60 Minutes Episode Reveals Major Barriers to Great Credit Scores

I have never forgotten one of the most insightful pieces of wisdom my father, a native Moroccan, shared with me when I was younger. He said, “In this country the content of your character is most often judged on your credit score, not necessarily your standing in the community, so always keep a good credit score.” And boy was he right. Personal credit history is perhaps the single largest deciding factor in life’s biggest things – buying a house, gaining employment, obtaining security clearance and for business owners, the ability to accept credit cards from your customers.This might be why the latest episode of 60 minutes
(see full brodcast below) was such a disturbing one.  In his latest investigative piece, 60 minutes veteran reporter Steve Kroft dove deep in to the troubled world of the credit reporting industry to discover the information reported by the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) is actually, completely out of our control.In the second part of his expose, Kroft reported that as many as 40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit report, twenty million of them mistakes significant enough to affect their credit scores.

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, who has launched his own investigation in to the matter cites “clear violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” “The problem is not that they make mistakes. It’s they won’t fix the mistakes” says Dewine.

Kroft himself, on camera attempts to contact the “customer dispute” line at one of these credit reporting agencies only to be told to mail in his dispute to a particular P.O. Box. These disputes are typically investigated in India, the Philippines or South America.

This is when things get really disturbing. Kroft travels to the Chilean Capital of Santiago to meet with three former Experian employees in charge of handling these disputes. In short, the former employees reported that their only function in “investigating” these disputes was to assign the dispute a code (never late or not mine) and send them off to the bank or creditor on the report.

One former employee states, “Yeah. The creditor was always right” Another one says, “Mostly; we took for granted the word of the bank. If the bank said, “Hey, this guy owes $100,” so it is.”

Attorney Sylvia Goldsmith, who has filed several lawsuits, subpoenaed company records and deposed employees and executives in these cases told Kroft, “We can get a jury verdict for $1 million. That’s chump change to some of these bureaus. They would rather pay a verdict of $1 million than to actually go in and change the policies and procedures they have, because that’s much more expensive to them.”

Typically, I try to close my blog posts with helpful tips on whatever topic I am discussing, but in this case I am at a loss. We have spent years advising business owners on ways to stay up to date and manage their credit scores,  often sending them directly to Experian, Equifax and Transunion themselves.

About the Author

Rachida EssadiqRachida Essadiq, Director of Marketing at NTC Texas is a successful five year marketing veteran, running events and campaigns for large to  small enterprises and non-profits.  She specializes in blogging, social media, branding/ identity and search engine optimization, striving to provide NTC Texas customers and fans with entertaining and valuable educational resources to find success in all areas of their businesses.