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The “big three” credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) maintain credit files on more than 200 million Americans. In August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a monthly report showing a rather significant increase in consumer complaints about their credit reports. Americans are also complaining more about issues related to their credit cards, student loans, consumer borrowing, and other financial accounts.
More People are Disgruntled about Credit Reporting
If you’re unhappy with the responses you’re getting from credit reporting agencies, you’re not alone. Complaints about credit reports have grown by 45% year-over-year with the CFPB now receiving over 5,000 complaints per quarter. The steep increase in credit report complaints is second only to the gripes about consumer loans, which rose 61%. Although the percentage of consumer loan complaints rose more than those about credit reporting, there have been well over four times as many complaints about credit reporting than there have been about consumer loans.
Types of Complaints
The biggest complaint of all from consumers about their credit reports is that their files contain incorrect information. That can be a major problem if the data is outdated or displays a negative mark on their credit profile because it could prevent consumers from getting a loan or other financial assistance. Many complaints are also lodged by consumers who find uncollected debt reports in their files, despite the fact that they believe they have already paid those debts off.
People also complain that credit agencies are not responsive enough when consumers report errors and ask for them to be corrected. In fact, many consumers who are victims of identity theft feel as though they are being victimized twice over when they have to jump through hoops and deal with a slow bureaucracy while trying to rectify the situation. Another common gripe is that it is not all that easy to access one’s credit files because you have to answer so many password and identity authentication questions. Considering the alternative, that’s not such a bad problem to have as it means there are multiple layers of security guarding your personal data.
Payday Loans, Credit Cards, and Other Interesting Revelations
One bright spot on the report is that complaints about payday lenders are basically stable. The volume of payday loan complaints has risen about 9% compared to last year. One reason the numbers remain rather steady could be due to the CFPB aggressively going after payday lenders engaging in predatory lending practices.
Complaints related to credit cards have risen 24% over the past year averaging almost 2,000 individual complaints per quarter. And by average monthly complaint volume, Equifax, Experian, and Bank of America were the “most-complained-about companies for March - May 2015.”
If you happen to live in Los Angeles, you may be interested to learn that your city ranks highest in terms of all kinds of complaints to the CFPB. Nearly 95,000 complaints came from California, and more than a third of those were from the Los Angeles area.
Do You Have a Complaint?
If you have a complaint, the CFPB wants to hear from you. There is an entire section of the CFPB website devoted to assisting you in this way, and you can access it at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/. If you prefer to communicate with the CFPB in Spanish, they are there to help in that language, too, if you call (855) 411-2372.