Getting credit report errors removed

As mentioned, we are first-time home buyers and are having our house built as I write this. Even as a newly self-employed blogger, we did get approved for a loan, but the rate is a bit higher than I would like and I would like to shop around. I have a hunch that part of the reason the rate is a little bit higher is because two of my student loans that I paid off years ago are showing as unpaid on my credit report.

It comes up to about an extra $15,000 of debt that Transunion has stamped on our credit report that is actually paid. So needless to say, I have been working to have it removed.

Here is the timeline so far…

07/15 – I notice that our loan application shows an extra $15,000 of student loan debt that has been paid in full. I call our lender and ask about it and he said, they pulled it directly from the credit report.

07/16 – I call both student loan companies and ask what I need to do to get this removed. One says they will send out a letter immediately proving that it was actually paid in full. The other requests that I fax over the page on the credit report with the error. I immediately fax the credit report to the number they gave me and retain the fax transmission verification report.

07/20 – I call the student loan company to see if they have taken care of the error yet. They explain that it takes 2-3 business days for credit report error requests to show up on the system (apparently another department does this, and I am not allowed to talk to them.). They confirm with me that I did indeed fax it to the correct number. They inform me that when it does “show on the system” it takes 7-10 business days to process and get it removed. They suggest calling back later next week to check on the status. I am frustrated, but let it go.

07/29 – It is now nearly 2 weeks after I faxed the document. I call the student loan company again hoping that the whole thing will be resolved at this point. They explain that nothing is showing on the system and that they haven’t received a fax from me. Again we confirm that I faxed it to the correct phone number. They again explain it will take 7-10 business days to process once they receive the fax and suggest that I re-fax it.

It is at this point that I realize the Lord is testing me to see how well I remember 1 Corinthians 13 ;) . I ask if I can email the document and talk to anyone there to verify that it was received and the answer is calm no. “Once the fax is received it will show up on the system in 2-3 business days,” they say. So basically there is no way to know if they got my fax until 3 days later. I should also mention that they said I don’t need to re-fax it because they are “taking care of it for me”, but still can’t tell me when it will be showing on “the system” or give me the number of someone to contact who will put it on the system. Then the conversation begins to turn as they more-or-less explain that it really isn’t their responsibility and I should just call Transunion. I ask the lady on the phone what she would do if she was in my shoes, she said she would check back in 7-10 business days. Without giving all the details, after 20 minutes of going round and round with someone who just didn’t get it, I give up and end the call because I am now more frustrated than I have been in quite a while.

Keeping at it…

The challenge in my particular case is that I am no longer a customer for this company and they seem not to have any interest in helping me resolve this. The sad thing is that this is probably one of the easiest credit report errors to get fixed. They acknowledge that it is paid in full, and I wish it were as easy as having a three-way phone call to have this thing settled in 5 minutes. But I have a feeling it is going to take a while.

I am not going to give up, although I am still trying to figure out what my next move should be. All I really need is to get something from them stating that it is paid in full. I hear that the lenders will be satisfied with that. It shouldn’t be this difficult…

Have you ever had the joy of trying to get errors removed from your credit report? Any suggestions?

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6 Comments
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  1. You need to dispute the item with the credit reporting agency. That places the ball in their court to have to prove that it goes there. They have 30 days to do so, I believe. I have successfully done this. I think this is the route you should go rather than with the student loan company. I have successfully disputed an item on my credit report. It was very easy, and got removed quickly.

  2. Unfortunately, I hear these stories all the time. Disputing and correcting items on your credit report can be a daunting task, and quite frankly you have a number of different ways that you can approach this.

