A mixed credit file can be the difference between getting a loan, credit card, or mortgage and rejection. Worst of all, it often takes victims completely by surprise unless they keep an exceptionally close eye on their credit reports and credit scores with the three major credit bureaus.
Mixed credit files and the erroneous information they contain are one of the biggest reasons behind a poor credit score. Incorrect credit reporting can lead to huge issues for individuals simply because that score determines so much of what they can and cannot do.
Unlike identity theft, a mixed file credit report typically arises in error. Unfortunately, identifying the source of the error can be a daunting task. Anyone with whom consumers have a financial relationship can view a credit report and update the status of accounts, such as missed payments. For many, it can be difficult enough to maintain a good credit score when everything goes to plan. Mixing your credit history with someone else’s can make life far more difficult than it needs to be.
Each credit reporting agency is legally obliged to address mixed file errors in a timely manner when brought to their attention. However, that might not be as straightforward as it seems. If you need help encouraging a credit bureau to meet its obligations and you’re in Kansas City, you should speak to a mixed credit file specialist from Bell Law, LLC.
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Consumers have relatively limited access to their credit reports, which makes sense given that everyone would have a perfect score if they could edit it at will. However, every consumer has the right to ensure that their credit report reflects reality, especially when a credit decision might not only determine whether a loan application is accepted but can also affect housing, employment, and more.
If a credit agency has failed to remove disputed information from your credit report after being made aware of its presence, you should speak to our law firm to establish the next steps.
Our team is standing by when you need us, and the initial consultation is completely free and without obligation. If you need a helping hand to eliminate credit report errors, no matter the cause, call us now at 816-281-0649.
What Is a Mixed Credit Report?
Essentially, a mixed credit report is a combination of the credit history of two or more individuals. That document that dictates whether you can have an overdraft on your bank account or if you can access quick cash through loans is designed to reflect the reality of your credit information over time. Naturally, if you consistently pay your obligations on time, your score goes up. Conversely, just a single missed payment can do significant damage, potentially making credit more expensive or even impossible to obtain.
In cases of a mixed credit report, the score that determines your eligibility for credit is based not only on your financial history but also that of someone else.
How Do Mixed Credit Reports Happen?
Mixed file errors rarely occur through malice. Instead, consumer information becomes entangled, often due to certain similarities between the data held on different people.
The most common causes of such errors include:
- Mixed records of two family members
- Two unrelated individuals with similar social security numbers
- Two individuals with similar names
It is also important not to underestimate the influence of human error on the pursuit of accurate information. Mistakes happen, and a simple error in typing a social security number can result in the credit reports of two people overlapping, generally without their knowledge.
Generally speaking, any identifiable information, spanning names, addresses, account numbers, and more, can lead to someone’s credit history being reported incorrectly. Once again, this does not necessarily need to be malicious. Nevertheless, it is estimated that between 1% and 2% of US citizens have errors on their credit reports that can be attributed to mixed files.
That’s millions of people that may need to correct their credit reports. Of course, to correct or dispute results, an individual must be aware that there is an error on their credit report in the first place.
Identifying a Mixed Credit File
Too many consumers only find out that there is a problem with their credit score when they apply for loans or other lines of credit. If that credit is needed urgently, the thirty days that each credit bureau is entitled to after you contact them with a dispute can lead to unnecessary difficulties.
We always recommend that our clients pay close attention to their credit scores. Federal law dictates that the three national credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, must give consumers a free copy of their credit file every twelve months. However, reporting agencies only have to do this when a consumer makes contact to ask for their report.
A mixed file is not the only reason to request a copy of your report. It can also provide a recent snapshot of your credit score, ensuring you have a good idea of what a credit bureau shows to lenders when applying for loans and other credit accounts. Crucially, it can also provide an early warning of potential identity theft, which can be far more detrimental to your file than an innocuous error.
Do remember that you do not have to order a report from each credit bureau at the same time. While you are entitled to do so, and there may be discrepancies between each due to the use of different sources, staggering the free reports can enable you to keep a closer eye on changes to your credit report throughout the year at no additional cost.
Is a Mixed Credit File Bad?
It is easy to overthink the impact that a mixed credit report can have, especially if your personal credit history is not the best. For example, if your credit file somehow gets mixed with that of a family member with an impeccable track record for making payments on time, that might inadvertently improve your score – while simultaneously reducing theirs by a corresponding amount.
Not only is this unfair to the other person, but the error is bound to be rectified eventually. A sudden, significant drop in your score can impact both new and existing credit arrangements, and it is always advisable to manage your finances based on a realistic report.
Essentially, a good credit report is an accurate one. In the case of a mixed file, it is always advisable to address the error in conjunction with the relevant credit bureau at the earliest possible opportunity, even if that results in a temporary reduction in your score.
Fixing Credit Report Errors Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
A Kansas City mixed files credit reporting attorney’s role is to ensure that issues are resolved promptly and effectively, and one of the best tools for ensuring this is the case is the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Originally passed in 1970, the Act operates alongside the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as the foundation of consumer protection in federal law. It is designed to ensure that individuals have the right to dispute incorrect information held by the three major credit bureaus and presented to those that might view their credit reports.
Essentially, those covered by the FCRA have the right to contact credit agencies and request the updating or removal of outdated information or inaccurate information on their credit files. Subsequently, those credit agencies are obliged to carry out the request in a timely manner. Specifically, they have thirty days to address the request.
Any failure to do so leads to one of the most common reasons for consumers to contact an attorney. Typically your attorney will begin by applying pressure to the financial institutions involved and can help provide relevant information and supporting documentation. If this does not prompt the credit reporting agencies to address incorrect information and mixed file errors, they will then consider commencing legal action.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
In an ideal world, there would be no need for a mixed file attorney as credit bureaus would observe their legal obligation to resolve each dispute in a legally allotted time frame. Unfortunately, dispute resolution deadlines are not always met. The same administrative errors that lead to mixed credit files occurring can also affect the resolution process. Add in the fact that a credit bureau might underestimate the importance of the deadline, choose to focus its resources elsewhere, or refuse the evidence provided. It becomes clear that there might not always be a timely resolution.
The fact remains that the dispute deadline is a legal obligation. If a reporting agency has failed to meet your expectations in resolving your dispute, we invite you to contact a specialist attorney from our law firm. Your attorney will work with you to understand the circumstances of the case and not only help you establish the ideal next steps but also execute them on your behalf.
Every case is different, so we always begin a new attorney-client relationship with a free consultation. Call us for yours today at 816-281-0649.