Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The nation’s three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—will pay the state of Mississippi a total of $7.175 million and two of the agencies will offer Mississippians unlimited access to free credit reports over the next three years to resolve an investigation into credit report errors and deceptive marketing, according to a press release on Attorney General Jim Hood’s website.
“There are few documents more important than credit reports to borrowers, students, homeowners, tenants, job candidates and service members,” Attorney General Hood stated in the press release. “These corporations were too busy making money and listing debt that they didn’t bother to take the time to delete errors or verify whether the debts were correct.”
Starting in November of 2016, Mississippi residents will be eligible to receive unlimited free credit reports for three years, one free FICO credit score every year for three years, in addition to other benefits provided by the credit bureaus under terms of settlements with Attorney General Hood. To learn more about all of the benefits for Mississippians in the credit report settlements, click here.
Attorney General Hood launched an investigation into credit reporting practices in 2013 after his office received numerous consumer complaints about credit report errors and difficulty in correcting those errors. Of particular concern to Attorney General Hood were errors in the reporting of information related to public records—such as civil judgments and tax liens, according to the press release.
In addition, the credit reporting agencies were attributing the public record of one person to another person and failed to update public records information when a civil judgment was paid or dismissed. The agencies also had no procedure in place to comply with a Mississippi law that extinguishes certain debts after three years and were routinely including extinguished debts in credit reports for Mississippians.
Attorney General Hood also discovered that Experian and TransUnion were engaging in deceptive marketing and sale of subscription credit monitoring services. Many Mississippians—lured by the promise of a “$1 credit report” or “free credit score”—were automatically enrolled in an expensive monthly credit monitoring service that they did not want and did not know about.
The three credit reporting agencies compile and sell credit reports on almost every Mississippi adult that are the basis for determining whether and on what terms consumers are offered credit cards, student loans, auto loans, mortgages or rental housing. The information on the credit reports may impact also “may be the difference for employers in determining whether to offer someone a job.”
More Information about Credit Reports from ESR
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