John Oliver "Last Week Tonight"

John Oliver Takes Aim At Credit Reports In ‘Last Week Tonight’

By admin
In April 12, 2016
Comments off
1117 Views

John Oliver Takes Aim At Credit Reports In ‘Last Week Tonight’

Lauren Gensler with Forbes Magazine recaps John Oliver’s roasting of Credit Reports and the companies responsible.

On Sunday, John Oliver took aim at the credit industry on his show Last Week Tonightlambasting the credit bureaus for allowing so many mistakes on credit reports.

According to a 2013 FTC study, one in 20 people have a substantial error on their credit reports. Put in context, that’s ten million people, equivalent to the entire population of Sweden, says Oliver.

Your credit is critical and can keep you from getting a loan, a job, an apartment or an insurance policy. Maybe it shouldn’t be applicable to so many aspects of your life, suggests Oliver, who questions whether a credit check is really necessary to be a Benihana restaurant manager or a fireworks tent operator.

Errors on credit reports have long been a problem, as Oliver demonstrates by airing news clips from the last several decades, yet the industry seems “uncomfortably complacent” with the rate of errors. Look no further than a press release they put out that boasts 95% of people are unaffected by errors.

Think 95% isn’t so bad? Oliver begs to differ. He responds by trolling the big three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and opening three new lookalike businesses — Equifacks.com, Experianne.com and TramsOnion.com — that he’s sure 95% of people won’t be confused by. The websites even attempt to separate themselves from the credit bureaus, like TramsOnion.com, which sells steaks made out of SeaWorld orcas and has a notice that says “We are not affiliated with TransUnion. We are not monsters.”

As Oliver notes, credit report errors can have a negative impact on your life. Yet he goes after one of the hairiest — and rarest — problems you can have with your credit reports, which is that they get mixed up with someone else’s. For instance, Oliver references a 60 Minutes segment from 2013, which features a woman named Judy Thomas who found another woman’s debt and collections accounts on her reports. After years of trying to figure out what had happened and going back and forth with the credit bureaus, Thomas had to sue in federal court to get the situation rectified.

A “commingled” file, as it’s called, is often the result of sharing a similar name, address or social security number with someone else. It can be particularly tricky to sort out since the wrong info has a way of continually landing on your reports. The culprit: Automated systems, which are trying to match millions of pieces of information with the right credit files.

Most garden variety mistakes, on the other hand, can be rectified fairly easily, although you do have to go through the trouble of filing a dispute and proving your case. (Read more: How To Scrub Your Credit Report Clean Of Costly Errors)

—- Written by Lauren Gensler with Forbes Magazine .  Link to Article