Do credit reporting bureaus ever make mistakes?

Man Checking Credit Card
A recent article posted on KOMO News online site, discussed a 2009 California class action lawsuit that challenged credit-reporting bureaus TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian with improperly reporting debts that had been discharged in bankruptcy. The defendants (the credit-reporting bureaus) eventually came to a settlement with the plaintiffs to the tune of $45 million.

The court approved the settlement by issuing an Order Granting Final Approval, but on August 12, 2011, the defendants filed a brief challenging that order. Their challenge is in regards to attorney fees and costs of the case. The reason for the article was to remind readers of the case, because the result of this appeal won’t be known until sometime later this year. The deadline for Appellants to file relevant briefs with the court is January 23, 2012, and Appellees have until February 24, 2012.

The lawsuit was brought on because Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion improperly reported debts that had been discharged in bankruptcy on consumers’ credit reports. Rather than accurately noting that these debts were “discharged through bankruptcy”, the credit bureaus noted that they were “120 days late” or that they had been charged off by the credit issuer.

Incorrectly reporting the status of a debt is illegal, but it also caused a lot of grief for the people affected. This mistake consequently made these debts appear to still be active. When a debt is still reported as active, debt collectors may try to collect on that debt.

The result was that people who had filed for bankruptcy precisely to eliminate their debts and stop getting harassed by debt collectors, had to deal with them anyway.

There are a group of petitioners that are eligible to collect on the settlement that are being represented by this case. To be a member of that group, petitioners had to have received a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge AND a credit report issued by one or more of the defendants between March 15, 2002 and May 11, 2009 with incorrectly reported debts. They also must have submitted a claim form with relevant information by November 30, 2009.

Even though the settlement amount seems large, it will be spread out over so many individuals that it likely won’t result to more than a few dollars per person.

Many experts believe that we may be headed for another recession. Don’t enter a second recession with mountains of debt. I can help you to understand the options available to you for dealing with your debts. I am sure that I can be of assistance to you, to a family member, or to a friend as we all know people experiencing trouble these days even if we are not experiencing our own financial troubles. Please do not hesitate to make contact with me. I emphasize courteous and discrete consultations that fill your time with useful information. The impact to your life after an in-person consultation with me may be substantial, and life-long. You will enjoy a new peace of mind and a fresh hope for the future with a new roadmap for financial success that we develop together. You can contact my scheduler through our website for your free 30 minute consultation. If you wish, you may schedule your free 30 minute consultation by phone by calling us at 253-383-1001 Monday through Thursday from 9:00 AM until 5:45 PM, and on Friday from 9:00 AM until 12 noon.

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