    Disputing with the credit bureau is one avenue, and I would take this approach is there was some sort of error, of it there was some item that I wanted to remove completely from the report. This can be a slow process, and while it can be done by the consumer, there are companies that can help with this process. If you’re trying to clean up a bunch of items, it might be in your best interest to find one of these companies. Be careful, and make sure you find someone that is reputable. I’ve done consulting and business development work for some of these companies in the past, and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

    HOWEVER, in your case, it sounds like this is an isolated tradeline (account) on your credit report that you’d like to update. This can be done, in many cases, much easier through the company that the bank pulled your credit through. There are many companies that banks and lenders use to pull credit through. Most of these companies provide other services such as income and fraud verification services. They also usually provide credit report updates. If you provide proof, or conference call with the creditor, they will verify the validity and update the account status. Then, they’ll instruct the lender to reissue a new credit report with that info updated. If done correctly, it won’t have another inquiry on your report (not that it would change much if it did), and this process usually only takes a few days to a week. Most lenders refer to this as a rapid rescore. NOTE, this does cost the lender, so they may pass the cost along to you. And quite frankly, your loan officer might not even know how to do this, therefore didn’t offer it as a solution.

    If it were me, I’d go the rapid rescore route if this were the reason that my score were down…

    On the other hand, I’m not sure that the student loan showing with a balance has anything to do with the rate you’re being offered. Especially, if the account doesn’t show any late payments, but just an open balance. I’d have to look closely at the entire situation to know for sure, but as I read this, my first thought is there were several things that jumped out at me indicating some holes in the level of cousel that you’ve been provided.

    Mortgages can be quite complex processes and difficult to navigate for a consumer…and, as you’ve come to realize, this can become a full time job within its self. I helped start a new company this year that helps with this exact challenge. We help a consumer not only understand how to shop, negotiate, and identify a fair lender, but we also help them avoid suprises and mitigate the challenges that often come up. In other words, we help consumers close with confidence. With no skin in the game, we can offer an objective advice and perspective that the lender may not be able/willing to provide.

    On a larger scale, our mission is to restore consumer confidence back to the mortgage marketplace.

    Please feel free to email me or call, and I’ll help anyway possible.
    josh.campbell@nationalhomeloanadvocates.com
    972-904-3694

  3. This is the kind of run around that causes folks to “go postal”!

    First, keep detailed notes on every conversation you have and document names of the people you speak to. If they put you on hold to speak to a supervisor, ask for their name too.

    Second, make sure you dispute this with the three credit bureaus. If they dont get it resolved, you can add 100 word statement to your report explaining the situation.

    Good Luck!

  4. Mike D.

    Hey Bob, I agree with the people that say you should deal with the credit bureaus, they may be able to remove the item from your report quicker than just calling the student loan people. However, you can’t give up on the student loan people because they’ll just go and put it right back on your report.

    You may want to send them a certified letter, return receipt requested, that way you’ll have proof that it was delivered to them. It will only cost a few dollars and who knows, maybe for some reason they really never received your fax instead of it just being lost within the company somewhere. If you send something certified mail you’ll know for sure it got there and the error will be on their end.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions everyone! After posting this a rep from Transunion contacted me and seems to be very interested in helping me get this resolved. I am impressed so far – I will continue to update this post as we work to get this removed…

  6. As the owner of a credit resotration company, I feel your pain :(. Part of my initial consultation is to tell clients of their legal rights in disputing incorrect information. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 come back to me frustrated and angry. The reporting agencies are not your friends. They have no other obligation than to verify that an account belongs to you…how do they do this? They ask the creditor. The only way that our company has found to really get results is by using the laws under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) to get items legally and permanently removed. Even then, it’s no walk in the park. Creditors have used the threat of ruining your credit to make you pay many dollars more than the original bill in most cases, and never believe the “I promise we’ll remove it if you pay” line either. There are good companies out there. Find one in your area that follows the FCRA, does not require money for services up front, and does not lock you into a long term contract. Ask if they are in compliance with State and Federal regulations. If they are legitimate they will have no problem telling you. Sometimes it’s best to have professionals handle it, if for no other reason than to save you time and one heck of a migraine!

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