In April 2020, as the nation began to shut down because of the COVID pandemic, the three national credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—jointly announced they would allow Americans to get free credit reports every week. However, there are indications that the bureaus may end the policy by the end of this year. Consumer advocates are concerned.
Previously, consumers could only get a free report once a year at annualcreditreport.com. But the bureaus realized the havoc that the pandemic was bringing on the nation’s economy, and they knew it would be important for consumers to monitor credit. The bureaus initially said that weekly complimentary access would continue for a year. Then, as COVID dragged on, the bureaus continued to extend the policy.
As it stands, weekly reports will be free until December 2023. The question now is if they will be after that since, in May, President Biden is expected to announce an end to the pandemic state of emergency.
Some, including elected officials in Congress, have argued that the bureaus should be permanently required to provide free credit reports.
As one advocate put it, “You should have the right to audit information that a company is selling without your consent to make sure that it’s true. That’s why credit reports should always be free.”
And the data is clear. The bureaus’ credit reports do, in fact, often have errors. For example, they may contain outdated information about outstanding debt collection efforts or consist of “mixed files”—when someone else’s information is included in a person’s profile.
These mistakes aren’t mere petty inconveniences. Instead, they can have a dramatic impact on consumers’ lives. It can impact people’s ability to get loans and change the interest they pay on credit cards. It can affect their ability to get a mortgage, rent a home, or get a job. It can mean they’re harassed for debts they no longer owe.
Every consumer should get those free reports and regularly review them for accuracy. If there are errors, you don’t need to shrug helplessly and move on. The credit bureaus are required to correct misinformation. It’s just not that easy to get them to do it.
That’s why, if you do see any errors or other issues on your credit report, contact an attorney who specializes in credit matters. Attorneys can investigate the issue, represent your claim, and help you repair your record. Further, they’ll be able to help you receive compensation for the damage you’ve suffered due to the bureaus’ mistakes. Call today.