Equifax Refuses To Fix Credit Report, Despite Overwhelming Evidence

Equifax continues to screw up Philip’s credit rating by reporting a late payment on a mortgage that was satisfied in full over a year ago.

He’s sent over 9 letters, of increasing vitriol, asking, begging, cajoling, demanding and haranguing Equifax to please fix his credit report. He’s sent letters from Washington Mutual clearing his name.

“It defies belief that anyone with enough brains to find his or her way to work each day would be stupid enough to make the same obvious blunder month after month after month in the face of monthly submissions of documents proving the mistake” he writes in one letter. “Perhaps you should change the name to Equifalse or to Antifacts,” he writes in another.

Philip says the response to his latest letter was quite rude, his last was rather rude, “So I take some satisfaction in believing that even if I have failed to get Equifax to perform properly, at least I annoyed someone in the firm.”


17 February 2006

Equifax Information Services
Post Office Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374
Dear Sir or Madam:

You have two erroneous items in your report of my credit, inaccurately lowering my credit score.

1. You falsely assert I was delinquent in paying one of my credit accounts last month. Not true. In fact, I paid every one of my credit accounts on time. The only delinquent payment associated with me for years has been my estranged wife’s mortgage payments, and that mortgage was paid in full months ago. You have duplicated obsolete information that was misleading in the first place. Your own chart, obtained through Privacy Guard, reflects no such late payment.
2. You assert that I made four credit applications within the past month. Wrong. I have made a total of two applications – both to mortgage lenders – within the past year. I have applied for no other credit anywhere, nor do I intend within the near future. Any other application was made without my knowledge or consent.

Please correct your false information and raise my score accordingly. You have simply carried last month’s scores without reflecting any change. This conduct is shockingly irresponsible.

Thank you for what I hope will be your prompt attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

Philip C.

——————–

24 August 2006

Gentlemen:

Here are only the most recent three letters I have written to Equifax Information Services in an as-yet unsuccessful attempt to get this firm to correct a proven falsehood.

To date, Equifax has neither corrected nor explained this situation. It continues to declare every month that I was delinquent on one account, despite the fact that I was not delinquent, as the two other credit-reporting firms confirm. Surely, companies who charge fees to supply accurate credit information should be held to some standard of conduct. By supplying false information to its clients, Equifax cheats its customers, who pay for accurate information. By falsely accusing me of a payment delinquency, Equifax injures me financially. This kind of reckless and either incompetent or malicious conduct is unacceptable, and the perpetrators of such acts ought to be held responsible for them. If I were to libel another person, I should be subject to legal action. How much more damaging it is when a firm presenting itself as an objective purveyor of factual information libels someone – and takes fees to do it.

My experience suggests that Equifax is unable or unwilling to do the job for which it accepts payment, that it is in unable or unwilling to stop spreading a gratuitous falsehood about me. Why should Equifax be allowed to cheat its customers and blacken my name without fearing any consequence? Why should it be allowed to arrogantly shrug off complaints about its ineptitude or dishonesty? Why should it be exempt from the rules of decent conduct?

It seems unlikely that I am the only victim of such egregious callousness. Perhaps the Congress should look into the carryings-on of this self-appointed keeper of personal reputation, this discreditable credit agency.

Although I had copied you on all these letters, I refrained until now from actually bothering you with this business, hoping I could resolve the problem without your help. Plainly, this hope was in vain, and I would be grateful for your attention to this continuing problem.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Very truly yours,

Philip C.

————————-

18 September 2006

Dear Sir or Madam:

Here is my monthly attempt to get you to report the truth. You continue to issue false information about me, despite my regular submissions disproving your information. Like clockwork, every month you write:

Payment history : Last reported month, you missed a payment (or were derogatory) on 1 account(s).

Wrong. I was not late. Even worse, this time you sent me a form response saying the creditor confirms the accuracy of its information. My argument is not with the former creditor; it is with you. The creditor is correct; Equifax is wrong. You are citing the (former) creditor, but you are contradicting what this firm actually is saying.

The creditor confirms, as I have informed you repeatedly, that my account is closed, finished, satisfied. Yes, my estranged wife was late in making the last payment – a year ago – but the payment was made, the mortgage was satisfied, the account was closed. I cannot be late on an account that was paid in full and closed.

The very information you quoted to me in your response proves this point. Rather misleadingly, it says: “Current status – 30-59 Days Past Due,” but if you read to the end of the line, it adds these crucial words: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Caps yours) – Account Paid/Zero Balance.

Account Paid/ Zero Balance. You get it? It means the account is paid, that I owe nada, nothing, zip, zero. If an account is paid and closed, I can’t be late in paying on it. If I have a zero balance on an account, I can’t be late in paying that, either.

