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Experian Does Not Like Me. Period.

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Since my first store credit card in the summer of 1992 (JC Penney), Experian has used some form of subterfuge to decimate my credit rating with them.

 

Their latest attempt to hornswoggle my credit report is actually frustrating me to the point of driving to their nearest corporate office (Schaumburg, IL).

 

I have disputed items that are both obviously incorrect to the human eye and to the CRA. They verify the items and finish my dispute at 4:09AM.

I request a reinvestigation. They verify it and finish the reinvestigation at 6:12AM.

 

My report is in Special Handling, so I am confused as to why some pissed off Bangladeshi is completing my requests (as evidenced by the time of completion) instead of someone stateside.

 

Nonetheless, I am overnighting 8 separate MOV letters to Experian requesting that they tell me who they spoke to at Montgomery Ward, and why an online catalog store told them I have an unsecured loan with them (when they do not offer such). Or how Gettington can tell me they cannot find anything they shipped to my non-existent address, yet can verify an account with Experian. (to name a few of my grievances).

 

I am simultaneously sending each of the 8 companies a "Hey, can you tell me who you spoke with at Experian" letter. I fully expect all 8 to tell me "WTF are you talking about? Nobody from Experian contacted us."

 

With paperwork in tow, I will find an FCRA attorney to hit them with 8 counts of FCRA malfeasance. I will look to settle with them for emotional damage, the violations, cost of preparing all notices (at $25 an hour) and whatever else is deemed just and proper.

 

At this point, I'm not sure its about getting items removed anymore; it is painfully obvious that Experian (et al.) has a penchant for shoving the proverbial ham candle up the consumer's keister, sans lube, and intends to continue to do so with little (if any) oversight for all of eternity.

 

I am still unsure if I can file action against LexisNexis for freezing my report in accordance with Georgia law (I am a Hoosier), and for referring to me as a female (my wife will verify my manparts if needed).

 

Guess I am looking for input, and possibly some caveats, before firing these letters off.

Edited by Toast73

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If you want input, I suggest that you spell out in detail (extraneous info omitted) each of the reporting inaccuracies you're disputing with EXP.

 

I want to stress that, in my own experience, it's far more effective to obtain corrections from the tradeline reporter (card issuer, etc.) than to dispute indirectly through a CRA.  Understand that ultimate responsibility for tradeline content rests with the reporter.  The CRA's only responsibility is to accurately report what is reported to them.  CRA's typically refer a dispute back to the reporter with a simple request to confirm the existing data as reported.  When you enter a dispute with them, including considerable detail about what's wrong with the reporting, typically no consideration is given that detail at all.

 

That said, there is an exception to CRA dispute investigations where if you forward to them definitive proof of an inaccuracy (say, a paid card issuer statement, when the reporting says you have an outstanding balance), AND a prior dispute wasn't resolved to your satisfaction, there is some onus on the CRA to more substantively review a dispute with the reporter.  But, by far, this is an exceptional situation.

 

Bottom line, whatever footwork you might go through with a CRA in order to effect a correction, it's almost always a huge shortcut to contact the creditor and get them to fix the reporting directly.  If working with the creditor is problematic in some fashion, I GUARANTEE that you'll run into a greater run-around trying to resolve it with a CRA dispute.  (There's a caveat here:  if at any time the creditor fails to respond to a CRA dispute inquiry, the CRA must delete the disputed information.  So, yeah, sometimes that ends up being a quick fix ... except, under most circumstances, the creditor is free to subsequently confirm the info, in which case it's reinstated.  (Some people are misled by reinsertion prohibitions detailed in the FCRA ... these restrict only reinsertion of adverse content that HASN'T been confirmed by the creditor.)

 

Ok <stepping away from the lecturn ;) > ...

 

case in point, your Monkey Ward dispute:  If MW has reported a installment tradeline to EXP, and re-confirmed such in response to your dispute, then EXP is totally in the clear until such time as you definitely provide documentation that clearly evidences that you have no such tradeline.  (This begs the issue of the difficulty of "proving a negative".)  Again, I'll suggest that you really have a problem with MW, and not EXP; as such, your best bet is to take it up with MW.

 

I'm led to question whether you may misunderstand your account relationship with MW, because some retail credit lines offer both revolving AND installment credit terms.  Some retailers will set up a "special purchase" sub-account with unique terms (e.g. 1/20 original balance monthly payments, with no finance charge).  Such an account is legitimately reported as an installment account.  However, in fairness to you, while I'm unfamiliar with MW credit terms, the credit agreement shown on their website doesn't suggest that they offer such terms.

