I Can't Get A Loan, Sears Says I'm Dead

Claudia’s father couldn’t get a loan because Sears reported to the credit bureaus that he was dead. In fact, it was her mother who had died. After complaints, Sears credit cards, run by Citibank said they fixed the problem. Then Claudia’s dad tried to get a loan but couldn’t. His credit score was zero.

Claudia tried to get Sears/Citibank to correct their report. 25 calls, 11 days, and 3 faxes that never happened later, Claudia stumbled across our post, “Contact Citibank CEO William Rhodes.”

She got in touch with a nice lady named Diana and in less than one business day, Claudia’s dad was no longer dead. “Thank you so much for such useful information,” she writes. “I feel like a big load has been lifted off my shoulders.”

Claudia’s father could have also disputed the information with the credit bureaus, but that would have taken several months to resolve. The loan couldn’t wait. Luckily, trusty ol’ executive customer service came to the rescue. Remember it and use it when necessary.


Edit Your Comment

  1. ckaught78 says:

    at 23%+ interest rate they are doing him a favor.

  2. SportsCentre says:

    Several months to resolve?
    “Hey, I’m alive.”
    Seems like an open and shut case to me.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    @SportsCentre: Have you ever tried disputing an item on your credit report? It takes time.

  4. sir_pantsalot says:

    @SportsCentre: If there is not a button in the program that says “Customer no longer dead” then the drones will have a very difficult time understanding what it is you want and how to fix it.

  5. PinkBox says:

    @SportsCentre: It’s sad that almost anything worth disputing on your credit report has to be such a hassle to remove.

  6. theblackdog says:

    @SportsCentre: You can’t just call and say “Hi I’m so and so and I’m alive.” How do they know you’re not an identity thief?

  7. mariospants says:

    OK, when the credit bureau starts turning to SEARS of all people for tombstone data, you KNOW the system’s fucked.

  8. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    … no sir I can’t be having this conversation with you ’cause you’re dead… says so right here on the ‘puter screen… yep you are dead… well my spiritualist said I had a strong connection with the otherside guess you are proof of that… say hiya to my granny for me please…

  9. Puck says:

    Cue Monty Python and the Holy Grail references

  10. incognit000 says:

    Wait so the credit bureaus are so unconcerned with the facts that they don’t even bother to double check if you’re dead?

    I knew they had a bad tendency of either not caring about info or putting in bad info (I found out that the credit card companies thought I had a reasonable, stable mortgage on a 250,000 home because someone with the same name as me does, not harmful, but odd considering the owner was twice my age) but not checking up on the dead is just plain stupid.

    Considering the fact that they keep your credit report a secret, along with the way it’s calculated, and yet it’s so insanely vital to functioning in modern society, you’d think that someone would make them give a shit. Like the Government.

    Grandpa used to tell me stories of the days back in the 40s and 50s when businesses were regulated by the federal government. I wonder what happened to those days? M

  11. novacthall says:

    What other sorts of options are available to consumers in situations such as these? I’ve heard of an archaic practice called “manual underwriting”, but I’m afraid I’ve neither used nor know what it is.

  12. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    Why did Sears report the Father dead in the first place?

  13. Ein2015 says:

    @GreatWhiteNorth: People in India don’t sound like rednecks.

  14. mac-phisto says:

    @harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law: his wife died (& she was probably joint on the account).

  15. mac-phisto says:

    this exact thing happened to me (one of the many benefits of having a number at the end of my name). getting my father’s info removed initially was very easy. & then it happened – the dreaded “soft delete”. the CRBs removed the data, but when merchants reported data in the subsequent months, many of the entries reappeared.

    all in all, it took me about 27 months to get everything squared away. fun times.

  16. midwestkel says:

    So if you have bad credit then you can have someone report you as dead then come out and say hey no I am alive then you start over with zero but no bad history? Nice…

  17. Weird… because Sears says my dead Aunt is still alive, despite the fact I’ve faxed them her Death Certificate 9 times.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    @midwestkel: not exactly. an account reported as “deceased” makes your CR unscoreable – meaning no score at all (not a zero). deleting the deceased entries returns your CR to a scoreable status (meaning all other data will affect your score the way it would previously). it doesn’t mean a complete wipe of all data.

  19. Heyref says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: They think my late wife is still alive also. They sent a new credit card in this case. I to have sent multiple Death Certificates, also. Although it doesn’t really bother me to get mail in her name, they don’t seem to get the message. I’ve even called them and done the Emo act to try to guilt them into fixing it, but it doesn’t work.

  20. DrGirlfriend says:

    Credit bureaus really have people over a barrel, don’t they? The more stories like this I read, the madder they make me. Credit bureaus and the TSA – my nemeses for life. (The TSA is not apropos to anything in this thread, I just hate ’em too.)

  21. madfrog says:

    That is just awful, it probably hard enough losing his wife and then Sears thinks he’s dead. Then, because of them, he can’t get a loan. I’m glad that this got cleared up. Luv that Monty Python picture btw “Bring out your dead!”