I have sent you copy after of the documents showing that the mortgage is satisfied. You have ignored them. Now I am sending you a copy of your document proving that I am not late on this account. Do you intend to ignore your own paperwork, too? Every month you libel me. Stop it, and stop cheating your clients by taking their money and giving them false information. The other two credit-rating agencies seem to be able to understand the situation. Are you less intelligent or more vindictive, more careless or less conscientious? Whatever the difference, your competitors get it right and you – despite letter after letter showing your error – consistently get it wrong.

I would appreciate some minimal effort on your part to be truthful after a year of proving your information to be false. What does it take to get you to behave with the tiniest degree of responsibility?

Very truly yours,

Philip C.

——

14 October 2006

Equifax Information Services
Post Office Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374

To Some Responsible Person of at Least Normal Intellect:

Every month for nearly a year, I have pointed out to you that you incorrectly declared me to have been late in paying my mortgage with Washington Mutual. Every month, I have reminded you that this mortgage was paid in full last year, and, therefore, I could not have been late in paying it any month this year. I repeatedly have included proof that the mortgage was settled in full. Nonetheless, month after month after month, you have repeated this inaccuracy, whether through arrogant dishonesty or breathtaking stupidity.

Worse, you have compounded this lie or blunder, whichever it might be, by saying you have no choice but to report what Washington Mutual reports to you. Unfortunately for your position, Washington Mutual has not been reporting that I was late. To the contrary, Washington Mutual has been reporting that the mortgage was satisfied completely.

What is more, your own report states that the mortgage was paid in full, with zero balance remaining. True, this statement is preceded by the remark that the last payment was 30 to 59 days late. This juxtaposition of sentences might briefly confuse a school child, but any normal child quickly either would ask someone more informed or would figure out for him- or herself that the final payment may have been late, but was made, and, consequently, no further payments would be required. This child also would conclude that I cannot be late in making payments when no further payments are due. If not for the child-labor laws, I might be tempted to suggest you consider hiring a child to explain this simple and obvious truth to your staff.

Enclosed is a copy of a letter from Washington Mutual attesting that it has informed you that your report of my being late is erroneous. It is false, inaccurate, incorrect, wrong, untrue. Your argument that your monthly report reflected information from Washington Mutual was absurd in the past; to repeat now would be to defy reason and demonstrate a willful disregard for the facts.

Correct your records now. Stop cheating your clients who pay you for accurate reports. Stop libeling me by disseminating obvious falsehoods about me. Your appalling failure to perform at even minimal levels of competence has gone on far too long.

Philip C.

——————

29 September 2006

Equifax Information Services
Post Office Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374

Dear Sir or Madam:

It defies belief that anyone with enough brains to find his or her way to work each day would be stupid enough to make the same obvious blunder month after month after month in the face of monthly submissions of documents proving the mistake. I simply cannot reach any conclusion other than this monthly libel of me is a deliberate, vindictive falsehood, and perhaps it should be treated as the crime that apparently is.

I pay every one of my accounts on time every month. The other two credit-rating bureaus confirm this fact. Every month, however, Equifalse says I was late on one account. Every month I send you proof of your error. Early this month, the creditor you falsely asserted was reporting me late also wrote to you denying your accusation, and declaring that my account had been paid in full, was closed satisfactory and that I owed nothing on this account.

Your response? You repeated the same infuriating lie. If you follow previous practice, you will respond to this letter by repeating your other cherished the lie, that the creditor made you do it, despite having a letter from the creditor telling you were wrong.

What must I do to get you to tell the truth, to stop you from cheating the customers who pay you for accurate reports but who get falsehoods instead? How can you justify this conduct? How can you justify remaining in operation?

For the record, which already is voluminous, I paid all my credit-card bills on time in full last month. I paid my current mortgage, with Pentagon Federal, on time. The only other mortgage I ever had – the one which you say I pay late each month — was satisfied in full and closed last year, and the mortgage company sent you confirmation of this fact.

I wasn’t late in January 2006 because the mortgage had been satisfied. You reported I was late paying in January.
I wasn’t late in February 2006 for the same reason. You reported I was late paying in February.
I wasn’t late in March. You reported I was.
I wasn’t late in April or in May or June, July, August, September or October. Every month I sent you proof of your mistake, and every month you arrogantly, viciously repeated your attack on my personal reputation. Now even though the creditor you assert is forcing you to make this report has denied the accuracy of your report, you still go on, undeterred by facts. Making this continuing campaign of disinformation even more bizarre is that you maintain I am late in paying this account, while elsewhere in your own report, you describe this item as “PAID ACCOUNT/ZERO BALANCE.”

Evidently, your organization has no respect for the truth, no concern for what is accurate or fair, no interest in doing your job adequately. Evidently, you have no sense of responsibility and no shame. Your continued operation is a disgrace.

