78 year old Ann Howe found her husband of 55 years dead. If that wasn’t awful enough, a lump on her forehead was misdiagnosed and turned out to be cancer. She had to undergo cancer surgery. A few days after the surgery, her doctors had to perform open heart surgery on her that nearly killed her.
But, bless her heart, Ann endured. That must be why Experian tried to kill her again.
When Ann was finally recovered enough from her ordeals, she thought it would be a good idea to refinance her home at a better rate. So she applied for refinancing at a local bank. That’s when things got bizarro.
Things were going fine. Two of the credit reporting agencies showed her credit rating was close to 800. But her Experian report had a problem.
“Because somebody made a real ignorant mistake when they told Experian that I was dead,” Howe said. “I mean, that was a terrible blow.”
Howe’s Experian credit report had her listed as deceased. One of her creditors had reported her as dead.
Correcting the mistake was an interstate nightmare that took the full-time attention of Howe’s daughter in California. She sent letters, faxes, notarized explanations, long distance phone calls, but for months, she kept running into the same brick wall.
Howe’s daughter, Julie Kerr, says everyone knew Howe was alive, but the bank wouldn’t budge without a credit report from Experian.
“(They said) ‘We don’t care, we have to get a credit score and without that credit score, we can’t make the loan and we can’t get a credit score because you’re deceased. Now we know you’re not deceased, but they think you are. So we’re not going to do this loan,'” Kerr said.
Even though Experian had recorded a mistake, and even though Ann’s daughter gave all the documentation under the sun to both the bank and Experian, the bank wouldn’t budge without the Experian report and Experian wasn’t interested in doing more than dragging its ass. Ann and her daughter were told it would take 30-45 days to correct the mistake.
By then, of course, Ann’s loan rate would no longer be locked in. So Ann’s daughter Julie went over their heads. She went to a local radio station. Once this stupidity became public, Experian corrected the problem right away.
Desperate, Kerr contacted the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, KGO-TV.
One phone call from the news staff did the trick. The creditor admitted its mistake, sent an apology, and within 24 hours, the credit report error was corrected.
“I mean it was just mind-boggling,” said Kerr.
Howe got her loan and her good interest rate, but she’s still furious.
“Because it was just stupid. And nobody should go through this,” she said.
Good on you, Ann and Julie. Shame on you, Experian. If you are going to control people’s destiny, the least you could do is get it right, shitheads.
Lesson: You have to embarrass these bastards to get their attention. Otherwise, Customer Service in the USA is long dead.
Second lesson: Check your credit reports. You are entitled to free credit reports yearly by law known as The Fair Credit Reporting Act, passed by Congress several years ago. Unlike everything else the current Congress is “Giving” you, this one really IS free.
There is a website you can go to that will tell you what to do. I don’t mean Free Credit Reports Dot Com. They want to help you part with your money. The real web site is here.
This is the ONLY correct government designated site you should use. NONE of the sites on the internet or on Tee Vee are the actual free sites. Don’t get sucker punched by sites that want your money no matter how catchy their song is. The reports really ARE free here.
If you still don’t get it, please know that I have used this site myself twice, although I prefer using their 800 number because I get a rash at the thought of giving out my social security number to anybody while online.
The two times I have used this site, I received my credit reports from all three agencies within ten days. Yes Uppity did it. If Uppity did it, you can do it too.
You can call their number and apply for the free reports from all three agencies once every rolling year.
Once again, this is the only correct site. It costs you nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Did I mention that this is the only correct free web site designated by the FCC for free credit reports? I just want to make sure.
Here is a quote directly from the FCC.gov site which describes your rights and provides you with instructions on how to get your free credit reports. This site also warns against imposter sites.
You can order your free annual credit report online at annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
So now you know what to do. Do it. And tell people you love to do it too.
Don’t let Experian decide you are dead. Make them do their job.
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