Friday, March 18, 2011

Equifax, Experian and Transunion Are Crooks.

It’s been a long time since we’ve written about personal finance on Random Thoughts, a long time since I’ve personally written about much of anything on here. I don’t rail and complain about much these days. Part of the reason it is that I may just have gotten smarter than I used to be about managing my anger and expectations. -Not in some great general sense; just those two areas. I’ve spent the better part of the last six months trying to take stock of what annoys me and eliminating it from my horizon, avoidance being a better solution for me nowadays than mutual harmful conflicts, verbal and otherwise. Eliminating mendacity and distress from one’s daily life is easier said than done with a lot of things in America, and I’m no Buddhist or pacifist.

One of the most pernicious of stacked decks against the American citizen is an institution called the credit bureau.

The claim that Equifax, Experian and Transunion are there to monitor consumers so they may build a transparent historical record of their borrowing -and thereby improve said consumers’ ability to borrow -and borrow at rates that reflect their trustworthiness is one of the biggest scams in banking and finance, which is saying plenty when you think of all the variants on the pyramid scheme concept that are allowed by the Wall Street deregulation of the 2000s, and conversely also by actual laws passed for the last 50 years.

Think about this:
The three credit bureaus report increases in debt almost immediately, but not the paying down of debt. They can take months, if not years to correct a credit report. Equifax has a ridiculously incomplete survey of financial institutions compared to the other two, in some cases skewing a person’s debt load in a negative direction because of its incomplete reporting.
The three credit bureaus report also account for any and all inquiries negatively, so the very act of requesting a correction (which they uniformly call a “dispute”) affects your credit report negatively: Really focus in on that for a moment dear reader, the very act of correcting their oversights or mistakes affects your credit score negatively. This used to be called “getting took coming and going.”

Bottom line, these credit bureaus simply exist to make it easier for lenders to charge higher interest rates on individuals, and nothing more.

This is what is called a scam, pure and simple. These are rackets, and they engage in predatory practices. Among all of the unfair things that the credit card industry does, like changing the APR applied to something already purchased (think about that real hard, you buy a TV, and your credit card company changes the rate on that old purchase, effectively changing the price you paid on it, nowhere else in business does that happen,) the operations of these credit bureaus are among the worst things preying on American families… well that and the fact that they are now also doing big business getting people to pay for access to their credit scores and credit reports.

From my own personal experience, I’ve never missed a payment in my life and I’m now 43. My 3 credit scores only average about 760. The reasoning the credit bureaus gave for disregarding years of my timely and often times early repayment of debt?

I didn’t buy a home.

The absolute gall of these liars in citing that most depreciated investment in America: a unit of purchase that has destroyed the lives of millions of people as a criteria in these hard times. The reason the bureaus claim they have effectively ignored my proven record and frozen my identity as a borrower from further “improvement” in their scoring system is simple. They did it in order to allow my creditors to keep charging me rates they know I don’t deserve. This is disgusting. It should be criminal. But the credit bureaus are a largely self-regulated group of institutions, and what laws govern their behavior were practically authored by their own lobbyists and lawyers.

I suppose they’d tell someone who did buy a house that their credit ratings and scores won’t ever go up regardless of their spotless record because they did buy a home.

Coming and going” my friends, “coming and going.”
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Mycue23 said...

Ain't it the truth. Multiple systems set up to screw working people regardless of whether they follow the rules or not. Ain't life grand.

Jack Jodell said...

Good to have you back, and we've missed you! Thanks for this expose. Credit, seemingly like nearly everything else in this country these days, is skewed heavily in the favor of the rich. We are bombarded constantly on TV with ads from investment firms and insurance companies: Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Edward Jonesm Geico, Progressive, and many others. The problem is, only 8.9% of those in the LOWEST 80% OF THE INCOME SCALE (MOST of us) have any stock or investments at all. Credit, banks, and the stock market are an absolute joke. They exist primarily for the rich. As far as I'm concerned, one could drop a neutron bomb on all of Wall Street and I wouldn't care in the least. This so-called bastion of capitalism is masking a den of thieves!

SJ said...

Thanks Jack, good to be back.
I wonder how long it will all go on. I know Mycue23 has told me he's stopped using credit, and I'm following his wise lead. I can't engage in a financial agreement that is always being changed -and changed on the whims of the lender, and enforced by the authorities I subsidized with my own income tax dollars.
It's insanity.
I've been saying it for a while: if the jobless rate even stays the same, there's going to be a massive default across the nation by individuals who can't bear the weight of the credit card industry's gouging and profit-making. This shit is just killing families who are barely making due and getting by and it's extending their time under debt loads.

Thanks for stopping by Mr. Jodell, you're my hero. Your rage is duly noted.

Jack Jodell said...

Thank you, SJ. The feelings are definitely mutual! BTW, I've just moved my blog THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST over to wordpress. It's new address is See you there in the near future, I hope! :-)

Manifesto Joe said...

One big problem we've had personal experience with is that the credit agencies never want to know the other side -- they are always on the side of the creditor.

One time my wife had very high blood pressure, high enough that we felt she needed to go to the ER. I was with her, and saw that they didn't do a damned thing. They basically sent her home with 210/110 and told her to just take the medication she was already on and make an appointment with her PC doctor!

We later got a bill from them for $100 that the insurance company hadn't paid. We have, for a number of years, refused to pay it, and have written letters to the hospital telling them why, and furnishing documentation. They have ignored our case, and sent bill-collection phone thugs after us until we invoked state law to shut them down on that tactic.

My credit rating hasn't been affected, but my wife's has, by at least 50 pts. They even had the nerve to tack interest onto the principal over the years.

SJ said...

That's horrible Joe.
I hate that they can just use a disputed transaction as a black mark like that with no recourse for the consumer. But again, the agencies seemed built to justify lower ratings and higher interest rates and little else.

Jolly Roger said...

This is one of the reasons I've been working to get myself completely out of the system. Unfortunately I am making house payments, but I've taken steps to avoid credit for everything else.

SJ said...

I'm with you Jolly Roger.
May we all get out of this particular system some day... or at least out from under its yoke.