Although I have little reason to believe it will do any good whatsoever, I have, once again, enclosed a copy of the official letter attesting that my previous mortgage has been satisfied and nothing more is owed on it and a more recent letter from this mortgage company declaring that it had written to you “to correct the reporting of this payment as late.” Also enclosed are copies of the findings of the other credit-rating services, both of which report – accurately – that I had paid all my accounts in full last month.

In the interest of fairness, something I do not expect you to understand, I acknowledge that Washington Mutual Home Loans did warn me that it may take a credit-reporting agency 60 to 90 days to make this correction. Given the outrageous egregiousness of your performance, however, I do not think it acceptable to expect me to wait two to three months for you to correct a ridiculous blunder that has been brought to your attention monthly for nearly a year. I already have waited far too long to get you to do your job adequately. You owe me an immediate correction, an immediate apology and you owe refunds to every client who paid you for a report on me, because you did not provide the service for which you were paid.

Philip C.

———————

19 July 2006

Equifax Information Service
Post Office Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374

Dear Sir or Madam,
Your company is remarkable, even astonishing. Few organizations are able to overlook facts as consistently as Equifax. Perhaps you should change the name to Equifalse or to Antifacts.

Month after month after month I write to you and show you that I have not been delinquent on any account. Month after month after month you continue to report falsely that “Last reported month, you missed a payment (or were derogatory) on 1 account(s).”

No, no, no. I paid every single one of my credit-card accounts on time, as your own records show. The mortgage on my house was paid off LAST YEAR. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE LATE ON PAYING A MORTGAGE AFTER IT HAS BEEN SETTLED, AND THERE ARE NO OTHER ACCOUNTS IN MY NAME. As I paid all my credit cards on time, paid off the mortgage, and there are no other accounts, LOGICALLY, THEREFORE, I CANNOT HAVE BEEN LATE IN PAYING ONE OF MY ACCOUNTS.

How do you justify this incompetence, or is it malicious dishonesty? You have raised, at a painfully slow rate, my credit score closer to what it ought to be, although you acknowledge no other changes in my record to explain the long-overdue score change. While your score remains the lowest given to me by the three credit bureaus, this month’s number is an improvement, but how do you justify making this improvement – inadequate as it is – without making any corrections in the overall report? I suppose it is all part of your policy of steadfastly ignoring facts.

You malign me and cheat your customers when you take money from them for accurate reports but provide inaccurate information. This behavior, especially when carried on for so disgracefully extended a period, is inexcusable.

I would be grateful for an honest report, the least the consumer and your customers have the right to expect. Although it should not be necessary, I have enclosed yet another copy of the official acknowledgment of the satisfaction of my mortgage.

Very truly yours,

Philip C.

CC: The Honorable Arlen Specter, United States Senate
The Honorable Tim Holden, United States House of Representatives

————–

17 December 2006

Equifax Information Services
Post Office.Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

Dear Sir or Madam:

You are impossible.

Finally, after months of calling to your attention that you were reporting me late on a mortgage that long before had been paid in full, after months of you insisting –falsely – that you were reporting what the lender told you – you finally reported the truth. You never admitted to your continuing blunder, but you acknowledged the letter setting you straight that the lender had sent you at my request. It took nearly a year, but you finally corrected this libel, or so I thought.

Perhaps it was na

ve of me to assume that this development would end my problems with Equifalse. I really should have known better.

The only account you identified – incorrectly –as being late was the mortgage on my house in Harrisburg. You now correctly report that this mortgage has been paid in full, yet, in defiance of all the facts, you continue to say:

Payment history : Last reported month, you missed a payment (or were derogatory) on 1 account(s).

No. I was not late on any account. Every account you list is reported in your own statement as being paid on time. How can you continue to say I was late when every account was paid on time? Can anyone be this stupid and be able to find his or her way to work, to dress him or herself?

In contrast to your disgraceful buffoonery, this is what Experian reported about me this month:

Payment history : Last reported month, you paid 100% of your accounts on time.

TransUnion reported:

Payment history : Last reported month, you paid all of your accounts on time.

Only Equifalse botches this report month after month. Your performance is a scandal. How can you justify your continuation in business? Look at your own report. Every account you list is identified as having been paid satisfactorily, so from where does this alleged late payment arise? Hum? If I pay every account on time, I cannot be late on one of them, can I? Think carefully; I know it’s difficult, but try to concentrate. If any account is paid on time, it can’t be late. Understand? If all the accounts are paid on time, then none of them can be late. Do you see? For me to have been late on one account last month, one account would have to be shown as Not being paid on time, but as your statement reveals, no account was reported as being late. Every account was reported as having been paid on time. Therefore, I cannot have been late on one of them. Get it? Do I need to explain again? Please let me know if any words or concepts used here are too complex for you, and I shall endeavor to clarify.

