Q: I’ve paid my bills — ALL of them — on time for more than a year now. I subscribed to Equifax Credit Watch, Experian Credit Watch and TransUnion via myFICO.com, in order to keep a close watch on my credit history.
I have one gas card and one department store credit card, and I pay them early or at least on time, but never late in the last two years. I’ve never been late paying on any of my auto loans.
I do have some medical bill problems thanks to a medical billing service that continually files claims to my old insurance company and then turns them over for collection no matter how many times I provide them with the correct insurance information and a copy of my insurance coverage card.
I currently own one home near my old job, and rent a home near my current job
The problem I have is that my mortgage company “accidentally” reported my June, July and August payments as late. This all started in June, 2003, when our mortgage payment increased by about $31 and my husband didn’t realize the amount had changed and sent the old amount.
The mortgage company then put that payment in “suspension” and reported it as late. Once we realized what happened, we sent in the $93 we owed and cleared up the mistake.
The mortgage company has acknowledged in writing, once in August, again in September, that they have asked the 3 reporting agencies to remove the derogatory info from my credit report. Equifax and TransUnion removed the information, but Experian was much slower and it keeps re-appearing on my credit report.
I have about had it with this situation. The kicker is that because of this, there have now been two homes that I was seriously interested in purchasing but couldn’t because of this situation.
What can I do?
A: If there has been a mistake reported as fact by the credit reporting bureaus, you must file a complaint and ask for an investigation of your account. By law, the credit reporting bureau must investigate the account within 30 days and either reaffirm that you did indeed pay late or, if you have proof, remove the error from your credit history.
If you can prove that reporting these late payments was incorrect by showing the credit reporting bureau the letters the lender has written on your behalf, you should be able to make some headway. If you don’t, keep moving your way up the food chain, jumping from supervisor to supervisor until you find someone who can help.
If the credit reporting bureau refuses to remove the information within the time specified by Federal law, you can report the bureau to the Federal Trade Commission for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The website is www.ftc.gov, although the FTC will not investigate individual claims of wrong-doing.
However, you may also call the attorney general’s office in your state or consult with an attorney on other legal options you may have.
When it comes to applying for your next home loan, try to work with a lender who pulls a copy of your credit history from each of the credit reporting bureaus. Then, you can show the lender, with your proof in hand, that you pay bills on time, and that this was simply an unfortunate error that should be overlooked.