As the world of credit evolves and becomes more relevant to the average consumer’s life, it’s becoming increasingly essential for people to understand how credit reporting works. As a credit lawyer in St. Louis, I find that most people think that a credit report error isn’t a big deal.
However, that’s not true. Credit reporting reflects your financial position for lenders and banks, which is why keeping your credit report accurate and updated is in your best interests. One common error that pops up frequently is a mixed credit report.
What Mixed Credit Files Are
Mixed credit files are an error made by Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) where one person’s credit files are mixed up with another’s. Credit files can even be mixed up between three or more people.
Details that can be reported erroneously include addresses, names, debt items, payment histories, public records and more. However, if this happens, a mixed credit report lawyer can help you figure out the next step.
Credit Mix-Ups Happen Frequently
You may think that this is a rare issue, but mixed credit reports happen pretty frequently. The reason for this is that we don’t have a central organization that conducts and approves credit checks. Although the main three CRAs, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, are known for reliability, they still make these errors commonly.
If the agent on your case confuses your name for someone else’s or switches out your SSN for a similar one, the items that show up are likely to be vastly different. Once this error is made, the mixed credit report can be sent out easily without any formal centralized agency to check the report against.
Why You Should Check Your Reports
As explained above, there’s no gatekeeping agency that stops CRAs from adding mixed files into your report. This means that if you’re not regularly checking your report, you have no idea what items are on there.
In the long run, every single false negative item will affect the kinds of interest rates you pay or whether you’ll get a loan you need or not, which is why you should check your reports for mixed files often.
You’re Protected by Federal Law
Did you know that a federal law protects your rights to fair credit reporting? Even though there isn’t any central agency that works on the government’s behalf to approve credit reports universally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) enforces laws that state CRAs must resolve credit report errors in a reasonable period.
However, if your CRA isn’t toeing the line and taking too long to fix errors, you may be entitled to damages because of the FCRA.