Your report is wrong, inexcusably wrong. Fix it, you damned liars.

Very truly yours,

Philip C.

CC: The Honorable Arlen Specter, United States Senate
The Honorable Tim Holden, United States House of Representatives

————-

8 March 2007

Equifax Information Services
Post Office Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

Dear Sir or Madam:

Every month you report that I was late in paying a bill that does not exist, despite having been informed repeatedly of this fact by the former creditor. For more than a year, I have been trying to get you to correct this egregious error. Now you have aggravated the problem by sending me a letter contradicting facts in your possession.

Evidently, my estranged wife was late one month in paying the mortgage on the house at [redacted] Pennsylvania [redacted]. This mortgage, held by Washington Mutual, was paid in full at the end of 2005. Washington Mutual has sent you several letters confirming this assertion. I have sent you several copies of the satisfaction-of-mortgage statement. Nonetheless, you continue to report each month that I had been late in paying this mortgage during the previous month. Obviously, I cannot be late in paying a mortgage that has been paid in full. The history may show that I had been late in the past, but it is not accurate to say I continue to be late.

When I pointed out these facts to you, you replied only that you cannot change the report, as you rely upon the creditor for your information. This assertion only compounded your error, adding falsehood to inaccuracy. Washington Mutual has not been telling you I was late every month last year. To the contrary, it repeatedly has told you I was not late because I owed Washington Mutual nothing. It is impossible to continue to be late in paying a bill after the bill has been satisfied completely.

This letter is at least the ninth I have sent you, along with corroborating documents, in an effort to get you to tell the truth. The latest result of all this communication is a letter from you containing obvious falsehoods. You write:

“The information you are questioning on the following accounts has been previously verified as being accurately reported in accordance with the FCRA.”

False. Leaving aside the gross grammatical errors and syntactical flaws of this statement, it is wrong on the facts. The creditor repeatedly has informed you that the account has been paid in full, and nothing is owed on it. In contrast to your assertion, the information you reported has been proved to be incorrect. Indeed, your own report contradicts itself. You – finally – added the information that the mortgage had been paid in full, but you have retained the assertion that I was late in paying every month since the mortgage was satisfied, an obvious impossibility.

“In response to you, we requested that you send any information that you may have to substantiate your claim that certain information in your credit report is incorrect. Now we have received another request to verify the same information without any additional documentation as requested.”

False. I repeatedly sent you copies of the statement of mortgage satisfaction and copies of the letter Washington Mutual sent Equifalse declaring that the mortgage had been satisfied completely. What is more, I began including these documents in my letters to you before you requested them. You already had them in your possession before asking for them. Nonetheless, I repeatedly sent them to you again, and you received several letters verifying my statements directly from Washington Mutual.

“Any further request for verification, on the following items preciously verified, will go unanswered unless additional documentation is received.”

This statement is the best of all. I actually do not much care if you ever answer any of my letters, as your responses are, at best, irrelevant and now seem to have moved beyond what might have been innocent incompetence to outright dishonesty. All I ask is that you report my information correctly; you do not have to correspond with me. Frankly, I am not really much interested in anything you have to say beyond the acknowledgment of your continuing blunder.

What makes this last assertion of yours even more delicious is that you proceed to name two items that have nothing to do with the subject. You refer to Capital One 4305xxxxxxxxxxxxx and Collect America 177102xxxxxxxxx. I believe these two items were the subjects of completely unrelated errors that have been corrected. In the past, you reported I was in collection for a medical bill and had failed to pay a credit-card bill, but you corrected both those errors. I should not have been sent to collection for the medical bill, as the alleged creditor confirmed, and this item was removed from my credit history in 2005. I had, in fact, paid the credit-card bill in full and on time, as the card issuer confirmed to you, and this item was removed from my history in 2006. I have not raised either of these matters with you since you fixed the incorrect reports on them.

What I have been writing to you about for more than a year is your continued, false assertion that I was late in paying one of my bills every single month when I have not been late in paying any bill within in this time. So far as I have been able to construe, you are referring to the closed, satisfied, settled mortgage from Washington Mutual. I have identified the subject in every letter to you. That you would respond to me after all this time as if I were discussing two earlier, unrelated, long-settled mistakes and not the current one I clearly identified in my letters is absurd. It either is incompetence as staggering as I ever have witnessed or completely dishonest.

This is the truth, please try to pay attention: my mortgage from Washington Mutual on the property at 1423 North Front Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17102 was paid in full in 2005. I was not – and cannot have been – late making any payments on this mortgage after it was paid in full. No payments ever are due on a mortgage after it is satisfied. Once the bill is paid completely, there is nothing more to pay. Consequently, I cannot have been late. Your history may show that my estranged wife was late in making the last payment, but she made the payment, nonetheless, and, therefore, neither she nor I ever could have been late on this mortgage again. Yet, you report every month that I was late. Wrong. More than just wrong, it is impossible. Your own reports list all my accounts and identifies every one as having been paid in full or being paid as agreed. Not one is reported as being late. Yet, your summary, month after month after month, declares that I paid one of my bills late last month. How can you not grasp the obvious, fundamental contradiction? Either a bill is paid in full or being paid as agreed or it is late. It cannot simultaneously be paid on time and late.

