Friday, July 2, 2010

2: Can Credit Consumers Survive the Credit Reporting Industry? Blog 2

(This is the second of a series of blogs on credit and credit reporting in the United States.
The monthlynotesstaff intends to publish this series as a book. Book publishers, agents, and investors are encouraged to contact us to help secure funding for this project. Consider this to be material under copyright.)

Anonymous Automated Credit Reporting Prevents Credit Repair.

The vicious cycle of computer-linked data flow of bill collecting information is augmented by the privately-held Pritzker family, formerly of the Pritzker Bank, and Marmon TransUnion of Chicago, IL, and by yet a fourth major credit reporting company, Experian. Experian is the largest provider of consumer information. Unlike the publicly-traded Equifax, information about Experian is harder to find in standard U.S. business references.

These four credit reporting companies hold databases on 100 million Americans and several million international customers. In addition to the "Big 4" and their franchises and affiliates, there are thousands of smaller corporate and home-based business computer-linked streams of data from other bill collecting and financial services companies.

Is it possible to stop the vicious cycle of computer-linked data flow to repair and restore a consumer's credit reputation? To correct only one negative erroneous entry on any of the four major credit reporting bureaus is an enormous challenge for the average consumer.

The first problem a consumer encounters is terminology calculated to terminate the attempt to make a correction. A key word is "creditor". To the average consumer, a creditor is a person or business from whom the consumer actually borrowed money or purchased merchandise or a service. In the computer-linked credit bureau sector, a creditor may be a bill collector who purchases credit data for bill collecting or resale of data to other computer circuits of bill collectors, but from whom the supposed "debtor" has never borrowed money nor received a product or service. This type of creditor can severely damage the reputation of the credit consumer in a legal sense, for example, in bankruptcy court proceedings.

How does a consumer motivate the credit bureau to actually verify there was a bilateral or two-party agreement or real transaction between the purported "creditor"/negative credit reporter and the consumer reported? Despite shelves of books in the local libraries on how to correct wrong and harmful entries through protest or dispute forms, there is no incentive for the huge, mostly anonymous credit bureaus to delete wrong entries, add dispute forms to the credit file, or repair the consumer's credit reputation.

The concept of truth in or about credit report entry publishing and republishing is lost on the average credit bureau customer service representative (CSR). When there were more "live operators", the CSR usually would repeat endlessly that the disputed creditor is listed as a creditor on the credit bureau report. No documentation previously sent to the bureau could convince the credit bureau there was no such creditor to an original transaction with the consumer. No dispute note was added to the file.

Automated answering machine/voice mail messaging systems now have replaced most credit reporting bureau CSRs. Currently, automated telephone answering machine messages instruct the consumer who calls with a complaint or dispute to send $8.00 to obtain a credit report. No discussion is possible.

The credit reporting industry has become an enormous rumor mill, an automated libel machine relentlessly wreaking havoc in the life of an innocent credit consumer. An android programmed to investigate and verify any disputed entry could annotate, delete, or correct entries if the industry wanted to publish and disseminate correct information.

The human CSR appeared to be coached to retain negative credit report entries to be bought, sold, or traded to other companies in the credit reporting bureau network. The newer system eliminates the possibility of hearing complaints or disputes, or correcting wrong and damaging entries.

(See for the next blog in the series "Can Credit Consumers Survive the Credit Reporting Industry?") Contact or for an email or to comment.