 

Another related observation:  I question whether you may be chasing your tail on this account's reporting without any significant benefit in the balance for doing so ... even if this account is reporting incorrectly as installment, it's unlikely that this is hurting your credit score.  For example, the credit reporting of an installment account is far more forgiving when it comes to higher utilization than is the case for a revolving account.  Further, because FICO rewards tapping a diverse array of credit, if this happens to be your only reported installment account, you'll likely benefit from the reporting misclassification.

 

I hope the above is helpful and constructive.  I, or others, will be happy to offer suggestions re your other disputes.

 

 

 

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Just now, Toast73 said:

I am simultaneously sending each of the 8 companies a "Hey, can you tell me who you spoke with at Experian" letter. I fully expect all 8 to tell me "WTF are you talking about? Nobody from Experian contacted us."

I don't know if this matters to you or not, but the credit reporting agency would have handled your dispute with the creditor via their e-Oscar interface.  This interface does not require a physical conversation.   In fact, the creditor can set up auto responders to answer back to the credit reporting agency based on the criteria they set.    Don't know if this helps, just thought I would let you know.

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Time of an update has nothing to do with whether something is worked in the States or off-shore.  Further, there are components of the Allen operations that are, in fact, 24/7- driving past their complex in the middle of the night will confirm this. 

 

 When I got placed into special handling, I always got routed to a representative that, from accent, appeared to be in Allen.  I got more done with them by phone than would have occurred via written letter, but it may have helped that I was dealing with legitimate fraud. 

 

As to claiming an action for not correcting everything in a boilerplate slab of text, don't expect relief.  If you were to persist, then don't be surprised if you get slapped with sanctions, not unlike Cunningham all those years ago (still laugh about that one and some of the conversations I had with counsel through the years of his frivolous crap).

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1 hour ago, MarvBear said:

I don't know if this matters to you or not, but the credit reporting agency would have handled your dispute with the creditor via their e-Oscar interface.  This interface does not require a physical conversation.   In fact, the creditor can set up auto responders to answer back to the credit reporting agency based on the criteria they set.    Don't know if this helps, just thought I would let you know.

 

My goal in sending the MOV to the CRA would be to establish who spoke with who across e-Oscar to further establish whether that communication falls under the definition of "reasonable" when conducting an investigation/reinvestigation.

1 hour ago, hdporter said:

I'm led to question whether you may misunderstand your account relationship with MW, because some retail credit lines offer both revolving AND installment credit terms. 

 

This is an IIB account that is similar to Fingerhut; buy something, make payments. However, it is NOWHERE CLOSE to being an unsecured loan, as both they and the CRA purport. I never received money.

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1 hour ago, centex said:

If you were to persist, then don't be surprised if you get slapped with sanctions

 

What sanctions could they impose upon me outside of Special Handling (where I am), freezes (which I can remove) or denying me access to online disputing (which they already do)?

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1 hour ago, Toast73 said:

 

What sanctions could they impose upon me outside of Special Handling (where I am), freezes (which I can remove) or denying me access to online disputing (which they already do)?

You referenced litigation in your post.  Frivolous litigation CAN result in sanctions where you HAVE to pony up the dollar amount established by the Court...

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1 hour ago, Toast73 said:

 

My goal in sending the MOV to the CRA would be to establish who spoke with who across e-Oscar to further establish whether that communication falls under the definition of "reasonable" when conducting an investigation/reinvestigation.

 

This is an IIB account that is similar to Fingerhut; buy something, make payments. However, it is NOWHERE CLOSE to being an unsecured loan, as both they and the CRA purport. I never received money.

 

If this is the gist of your dispute, I'll suggest that your efforts will be as rewarding as a hamster running furiously in its wheel.  I offer this earnestly and constructively.

 

I've never seen a credit report classify a tradeline as a "unsecured loan".  The closest classification with which I'm familiar is an installment tradeline, which simply means that you've taken on a debt in exchange for a promise of fixed payments to the creditor.  CASH need never have been part of the transaction.  For a MW tradeline, its sufficient that you received goods in exchange for the promise to pay.

 

I'll suggest that the most effective credit repair efforts start with a clear understanding of what the CRA's and reporters are respectively responsible for under the regs, AND what repair efforts yield the biggest bang.  CRA disputes can be a very constructive exercise in some specific circumstances; in others, you potentially could get stronger benefit out of obtaining your own "hamster wheel".

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2 hours ago, hdporter said:

I've never seen a credit report classify a tradeline as a "unsecured loan". 

If I can figure out how to post a screen shot, I have no problem showing proof.

 

2 hours ago, centex said:

You referenced litigation in your post.  Frivolous litigation CAN result in sanctions where you HAVE to pony up the dollar amount established by the Court...

 

Although I would give what information I have obtained to an experienced jurist, I am fairly certain they would not file anything fraught with frivolity.

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On an Experian credit file, your association with an account is identified by the ECOA code.   I could not find a code that identifies an unsecured loan.

