PARKER, Colo (CBS4) – Consumers across America are struggling with mistakes on their credit reports and most find it nearly impossible to correct the problems.
Lawmakers on the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance are reviewing testimony from public hearing on May 7, 2013. The hearing centered on mistakes on credit reports and focused on a Federal Trade Commission report that came out at the end of last year. The report showed that 26-percent of consumers have an error on their credit reports, and that the mistake is big enough to impact their credit score.
Colleen Lebkuecher was one of those people. Her credit report with Equifax got mixed up with her sister’s. From bankruptcies to court cases, none of them belong to Lebkuecher, but all of them were on her credit report.
“It’s been a 4-year ordeal of dealing with the mixed file,” Lebkuecher told CBS4.
Equifax showed her score as 567. The other two credit reporting companies had much higher scores for Lebkuecher – Experian was 760 and TransUnion was 793. The inconsistency of scores came with real consequences for Lebkuecher and her husband. When they tried to refinance their mortgage to a lower interest rate, they were denied.
“I don’t know what to do. I’ve run out of options,” she said.
She filed disputes, spent hours on the phone with customer service, filled out police reports and even hired a credit repair company with no luck. Then Lebkuecher called 4 On Your Side. Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks called the Vice President of Public Relations and he connected Lebkeucher with a specialist at Equifax.
“I’m always wondering really how much the credit reporting agencies respond to consumers,” said Cary Johnson, a fraud expert with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
Johnson fields calls all the time about credit report problems. He says the difference in Lebkuecher’s case was getting CBS4 involved and getting to an agent higher up in the company. Lebkuecher agrees.
“Definitely, getting a phone number to an insider…somebody who’s important,” said Lebkuecher. “They took all of my disputed items off the record.”
The problem is fixed and her credit score reflex that. Equifax now has her score at 795.
If you do find a problem on your credit report, you first need to go through the proper steps to dispute it, which may include filling out a form online, calling the customer service line, or sending a letter to the credit reporting company. But the key here is don’t give up, and if nothing else works you can try calling the Vice President of Public Relations.
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith