- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

From the volume of e-mails I have received since my last column, it’s pretty clear I’m not the only person who questions the policies of America’s largest credit-repository companies.

Let me summarize the saga for those who haven’t been following:

A few weeks ago, Trans-Union LLC mixed me up with another person and reported that I had a personal credit score of 530 (which is much lower than my actual score). After a bit of jawboning and references to my columnist stature, I was able to get the error corrected within 24 hours.

A couple of weeks later, I discovered through a random check that my company’s business credit report is inferior. This was according to business-reporting agency Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (D&B) and credit repository Experian PLC. Both claimed two vendors reported that my company’s payments were unacceptably late.

Neither D&B nor Experian would reveal my accusers, citing “contractual obligations with data suppliers” in an e-mail from Experian.

I spoke with someone at D&B who resolved the problem within 24 hours. Overnight, the score increased from 65 to 93 out of 100.

My luck with Experian wasn’t so good. In fact, I received an e-mail from Danica Ross in the public relations department thanking me for “reaching out to” them and assuring me that the “customer relations team will contact the vendors first thing Monday morning to dispute the information and ask their permission to reveal their identity to you. The process will take 10 days maximum.”

I can’t believe it takes 10 business days, which is two weeks, for Experian to decide whether or not I am allowed to face my accuser or help resolve the situation.

That is unacceptable, folks.

The only correspondence we received from Experian was a letter providing instructions about how to access our business report and a membership offer.

Are they kidding?

This company ruined our credit with false information and then tried to sell us something afterward.

As I write this on May 13, I received a call from a fellow by the name of Adam Fingers, who claimed to be the “vice president of product development” for Experian. He claimed he saw my column and wanted to “reach out” to me.

I told him about my problem. He assured me that they have removed the vendors (who reported my company late) from my credit report. Confidently, he dictates a Web site address where I can receive a one-time “free, business credit report.” He even gives me a “promotional code” to use.

What exactly are they trying to “promote” with this code? I asked him if that’s the right language. He paused and corrected himself that it’s actually an “access code.”

My assistant pulled up the report and sure enough, just as Mr. Fingers told me, the vendors in question have been removed.

However, my business score is a 61 out of 100 and my company is rated as a “moderate risk.” I almost exploded.

I asked Mr. Fingers why a company that has been in business for 17 years with no debt, never a late payment and lots of capital doesn’t have a better rating than “moderate risk.”

He told me that prior to the removal of the offending vendor, my score was 11.

I really exploded. He responded that questions regarding the credit score must be directed to a “customer service rep.”

So, I hung up with Mr. Vice President and received a call from a customer service representative. It sounded as though she was flipping through papers while talking to me.

The short explanation was this: “It’s calculated in the algorithms.”

Steam started coming out of my ears. I told her that I know what algorithms are. I told her that the information they have is false and they need to correct it. My algorithmic score would be better if they had reliable and accurate information.

She sounded uncomfortable as she assured me that she would look into it and that I would have an answer within 10 days. I’m getting dizzy going in circles.

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, keep the e-mails coming.

I have a message for Experian: Here’s your notice. I’m on the warpath, and Americans need to know. Care to comment?

Henry Savage is president of PMC Mortgage in Alexandria. Reach him by e-mail at [email protected]

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