on credit reports where they can misrepresent a consumer's creditworthiness. The agreement by Attorney General Schneiderman with the three credit reporting companies is no small feat and I applaud him for ambitiously requiring these institutional agencies to make it easier to obtain and repair one's report."  Excuse me as I vomit.

“Today marks a major victory for New York consumers; it has been widely reported over the last few years that there are gross inaccuracies that can be found on the average consumer’s credit report,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. “Our system puts great faith in the credit reporting agencies to serve as the de facto watch dogs of the credit market in this country and in New York State. To put it simply, the current system was failing. As Chairman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection I held a hearing on the inaccuracy of credit reports in 2013 and what we found was a system that ignored errors and made it practically impossible for a consumer to repair their credit without undue hardships. This settlement should help to restore consumers’ faith in the credit reporting system and will hopefully make repairing erroneous marks on their report that much simpler. I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his action on this issue.”  Hey I want my name is the news too.  Dinowitz..with a D.

The Attorney General’s settlement requires the CRAs to institute a number of reforms to increase protections for consumers, over a three year period. Many of those reforms will be instituted nationwide:

1. Improving the Dispute Resolution Process

Consumers have the right to challenge inaccurate information in their credit report by initiating a “dispute” with a CRA. Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation of the CRAs revealed that in some cases, the CRAs use a fully-automated process in which they reduce consumers’ disputes to a three-digit code and submit the code and any documentation to the creditor. If the creditor verifies the challenged information, the CRA rejects the consumer’s dispute without conducting any further investigation.

The agreement requires that the CRAs employ specially trained employees to review all supporting documentation submitted by consumers for all disputes involving mixed files, fraud or identity theft. The agreement also requires that, for all categories of disputes, when a creditor verifies a disputed credit item through the automated dispute resolution system, the CRA will not automatically reject the consumer’s dispute, but rather, a CRA employee with discretion to resolve the dispute must review the supporting documentation.  Oh my where to start!  " initiate a dispute" "specially trained employees"  "CRA Employee 'with discretion' to resolve disputes must review supporting documentation".  ENOUGH!  Federal Credit Reporting Act already requires this stuff!!  The credit bureaus are doing nothing different here!!

2. Medical Debt

Over half of all collection items on credit reports are medical debts. Medical debts often
result from insurance-coverage delays or disputes. As a result, medical debt may not accurately reflect consumers’ creditworthiness.

Pursuant to the Attorney General’s agreement, the CRAs will institute a 180-day waiting period before medical debt will be reported on a consumer’s credit report. This waiting period will provide extra time to permit resolution of delinquencies that result from insurance delays or disputes. In addition, while delinquencies ordinarily remain on credit reports even after a debt has been paid, the CRAs will remove all medical debts from a consumer’s credit report after the debt is paid by insurance.  Biggest insult to the intelligence of us is right here.  Medical debts and debts other than installment or revolving credit do not report until they charge off, which according FDIC rule is 180 days after last payment made.  They, again, reworded existing law.

3. Increasing the Visibility of AnnualCreditReport.com

Many consumers are not aware that they are legally entitled to one free annual credit report from each CRA via AnnualCreditReport.com. Consumers searching for a credit report online frequently find a CRA’s website, and many consumers subscribe to a CRA credit monitoring service to obtain a credit report or purchase a credit report from the CRA without understanding that they can obtain a free credit report. The agreement requires the CRAs to include a prominently-labeled hyperlink to the AnnualCreditReport.com website on the CRAs’ homepages. The hyperlink must appear directly on the CRAs’ homepages or via a drop-down menu visible on the homepages.    Increasing??  How about making it visible in the first place?!

4. Additional Free Annual Credit Report

Consumers have a statutory right to obtain one free credit report per year from each CRA. The Attorney General’s agreement requires the CRAs to provide a second free credit report to consumers who experience a change in their credit report as a result of initiating a dispute. This requirement will permit consumers to verify that the CRA made the correction to their credit report without have to pay for a second credit report.  No change.

5. Payday Loan Debt

Predatory high-interest loans made in violation of New York lending laws are often referred to as “payday loans.” New Yorkers who take these loans often have trouble paying them back, damaging their credit, and making it more difficult to obtain a credit card, get a job, or even rent an apartment. The Attorney General’s agreement prohibits the CRAs from including debts from lenders who have been identified by the Attorney General as operating in violation of New York lending laws on New York consumers’ credit reports.  So if it's illegal it cannot be reported.  DUH!!!!!