To avoid, or at least reduce, the chances that you again will profess never to have received any documentation supporting my statements, I again am including a copy of the mortgage-satisfaction declaration and a copy of one of several letters from Washington Mutual reaffirming that I owe Washington Mutual nothing more. Interestingly, the letter apologizes to me, even though this infuriating situation is not the fault of Washington Mutual. It is the fault of Equifalse, but I do not expect an apology from you any time soon, nor do I even require one. I just want you to do your job. Stop lying about me. Stop cheating your customers by taking payments for providing accurate information and supplying falsehoods instead.

Please correct your records.

Very truly yours,

Philip Michael Clark

CC: Rep. Barney Frank, United States House of Representatives

————

If ya can’t beat ‘em, annoy ‘em. — BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. mantari says:

    Consult this message board: http://www.creditboards.com

    They have a saying that goes something to the effect of, “They have to win every time. You only have to win once. And nobody has more interest in changing your credit report than you do. Odds are in YOUR FAVOR in getting your credit report changed.”

    I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of your situation. But the people at that board know how to properly document a problem on a credit report so that it can be removed.

  2. basket548 says:

    Is it possible that each time Equifax was referring to the original missed payment, and counted it as of the current month? And also, you may want to call instead of sending a letter – every time I have called, the response has been immediate.

  3. maestrosteve says:

    Philip wrote this on Sept 6, 2006. “Yes, my estranged wife was late in making the last payment – a year ago – but the payment was made, the mortgage was satisfied, the account was closed. I cannot be late on an account that was paid in full and closed.”

    What am I missing here that would make me side with the Philip?
    An account that he was associated with had a late payment. Even though it was paid in full, late, it is still a late payment. If I pay my credit card bill 2 days late, but pay it off in full, it is still late, and going to be on my credit report for 7 years, a zero balance with a late payment.

    If I missed something, I apologize, but it appears to me that Equifax is reporting it the way it is, and Philip just doesn’t like seeing a negative because the account is paid off. Paid off accounts stay on the credit report.

    Am I the only one to see it that way?

  4. velocipenguin says:

    Keep CCing Barney Frank. Arlen Specter is a jerk, but Rep. Frank is by far the most upright and honest elected official I have ever encountered.

  5. thinkliberty says:

    I would get a lawyer sue Equifax for libel. You have notified them with proof that they were wrong.

    If they won’t stop defaming your good name make them pay!

  6. Charles Star says:

    You know, I keep reading these letters over and over and – no matter how angry Philip is – I think he is wrong.

    Philip writes as if “had a late payment” and “have resolved the payment” are mutually exclusive but they are not. He had a late payment on his account (Equifax doesn’t – and shouldn’t – care that it was his ex-wife’s fault). The payment was eventually made and the account closed. So the statement should reflect two things (1) that a payment was not made on time and (2) it was eventually made.

    As far as I can tell, that’s exactly what his credit report says. Having a mark on your credit report sucks but sometimes so does life.

  7. min says:

    In the last letter in this post (the one dated 8 March 2007) the address of the house in Pennsylvania is not redacted. You might want to fix that.

  8. timmus says:

    I’m guessing that plain personal mail correspondence falls to the bottom of the slush pile at Equifax. Have any of these letters to Equifax been sent certified? Equifax’s handling might be different if there is clear evidence that a paper trail is being built. On the same vein it would be good to have an attorney’s office write Equifax asking to make that change.

  9. mad_oak says:

    Phil is learning a hard lesson in life. His recourse ain’t with the credit bureau, its with his wife. The lender didn’t agree to have the wife take responsibility for the payment. They still hold a note that he and his ex-wife are responsible for. A court order indicating the wife has to pay doesn’t change Phil’s committment to the lender. It means Phil has obtained a legal agreement for someone else to make his payments. That agreement is violated and PHIL’S payment is late. Getting divorced??? Get all debts going to the other spouse OUT OF YOUR NAME.

  10. unwritten07 says:

    I’m not sure you mentioned the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf

    I am NOT a lawyer, but in reading through
    (paragraph?/section?) 611-Procedure in case of disputed accuracy
    I came up with a few questions for you.

    It looks to me like the credit reporting agency – Equifalse :)
    has to contact the
    furnisher of information – WaMu
    within 5 business days with a
    “notification of the dispute” including “all relevant information regarding the dispute that is received by the agency from the consumer”

    If you have been including a copy of the letter from WaMu every time you dispute, it seems to me that they should be shown (or told about, or faxed, whatever) a copy of their OWN letter stating that the information is incorrect EVERY time you send Equifax that dispute letter.

