Take Back Your Credit Comments

  • By DailyWorth Team
  • February 19, 2013


Have you checked your credit report lately? You should.

A recent government study found that some 10 million credit reports likely contain errors serious enough to impact people’s scores. And you know what that means. A lower score—even a little lower, say from some silly mix-up with your accounts—reduces your earning power. You pay more for all types of credit: loans, mortgages, credit cards. You could even lose out on a job or a place to live.

Even if you’re pretty sure you have great credit, it’s worth getting your free annual report to check—as a slight improvement can put you in a more credit-worthy category. (Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can get a free credit report from each of the three main credit rating agencies once a year through

The trouble is if you get your report and find an error. They’re not so easy to fix, says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who was interviewed for a “60 Minutes” special on credit earlier this month.

“The problem is not that [the credit bureaus] make mistakes, it’s that they won’t fix the mistakes,” DeWine said during the broadcast.

So what’s a solution-oriented, credit-smart gal supposed to do?

Lawmakers and advocates are using the new study to push for credit reforms. Meanwhile, keep a close eye on your credit, and keep reading for tips from Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), a consumer advocacy organization.

  • Contact the credit reporting company and explain, in writing, what you believe to be inaccurate. They are required by law to send you a detailed explanation, usually within 30 days.
  • Don’t believe “credit repair doctors.” There’s nothing they can do that you can’t.
  • The credit bureaus often outsource their customer service, so be sure to keep detailed records of all communications.
  • If you’ve filed a complaint that the credit bureau has refused to resolve, you’ll probably need a lawyer to fight on your behalf. Try the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and search for a lawyer with expertise in credit reporting.
  • Be proactive. Examine your report in advance to correct any errors before applying for credit. Mierzwinski recommends doing this 6-months prior, leaving ample time to right your wrongs.
  • Visit for more information.
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