  22. TPS Reporter says:

    The first time I checked my credit report I was maybe 22 or so. It showed a Sears charge account from 1977 (I was 7 years old) that my dad had apparently opened, I’m not sure in my name or not, but it was paid as agreed. So I didn’t worry about it.

  23. bbb111 says:

    @SportsCentre: “”Hey, I’m alive.”
    Seems like an open and shut case to me.”

    To give the credit bureaus a tiny bit of slack on this, this is not “open and shut.” It is much easier to steal the identity of a dead person since they are less likely to notice their credit rating crashing. You have more time to pull more elaborate scams (i.e. take out mortgages). Resurrecting someone is a great way to do this since the family has already finished dealing with the estate and won’t be watching [of coarse a false address is used for the scams, so the family will not get any notices until the collection agents start widening their search.]

    There have been many cases reported where a relative does this.

  24. Skipweasel says:

    I came home one day to find the council had burned off the wife’s disabled parking space in front of the house. I rang ’em and they told me that the lady who lived there was dead and therefore the house was no longer entitled to a reserved parking space.

    In hindsight I should have left it that way and let her spend a decade dead for tax purposes.

  25. the_goz says:

    Equifax had my birth date wrong, so I sent them a dispute letter.They fixed it, plus sent me a free credit report showing the correct birth date within 2 weeks. I didn’t even send them any supporting documents, mainly because I have no clue as to the whereabouts of my birth certificate.

  26. howie_in_az says:

    @Ben Popken: Aren’t the credit agencies required by law to resolve it within 30 days? [www.creditinfocenter.com] seems to think so.

  27. SacraBos says:

    And Crash Override hacks the planet again… The OP’s last name isn’t Gill, is it?

  28. Aisley says:


    “Grandpa used to tell me stories of the days back in the 40s and 50s when businesses were regulated by the federal government. I wonder what happened to those days?”

    Nothing has changed, it is still the same. Oh, no, wait, wait, the businessess are the ones regulating the government now. Oops! My bad.

    By the way, I haven’t seen my Dad since November 10, 1991. Should I call Sears and find out if he’s dead?

  29. Puck says:

    Maybe Sears can finally put these Elvis sightings to rest

  30. @Ein2015: Depends on what “accent school” they went to.

  31. mac-phisto says:

    @howie_in_az: take note of steps 8, 9 & 12 in your link. most of the dispute process takes place here. as i previously stated, it took me about 27 months to get everything straightened out. this was round after round after round of disputing inaccurate information.

    hell, one item was a charge card opened 7 years before i was born. you’d think it would be easy for the CRBs to realize that wasn’t mine (considering they had a copy of my license & notarized copy of a birth certificate in hand, both showing when i arrived on this earth). that one finally came off permanently after round 3.

  32. Osi says:

    The Credit B.s are messed up in a big way. For some reason I now have 20 different names, 15 different SSNs, and several addresses I never lived at on two of the B.’s reports. The 3rd credit B won’t allow me to request a report because they cannot find me in their system …

    Oh well, courts are some what good in these cases … theys companies are going to burn …

  33. amuro98 says:

    In college, a hallmate of mine was declared dead by the credit services. Apparently someone with the same first name, same last name, but different middle name, SSN, date of birth, living in a different city, state and timezone had died somewhere, so the credit services claim it was an easy mistake to make.

    The credit services called her banks and canceled her loans and student aid, as well as the college. The college then called her parents to offer their condolences, which led to a rather hysterical message to her roommate and our hall RA.

    Of course, when she got her status upgraded to “living” the banks suddenly came after her, claiming the loans she took out for college were suddenly due. Now. Even on money she hadn’t even received yet.

    She almost ended up having to drop out of school and declare bankruptcy because of the mistake.

    As it was, she ended up having to miss a semester of classes because she couldn’t get her student aid re-instated for her tuition in time.

    And of course, the credit services simply replied with a superficial form letter apologizing for the “error”, but said there wasn’t anything more they could do for her.

  34. ViperBorg says:

    @SportsCentre: I think you’re confusing that for the voting system in Chicago.

  35. dweebster says:

    It’s getting so a dead guy can’t even be left a loan anymore.

  36. dweebster says:

    @amuro98: There would be a law against these practices, but the credit bureaus are all in bed with the government to spy on us, so don’t hold your breath.

  37. winstonthorne says:

    Wait a sec…Sears is still alive!?

  38. GamblesAC2 says:

    It’s probably best to leave Sears to rot…. I mean they’ve really gone to hell! I just dont see a need for anyone to really shop there other than for appliances… and on second thought,you could probably get better quality applinces for less at a local retailer.

  39. this needs to be fixed, and fast.
    what are we going to do when the Zombie Apocalypse happens?

  40. mrearly2 says:

    See how the filthy, fraudulent banks have control over your lives? If your “creditworthyness” is low, you may as well be a non-person.