    It sounds like you have found at least one reliable ally at WaMu. Have you asked him (or her) to check to see if Equifax contacts them properly when they do their investigation?

    and

    Have you asked Equifax what specific steps they took to verify the information in your case? Did they call WaMu, send an email to someone in particular, fax everything contained in the envelope you sent them, or what?

    Maybe they just peek at their own database and call that a “reasonable investigation”?

    Again, I’m NOT a lawyer, but these might be questions worth asking.

    I loved your letters, Philip.
    “Please let me know if any words or concepts used here are too complex for you…”
    That is sublime!

  11. emlombardo says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Your credit report says:
    “Current status – 30-59 Days Past Due,”

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Caps yours) – Account Paid/Zero Balance.

    I think that the 30-59 days past due status will remain as long as the mortgage stays on your report if you were ever 30-59 days past due. If they were assuming that you had not made a payment since last year it would have certainly been updated to 180+ days past due.

  12. Red_Eye says:

    I an sooo relate to this. 3 years ago I purchased a home, as usual my mortgages(yes I was a zero down sub prime lendee originally) were immediately whored around to various banks. At some point the original lender (South Trust Mortgage) screwed up and reported two payments (one on the first mortgage and one on the second) as being late. I didn’t realize this for over a year. Over the course of that year Wachovia bought South Trust so I had a huge nightmare trying to get them to contact the credit company and correct the issue. In the end only one of the payments got corrected despite my best efforts, it was truly a huge PITA and should never have happened.

    Maybe what we need is a more challenge/response dedicated system here. If something negative is reported on a persons credit the credit bureau in order to be allowed to legally report that items should be required to notify the person whose credit is affected in writing 30 days prior to the change in status online and provide a form to challenge it with documented evidence.

  13. emax4 says:

    This is an amateur answer coming from a person who knows little about credit reports, but I have to suggest this anyway: can you get a job with Equifax and fix the problem yourself while you’re employed there?

  14. Mr. Gunn says:

    I’ve read the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If it really is an error, and he has suffered damages, then they’re liable to him for $1000. There’s a precedent set for considering denial of credit suffering damages.

    He can write all the letters in the world, and they’ll probably just trash them. You have to sue them if you want them to even look at your letter.

  15. bhall03 says:

    I believe Charles Star is correct. Even Philip admits the account was delinquent at one point in time and eventually paid in full. Just because an account is PIF doesn’t obligate the credit reporting agency to eliminate any reference to poor payment history during the discharge of the debt.

    Actually quite the contrary. As a lender paying Equifax or any other bureau for this information, I would want and expect to know that a potential customer had a payment delinquency. Even if it was later PIF.

  16. mathew says:

    Yeah, my experience is that if you find a mistake on your credit report, it’s a total waste of time to try and engage in dialog with the credit reporting agencies.

    If your issue can be dealt with by an Attorney General’s office or a lawyer, or by filing an affidavit, then do so. Otherwise, just get on with life as best you can.

    The crooks who run these outfits really don’t care if their information is correct, and will ignore documented proof that they’re wrong.

  17. maxmax says:

    One other possibility exists: Philip (or his wife) could have been late with their last payment. The Equifax statement could be literally true:

    “Last reported month, you missed a payment (or were derogatory) on 1 account(s).”

    It depends on what Equifax means by “Last reported month.”

  18. Sam Glover says:

    It sounds like you have a remedy under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Get thee to an attorney! Most consumer attorneys will take a case like this on contingency. Check naca.net to find one in your area. If you happen to be in Minnesota, call John Goolsby (http://goolsbylawoffice.com), who specializes in FCRA claims.

  19. Mary_Beth says:

    I have a couple of suggestions. First of all, if you haven’t been sending letters certified, you should do so. You can also attempt to get Equifax to cooperate via phone. Call 866‑640‑2273 and press 30 at each prompt, ignoring the messages; this should get you a live person. If the live person can help you in some way (or promises to do so), be sure to request that you be sent a copy of the UDF (universal data form). This is the document that tells the two other credit reporting agencies that a change has been made. And it assures you that the customer service rep actually did something.

    Speaking of other credit reporting agencies, how is your report with TransUnion and Experian? If there are errors there as well, you can try your luck with one of them. They are required to share information so you only have to get through to one bureau and then forward the letters to the others (that’s overkill but worth the trouble in case they “lose” your paperwork). Their numbers are:

    TransUnion- 800‑916‑8800 (Press 2 at each prompt, ignoring messages)
    Experian 800‑493‑1058

    GOOD LUCK!