 

I – Individual Account
An account marked with a letter “I” is your account and yours alone. No one else is authorized to use the account, and you are the only person responsible for managing the account.

J – Joint Account
Only married couples have accounts marked with a “J” on their credit reports because you can only share a joint account with a spouse. Both you and your husband/wife are contractually liable for joint accounts.

M – Maker
On accounts marked with an “M,” you are responsible along with a co-signer who is not your spouse. This cosigner has agreed to assume joint liability for the account.

P – Participating Account
This letter indicates an account is technically a joint account, but contractual liability is not determined.

S – Signer
For accounts marked with “S,” you are the cosigner, but the primary borrower is not a spouse. Also, you are liable for the account if the primary borrower defaults.

T – Terminated
A “T” beside joint or cosigned account means that your association with an account is no longer valid. Therefore, you are no longer responsible or liable.

U – Undesignated
Accounts marked “U” indicate that the primary owner is unknown.

X – Deceased

There is also the Code A to indicate authorized user.

Likewise, the Code C to indicate a joint account.

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2 hours ago, MarvBear said:

On an Experian credit file, your association with an account is identified by the ECOA code.   I could not find a code that identifies an unsecured loan.

 


I  Individual Account
An account marked with a letter I is your account and yours alone. No one else is authorized to use the account, and you are the only person responsible for managing the account.

J  Joint Account
Only married couples have accounts marked with a J on their credit reports because you can only share a joint account with a spouse. Both you and your husband/wife are contractually liable for joint accounts.

M  Maker
On accounts marked with an M,” you are responsible along with a co-signer who is not your spouse. This cosigner has agreed to assume joint liability for the account.

P  Participating Account
This letter indicates an account is technically a joint account, but contractual liability is not determined.

S  Signer
For accounts marked with S,” you are the cosigner, but the primary borrower is not a spouse. Also, you are liable for the account if the primary borrower defaults.

T  Terminated
A T beside joint or cosigned account means that your association with an account is no longer valid. Therefore, you are no longer responsible or liable.

U  Undesignated
Accounts marked U indicate that the primary owner is unknown.

X  Deceased

There is also the Code A to indicate authorized user.

Likewise, the Code C to indicate a joint account.

 

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Sorry for the extraneous Marv quote (I was interrupted and apparently hit "submit")

 

Let me reply from "scratch".  With a tad more time available, I've referred back to my own EXP report (downloaded online).  On my report, unsecured loans report just as "Account Type" Unsecured, with the "Loan Terms" field showing the number of payments.

 

So, apologies for citing from my faulty memory ;). 

 

This reporting slightly differs from your citation of text reading "Unsecured Loan".  I'll chalk that up to a possibly different EXP source.  (It would be helpful to know what is reported under the "Terms" field).

 

Accepting at face value that your account is reporting as an installment loan, what documentation do you have to suggest that a different account type should apply?  (not challenging your assertion; just asking how you would argue the creditor's assertion that it was a installment account?)

 

Again, please understand that it's not required that cash have been transferred from the lender to you.  It's sufficient that goods were exchanged in consideration of your acceptance of the installment debt responsibility.  So long as that debt stipulated a fixed payment each month, for a given number of months, then Type: "Installment" is accurate.  On the other hand, if you were merely subject to a minimum payment and there wasn't a fixed amortization schedule in place, then Type: "Charge Card" or "Credit Card" would appear to be the proper classification.

 

From a practical standpoint, I presume that you're not busting your back over this because of this possible discrepancy, but instead have hope that the dispute might be a pry bar by which to get the account deleted (along with any derogatory content).  I can respect that (and correct me if this is a misapprehension.)  But, understand that such deletions only typically occur when the creditor doesn't respond to a CRA's dispute inquiry.  Disagreement with what the creditor responds with are typically handled be resolving that disagreement and reporting the result.

 

If you're well grounded in a claim that this account isn't an installment loan account (in other words, most likely should be classified as a revolving account), and you provide solid evidence to the CRA and they fail to resolve the discrepancy between that and the response from the creditor, then you likely have cause to seek a legal remedy.  I won't speculate on what remedies might apply (citing "I ANAL" ... I am not a lawyer).

 

 

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It has been years since I have looked at a consumer version of a credit file.   I use data furnisher versions that might distort my apparent answers.

 

Here is a partial pdf of an Experian  credit file.

position #30 tells you the type of account, in this case it says SEC which would indicate to me it was secured by some sort of collateral.  That would be immaterial to my decisioning process, because I would only care about the monthly obligation amount and how it has been historically paid. The encumbrance of property or lack thereof would mean nothing to me.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MarvBear said:

It has been years since I have looked at a consumer version of a credit file.   I use data furnisher versions that might distort my apparent answers.

