Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Credit Reports

I got our copies of our annual free credit reports today - and I am pleased to say that with the ones I was able to see online, there is NOTHING that we have to contest or contact them about! I was very excited - the last few times I've done this, it was a pile of pain for having to go and contact them to take inaccurate info off.

I was able to get 2 of mine and 2 of dh's. The other one of mine and his I'll have to get through the mail - not sure why it wouldn't let me access them (and different agencies, too!), but hey...I was able to see most of it. All accounts pretty and in order, no lates, no wrong addresses, no accounts marked incorrectly. All of the old icky accounts have fallen off, and the bankruptcy is scheduled to come off next summer (10 years). That will be a cool day!

If you haven't checked yours lately - it is totally common for them to be full of incorrect info, and they will not care until you start bugging them about it. Go to (don't fall for the TV commercial scams - that's signing you up for crappy expensive credit reporting stuff where they make even MORE money off of you) and get your reports!

Some people suggest that you space them out, get one now, a different agency in 4 months, the third agency 4 months after that...and so on. I do them all at once - mostly because I just don't remember which one I got, etc. And I get mine and dh's at the same time.

You are entitled to one free report per agency per 12 months, by federal law. That's a good thing. When you get it, check for:
  • All accounts are as they should be. Check balances, monthly payments, and probably most importantly, are they marking it as paid when it's supposed to be. If there are "lates" and you know you weren't, contest it.
  • Are your credit limits what they are supposed to be? This has bearing on your credit score, if that matters to you.
  • If you have any delinquint accounts, are they at least accurate? If you closed them, make sure it says "closed by consumer". (I'm not into the "prove to me that it really was mine because if you can't you must take it off" crap - if it's mine, I'll take the responsibility, but it will be accurate)
  • Check all past addresses and employers to make sure they are accurate.

We had to totally clean up our reports about 5 years ago because of HUGE mistakes and inaccurate info. If you have to contact the credit agencies, make sure you send EVERYTHING return receipt requested, and never ever send them personal information like bank account numbers, etc. I was even told it was illegal for them to request our BK papers from us, although I did send them a copy of the official sheet. And of course, NEVER send them the originals. Keep a copy of the letter you send to them and the receipt for the postage - if they don't prove to you that it is fixed or confirmed within 30 days of their receipt, they must, by federal law, take it OFF of your report.

Wow. I guess I've learned a lot about it. The hard way. But sometimes, that seems to be the only way I learn. Hard head and all...


Bouncing Back said...

I filed for bankruptcy last year and was discharged in late December. Like you, I am going over my credit reports for any inaccurate information. As I've said, it may not be the best credit report, but it at least needs to be a correct credit report.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the reminder.

Last April I did 2 of the three companies and early this year I did the last one. I should go ahead and take a peek at one and wait until July for one and the last one in December.