6. Furnisher Monitoring

Companies that provide consumer data to the CRAs (“furnishers”) must investigate consumers’ disputes and report their findings to the CRAs. The Attorney General’s agreement requires the three CRAs to create a National Credit Reporting Working Group (“Working Group”) that will develop a set of best practices and policies to enhance the CRAs’ furnisher monitoring and data accuracy. The Working Group will develop metrics for analyzing furnisher data, including: the number of disputes related to particular furnishers or categories of furnishers; furnishers’ rate of response to disputes; and dispute outcomes. Each CRA will implement policies to monitor furnishers’ performance and take corrective action against furnishers that fail to comply with their obligations.  CFPB collects this data and develops best practices.  Would you rather the CFPB do it or leave it to the mega dishonest Big 3 dumbasses?

7. Media Campaign About Consumers’ Rights

To ensure that consumers understand their rights, the Attorney General’s agreement requires the CRAs to carry out an extensive consumer education campaign in New York via public service announcements and paid placements on television, radio, print media, and online. The campaign will be carried out over three years and will focus on consumers’ rights to: (a) obtain a free annual credit report; (b) dispute errors in their credit reports; and (c) submit documents in support of disputes. The agreement also requires the CRAs to expand the consumer education materials available on AnnualCreditReport.com, the website that consumers can use to obtain their free annual credit report.   Again..if they have not been trying so hard to hide this stuff would be a non issue.  You can't leave to the 3 Stooges of Credit Reporting to do the.  The government needs to be doing public service campaigns.  Silly me....there is no money in it for the Gov!  Not like the flu vaccine that they spend millions of your tax dollars  promoting.

All three credit reporting agencies cooperated in the Attorney General’s investigation and demonstrated a strong commitment to reforming practices to increase protections for consumers.  And Monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Now I am not just picking on NY.  I love NY.  Born and raised there!  30 other states made the same announcement.
Look I just lay it out as it is.  The truth is ultimately the undoing of these jerks.  Shame on the politicians who, to get their name out their and score political points jumped on board.  They know better.

(all opinions expressed are my own, though can be backed with fact)

 

Stall tactics and strategies used by the credit bureaus

Fact is the credit bureaus have no motivation to correct the tens of millions of Americans credit reports that have errors.  They make no money at all to do this and only do it because Federal law requires them to do so.  They get fined several million dollars a year for breaking these Federal laws, but as an industry their profits are around $8 billion annually.  So the fines are a drop in the bucket.  These companies are all about making money, they don't care about errors on the reports, they do not want to fix them.  They outsource the labor to Southeast Asia to handle your complaints.

The strategy is simple; write you back a letter filled with gibberish and tell you they verified everything.  The average person will accept that, or not know what to do next, maybe forget about it, and the credit bureaus are left alone.  This makes them happy, they can say they have responded to complaints received when Congress grills them about this.  Fact is they lie.  They do not conduct an investigation, they do not care what you write them; in fact you can write all you want.  The person in Southeast Asia will simply enter a 2 digit code that puts your issue in a general category.  Writing explaining to them is a waste of your time.

They employ stall tactics; return the letter to the sender as "undeliverable", send you a letter saying you did not provide proper identification, flat out ignore you and not respond, tell you they already investigated this so your complaint is "frivolous".  They will throw up blockades and smokescreens every step of the way.  There favorite is to email you saying they have received your letter and please click on the link to view the results.  Now they have you right where they want you, in their in house system where much of Federal law does not apply.  You are at their mercy with little recourse.  You can call them and totally waste your time, that will get you nowhere fast.  They change mailing addresses and fax numbers frequently, all to make it difficult for someone to get their reports reading correctly as dictated by Federal laws.

Even if they do reply to your letter with gibberish and say they "verified" their information, if you write them again they will say simply they already investigated this and will not do so again (illegal but most people don't know that).  They may pass the buck and say "This is what the creditor reported to our company".  Seeing that the Fair Credit Reporting Act REQUIRES they only report accurate, verifiable, and timely information (they are charged with that responsibility), all of these responses are illegal.  But, again, they don't care about you and your problems.  They are busy raking in money and spending money on lobbyists to grease the wheels in Congress so laws get watered down or go away.

The law requires I make it clear that we do nothing you cannot do yourself.  Very true.  I have the right to change the transmission in my car myself.  Never done it, but I suppose I could read a book, buy some tools and do it.  It will take much longer than a trained mechanic, I will make mistakes along the way, and when I'm done the car probably won't go in reverse.  But I can do it myself.  Get the picture I'm painting?

The credit bureaus are evil.  They spend money discrediting my industry as a "sham".  They HATE me and what I do.  Why?  because I am onto their little game.  I don't let them get away with it.  I know every section of every Federal law that applies to them and will force compliance or I will get the Federal government involved.

So you can go it alone.  Eventually you'll call.  I'll be here.

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