 

Here is a partial pdf of an Experian  credit file.

position #30 tells you the type of account, in this case it says SEC which would indicate to me it was secured by some sort of collateral.  That would be immaterial to my decisioning process, because I would only care about the monthly obligation amount and how it has been historically paid. The encumbrance of property or lack thereof would mean nothing to me.

 

 

Which brings us back to why we always urge people not to rely on the online reports.  However, even paper reports mailed to the consumer contort data to be more easily read.  Any time there is manipulation to fit a format, something is at risk of being dented or broken. 

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As I cannot figure out how to upload images here, here is the MW account in all its glory per Experian. This is from my report, straight from Experian. The present of some or all of the account numbers is moot; this account was IIB almost five years ago.

 

The account "type" would satisfy what @MarvBear is speaking of when he stated what he saw in position #30.

 

I was never made aware that my three Christmas presents were subject to an amortization schedule, although stranger things have happened. The items are already overpriced to compensate for the possibility that a consumer may not make all their payments.

 

I have sent an email to Swiss Colony asking if they offer installment loans or unsecured loans. I have also asked Fingerhut the same, merely for my gratification and nothing more.

 

 

Edited by Toast73

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Just from my 2¢ worth, you are barking up the wrong tree on this one.  If Montgomery ward and swiss colony were credit cards, then they were unsecured.   Your argument in my opinion bears no merit based on your presentation.

 

Not trying to bust you up side the head, just trying to be as upfront and honest as I know how to be.

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10 hours ago, Toast73 said:

As I cannot figure out how to upload images here, here is the MW account in all its glory per Experian. This is from my report, straight from Experian. The present of some or all of the account numbers is moot; this account was IIB almost five years ago.

 

The account "type" would satisfy what @MarvBear is speaking of when he stated what he saw in position #30.

 

I was never made aware that my three Christmas presents were subject to an amortization schedule, although stranger things have happened. The items are already overpriced to compensate for the possibility that a consumer may not make all their payments.

 

I have sent an email to Swiss Colony asking if they offer installment loans or unsecured loans. I have also asked Fingerhut the same, merely for my gratification and nothing more.

 

 

 

This added information sheds all the light needed to grasp the correct reporting applicable here. 

 

If you go to the Swiss Colony website and link to their credit terms, the agreement is very much in the form of an installment credit account:  A monthly payment is stipulated and is fixed based upon your last "Highest New Balance" and continues for a stated number of months (that number is also based upon the "Highest New Balance"). 

 

(See:  https://www.swisscolony.com/cm/buy-now-pay-later/?cm_re=credit-links-_-header-_-credit )

 

This contrasts with a revolving credit account, where the monthly payment is calculated based upon the current statement balance outstanding, and varies each month accordingly.

 

I understand the source of your confusion in making a call on the account type involved.  However, in substance, this account meets all the necessary criteria to be considered an installment account (i.e. "Loan").

 

 

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13 hours ago, MarvBear said:

Not trying to bust you up side the head, just trying to be as upfront and honest as I know how to be.

That's all I wanted. Learning experiences don't always have to be presented kindly.

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4 hours ago, hdporter said:

I understand the source of your confusion in making a call on the account type involved.  However, in substance, this account meets all the necessary criteria to be considered an installment account (i.e. "Loan").

That is, indeed, my source of confusion.

 

I suppose somewhere down the line, I had assumed that tagging a credit report entry as an "installment/personal loan" signified that cash was lent instead of goods. In my mind, showing an installment/personal loan account that was IIB on your credit report would have much harsher scoring than a credit card or store account, and I could have swore at one point this account was listed on my report without an account type.

 

I shall concentrate on a goodwill removal of this IIB next year instead of fighting an endless battle with Experian over reporting semantics.

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19 hours ago, Toast73 said:

As I cannot figure out how to upload images here, here is the MW account in all its glory per Experian. This is from my report, straight from Experian. The present of some or all of the account numbers is moot; this account was IIB almost five years ago.

 

The account "type" would satisfy what @MarvBear is speaking of when he stated what he saw in position #30.

 

I was never made aware that my three Christmas presents were subject to an amortization schedule, although stranger things have happened. The items are already overpriced to compensate for the possibility that a consumer may not make all their payments.

 

I have sent an email to Swiss Colony asking if they offer installment loans or unsecured loans. I have also asked Fingerhut the same, merely for my gratification and nothing more.

 

 

That image does not look like a scan of a paper report.  Until a paper report is available, there really is nothing to discuss...

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      I have sent debt validation letters to all three credit bureaus and this is what was verified. Where do I go from here. I was added as an authorized user to my mothers credit card (Capital One Costco) about a month ago. I hope this helps my score improve but it hasn't reported yet. I saw a 25+ point boost from my secured discover card but it hasn't helped since then. Can anyone offer some guidance as to a path for a better credit score? 
       
      Thanks,
      BFee  



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