  20. Canadian Impostor says:

    I’m not sure how this is an error. His report says that he’s paid in full now, but at some point missed a payment.

    Isn’t that what happened?

  21. Bulldog9908 says:

    I’m not on Equifax’s side on this since they certainly screw up a lot, but as far as your mortgage is concerned, your credit report is 100% correct.

    I used to write credit decisioning software that took into account a lot more than just your FICO score. The late payment you are seeing is in a payment history array that contains the previous 24 months of payment information. When the account is closed, that payment history is frozen and will remain so for the next 7 years until the account drops off your report.

    When evaluating the age of late payments in that array, it is necessary to consider the last reported date on that account. The first month in that array is always the month of the last report date. In your case, this will reflect that the account was closed and paid in full as of late 2005 (whenever it was closed).

    Any competently written credit decisioning software will properly age that past due payment. That’s not to say there aren’t incompetently written programs out there.

    I don’t know where you’re getting your report from, but it appears the software used to pull the file out of the Equifax database and make it human readable needs some work since it keeps reporting a past due payment every month even though the past due payment is only in the 24 month array.

    As to whether this is affecting your FICO score, I cannot say for sure. That information was double top-secret. I did see a lot of credit files in my time as a programmer, and I can say from experience that FICO scores were better when a late payment was older, and it was consistently applied even with a closed account that is no longer updated (and the array isn’t changing).

    One other thing you might try is to get the lender to report on your account again. If they include your account in the update file they send to Equifax, the late payment will be moved down the 24 month payment history so that it looks like it really is over a year old. The late payment will remain (and you can do nothing about this) in another field that contains the three worst late payments. However, this field also has a date in it, so it’s easier for humans and programs to determine how old the late payment is.

    Trust me when I tell you that any credit decisioning software that is well written will not be affected by this any more than if you had a late payment more than a year ago on an open account. It’s still a black mark on your record, but as it ages, it will become less of a factor.

    TransUnion and Experian have different ways of reporting the same thing, so they have the same information on you, but the software is doing a better job of reflecting the age of the late payment in the reports you have. (Or if it’s generic software, it is written assuming a TransUnion or Experian file and isn’t handling Equifax data well.)

    As a final note, if you have otherwise spotless credit, just one 60 days past due payment in the last 24 months will have a profound impact on your credit. It won’t be such a big deal for people already in trouble, but for most lenders I dealt with, a 60 day late payment in the past 24 months was a very big deal, and would often disqualify an applicant or at least provide a much worse interest rate. Just 30 days past due isn’t usually a problem, but 60 says to the lender you didn’t pay and you knew you didn’t pay for at least 30 days. Big red flag, but after 24 months, it should be much less of a factor.

  22. mac-phisto says:

    @Sam Glover: now IANAL (& you are), but i’m pretty sure FACT overrides the ability to sue that existed within FCRA. it allows state ag’s to sue, but not individuals (in exchange for a free credit report every year & some other piddly offerings).

    my understanding is that an individual can still sue the reporter of the misinformation (in this case wamu), but only up to the actual lose incurred by the error. how do you prove actual lose when higher financing rates are dependent on scoring methods that are “top secret”?

    i guess some lawyers are still taking cases against the bureaus & i remember one was successful in mass. not too long ago, but that was dealing with identity theft. this is a different matter entirely.

    again, correct me if i’m wrong, but that’s how i read it.

  23. holysmoke says:

    great boards to fight back at these behemoths are creditboards and creditinfocenter, type these in google and you will find them easily

  24. @Bulldog9908: Thank you for your post. I’ve always wondered how the software does what it does. I learned something new today!

  25. nequam says:

    @Charles Star: I agree. As far as I can tell from his letters, his report is accurate. Satisfying a past due amount makes it no longer past-due, but it does not retroactively render it a timely payment. His report reflects that an amount was past due for a period of time, but was finally paid. This is precisely the sort of information a prospective creditor needs. (1) are you currently up-to-date on your payments; and (2) have you ever been late?

    This guy comes across as a little bit nuts.

  26. meadandale says:

    While this sucks for this guy, he erroneously thinks that he is “a client” or customer of Equifax.

    On the contrary, the customers of Equifax are the banks and other financial institutions who offer him credit. They have no vested interest to fix his credit report since if he has poor credit, the financial institutions will make more money in interest by offering him sub prime rates for their credit.

  27. MercuryPDX says:

    I’m a little confused. Did he:

    a) Make one late payment before the mortgage was satisfied, which shows up as one late payment on a satisfied mortgage.

    or

    b) Make one late payment before the mortgage was satisfied, paid off the mortgage, and Equifax is reporting month after month that he’s not making or making continually late payments on an already satisfied mortgage (multiple late payments being reported after the date the mortgage was paid).

    If it’s A, he’s SOL and Equifax is within its limits.

