(Colorado Springs, CO, July 28, 2005) – The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, along with Colorado’s 18th Judicial District Attorneys Office is advising consumers to be very careful when ordering copies of credit reports on-line.
The Federal Trade Commission said AnnualCreditReport is the only valid free credit report service. Experian, a credit reporting agency, was found guilty of fraud as they advertised free credit reports, but in reality consumers were charged when they didn’t cancel the service within 30 days. “The website above is the real one, and it shows you what you are eligible for and how to do it” said consumer advocates at Household – HSBC Watch. Rather than access the online site consumers may call for their free credit report (a toll-free number, 877-322-8228, is available), or request one through the mail.
The Federal Trade Commission said there is only one authorized site where consumers can get their free credit reports as part of the 2003 law. That site is http://www.annualcreditreport.com _ and it now has reports available for people in the Western and Midwestern United States, as well as much of the South. The phased-in program will be expanded to cover the Eastern part of the country on Sept. 1.
The national average credit score is 678 as of summer 2005. Researchers at Household – HSBC Watch follow the impact of predatory lending and predatory credit card processing by HSBC and their holding company formerly known as Household International. In many cases – more than what one would expect from a reputable organization – late crediting of payments causes problems for unsuspecting consumers. “If a customer mails a payment 20 days early the customer does not expect it to be credited one day late, especially in light of Shea v Household” said the watchdog organization. For more see this report.
When a consumer disputes credit information on his or her credit report, the three major credit bureaus, Experian, formerly TRW, Equifax, and TransUnion, must notify each other of the reinvestigation. In the past, it was the consumer’s responsibility to notify each bureau. As of 1997, credit bureaus are required to use information supplied by the consumer as well as the credit grantor when reinvestigating inaccurate credit information. This was not a requirement under the old law, and bureaus relied primarily on the credit grantor’s version. Reinvestigations requested by consumers must be completed within 30 days by the major credit bureaus. For more please see out “Regulators” menu at the top of our main page.