Thursday, July 07, 2005

Credit Bureaus Are Horrible

This article is about a week old now but I just read it yesterday and it is infuriating! It is about Equifax's CEO and his opposition to federal legislation that allows consumers to see their credit reports once a year for free.
CEO Thomas Chapman called the legislation unconstitutional and un-American because it cuts into profits that Equifax and two rival credit reporting agencies -- Experian and TransUnion -- earn from selling credit reports and monitoring services. Equifax maintains credit data on 220 million Americans. The company earned $1.27 billion in revenue last year.
Un-American? Do you know what I think is un-American? The notion that three companies have the personal information of most Americans and we have to pay them $30 every time we want to access it! That is un-American!

On top of that, the information is riddled with errors as was evident the one and only time I did a credit check last year. Experian had me confused with my father and even grandfather in some cases. There were inaccurate addresses and even social security numbers associated with my credit report. If these agencies can't do their sole job of monitoring and keep people's information accurate and correct, then why bother even trying to protect ourselves from identity theft?
Chapman said that viewing a credit report once a year wouldn't protect consumers against fraud.

"That's like turning on the smoke alarm once a year," he said.

I think that we need to police the police in this case. If they are so concerned with people getting access to their credit histories once a year, then maybe there really is a problem. People would actually get to see how many errors there are on them not including any real fraud! Shouldn't we be allowed to make sure that the people that are in control of our financial existence are keeping our information correctly so that those of us who are trying hard to keep good credit can get that first home some day? Then again, that might be a moot point since any city government can take that away from you for other private economic developers to make a buck.

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