    If it’s B, then there’s some glitch somewhere saying he’s late on ‘phantom payments’ month after month, at which point I would be just as PO’d.

  28. bastarre says:

    Maybe I read his letters poorly, but, it sounds like Equifax is reporting the account overdue EVERY MONTH even though it has already been closed and anotated as such. But again, maybe I misinterpreted.

  29. Bulldog9908 says:

    @bastarre:
    My long post above contains this, but to summarize, this is what I think is happening:

    Equifax includes a 24 month payment history in its credit reports. The history for this account probably looks like this:
    *2**********************
    The * indicates a current account, the 2 a 60 day past due. The file also contains a status date (for sake of argument, 10/31/2005). Taken in combination, this means that two months prior to the status date (i.e. September 2005), the payment was 60 days past due.

    However, a poorly designed program will see the *2**… and think that two months ago (from today), the account was 60 days past due. The data is correct, but it’s up to the program to interpret it properly.

    My theory is that the program is not displaying the information properly. Depending upon how lenders pull his file, this shouldn’t affect his ability to get credit or his credit score any more than any other 60 day past due payment in the last 24 months.

  30. FordPrfct says:

    @Charles Star:

    “So the statement should reflect two things (1) that a payment was not made on time and (2) it was eventually made.

    As far as I can tell, that’s exactly what his credit report says. “


    That is not what I am seeing. He isn’t complaining because they refuse to remove a notice that the last payment was late. He is complaining because they are saying that he is late *every month*.

    Late 2005: Mortgage paid in full (paid late)
    January 2006: Mortgage reported as late for this month
    February 2006: Mortgage reported as late for this month
    March 2006: Mortgage reported as late for this month
    April 2006: Mortgage reported as late for this month
    May 2006 – Present: Mortgage reported as late for each month, for a total of over fifteen months so far, and counting, after the mortgage was paid in full, with no balance remaining.

    I think he is more than justified in being angry. A late payment may (and should) show up on a credit report. But not fifteen times for one late payment.

  31. Magicube says:

    @FordPrfct: I don’t know where you got that table of dates, but it wasn’t in the letters posted above.
    What *is* in those letters is that Equifax wrote: “Payment history : Last reported month, you missed a payment (or were derogatory) on 1 account(s).”
    That could logically have been the last month of the mortgage that was reported. It’s not last month, it’s last REPORTED month. Very important.
    And it was late, as he admits. As much as I’d love to rail against the credit bureaus, I don’t see what they’ve done wrong here.

  32. MikeWas says:

    @mac-phisto: That’s not what the NCLC says about FACTA. ( http://preview.tinyurl.com/2hg5ok )

    And frankly, IAAL, and as I understand it, the NCLC analysis is correct. It does, however, limit liability for FURNISHERS of information under certain circumstances.

  33. Sam Glover says:

    @mac-phisto: I am a lawyer, and you are wrong. MikeWas pointed out the distinction. You usually can’t sue the credit card company (for ex.) that reported your information inaccurately, but the credit bureaus are fair game if they don’t follow the FCRA.

  34. LAGirl says:

    i had several student loans that were in deferment status. they reported, incorrectly, that my payments were late. however, i was in deferment status, so no payment was due at that time.

    Equifax was the only company to NOT correct the information. i never disputed that the accounts belonged to me, just the late payments. did Equifax correct the errors? nooooooo. they just sent me a form letter telling me that the accounts were valid. i went back and forth, sending several letters telling them that i wasn’t disputing the accounts, just the late payments. it made no sense. how could i be late on an account in deferment status, when no payment is due??

    i tried calling, but of course got some complete idiot who told me to send a dispute letter. when i told her that i’d already done that, several times, she said there was nothing she could do. i swear they must hire ‘mentally challenged’ people to work there.

    i never did get them to change it. but, it’s been about 7 years since they first reported late payments, so it should be gone by now.

  35. primproperty says:

    One strategy is to sue Equifax and the creditor in what is called a declaratory judgment action. Ask the court to declare that you are right and further that this matter be cleared up by either Equifax or the creditor whoever is at fault. Dont seek money damages unless necessary but do seek attorney fees under the state consumer protection act. I believe the credit agency and creditor would rather clear the matter up as opposed to hiring counsel to defend. If things go sour, if your within the limitations period you still could seek tort remedies. That is one theory. I realize it may cost to file but this may affect all future financial transactions if the matter is not cleared up. A dec action may get quicker results than a pure tort action.

  36. Anonymous says:

    We are using equifax credit watch. We locked the credit on one of our accounts and they seem to have lost the keys. We have been working on a purchase for a week now but they ( equifax) say they can not or will not unlock our credit file. The customer service rep will not tell us his name and says he is the only one I can talk to. Has anyone ever heard of such nonsense and are there any suggestions on how to deal with these morons?