Complaints about credit bureaus skyrocket as consumers discover credit reporting errors

More credit consumers are complaining about he big three bureaus. Susan Campbell reports.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 9:30 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The big three credit bureaus are facing a massive spike in consumer complaints. A new PIRG Education Fund report shows complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nearly doubled last year, and the majority were leveled against Experian, Transunion, and Equifax.

According to the report, consumers filed 800,394 complaints with the CFPB in 2022, up from 496,000 in 2021. Almost 70% of complaints were about the three credit agencies. “Consumers are angry. They’re frustrated with the fact that they can’t fix their credit reports, and that’s what most of the complaints are about; a problem with fixing my credit report, problems with the credit bureau not listening to me,” said Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. Arizonans logged almost 14,000 complaints with the CFPB in 2022. The most common complaint was the improper use of a credit report.

For many consumers, errors on credit reports can be devastating. “Credit scores help determine whether you’re eligible for credit at a fair price, whether you’re eligible to even rent an apartment or buy a home, or obtain employment,” Mierzwinski said. “People want to get a fair future in the economy. They want financial and economic opportunity, employment opportunity. Quite frankly, the credit bureaus are unelected gate keepers to your future, and the CFPB is trying to make it fairer.”

Mierzwinski told On Your Side there have been some improvements in credit bureaus responding to consumer complaints. For example, in 2021, only 9% of cases involving credit reporting issues were successfully resolved. Last year, that number jumped to 40%. “It’s not because of the goodwill of the credit reporting agencies,” Mierzwinski said. “It’s because they are being pressured to do their job.”

Consumers who discover a mistake on their credit report should immediately report the issue to the credit bureau. Consumers can also submit a complaint to the CFPB and the Arizona Attorney General’s office.