Personal Finance

Equifax keeps messing up - legal action?

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  • Mar 4th, 2014 1:49 pm
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[OP]
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Apr 15, 2012
3 posts

Equifax keeps messing up - legal action?

So me and my dad have the same first and last name. There are some main differences between us for starters he was born in 1964 and I was born in 1992. Secondly he makes about 50k more then me a year and has an awesome credit rating and my credit rating is not the best as I let it fall while I was a student.

Four years ago when I was just 17 I was applying for a Student Line of Credit with my bank (TD CANADA TRUST) when we discovered that Equifax had essentially combined me and my dad as one person. This had given me at 17 an approved credit rating for over a 300k mortgage. I was 17 you cant even have credit in canada at that age. Regardless the bank called equifax and after a few days the issue was resolved.

Now fast forward to four years later, today im 21. I have tried to apply for a credit card to help rebuild my credit and I cant because they have combined us again so I have to answer questions about loans and credit cards I dont have. I furious now sure I could call them again and in 1-11 buisness days they will have it fixed and what not. But what happens down the road when I need something fast and they have combined us again.

Do you think I have an legal grounds to take action here?
16 replies
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Jul 16, 2003
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Equifax only uses the date that is sent to them, to determine credit worthiness. If a financial institution sends the wrong data, Equifax does not know how accurate that is.

For example, if Im meeting someone today and pulling a credit bureau, and in his application the client said he is the owner of Microsoft, the moment I hit the "request credit bureau" the information in my application is sent to Equifax, and the next person checking this client's credit will see "Owner - Microsoft".
Andre Oliveira - Mortgage Agent
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Nov 12, 2011
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Sometimes I just think that to let this private companies to determine what level are you, how decent are you and whether you should have a chance at getting something or not is just absurd...much resembles an online game and the mods, and man do they screw up big time so often!!
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Apr 4, 2009
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I suspect OP lives with parents? This really going to be tough for any firm to deal with. They cannot use your SIN number.

Doubtful if birthdate is in info companies transmit to Equifax for info.

So the main info is going to be Last Name, First Name, Address, ....

This is only going to get better when OP has different address than parents (IMO). I'd blame OP's parents for this problem! ;)
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Dec 7, 2009
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I wish more people recognized the absurdity of the current credit bureau/reporting monopoly. It's bad enough that we are automatically subjected to their services if we want to live in modern society, but aside from getting sued they have zero incentive to adapt and provide good service.
This is only going to get better when OP has different address than parents (IMO). I'd blame OP's parents for this problem!
If OP is Asian, good luck getting him out of his parents house. He will suffer this problem forever.
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Jul 16, 2003
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They CAN use your SIN#. They cannot force you to provide one, but if you give them the umber, it is added to your profile. Your DOB also is on your profile.
Andre Oliveira - Mortgage Agent
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heintzman301 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 11:19 am
IF they cannot use my SIN number why do they require it?
Think which firms are allowed to ask for your SIN (ie. bank). Does Fido ask for SIN?

Then you see the lowest common denominator problem ... so in this case, how is Fido going to distinguish you and your dad ... so what does Fido send to credit firm ... name, home address, home phone, sex,

This problem would not exist, if companies could freely ask you for SIN and it could be exchanged between all organizations. (Not saying using SIN is right.)
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heintzman301 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 10:53 am
Now fast forward to four years later, today im 21. I have tried to apply for a credit card to help rebuild my credit and I cant because they have combined us again so I have to answer questions about loans and credit cards I dont have.
Well, not that I would recommend it, but you could talk to your Dad and just provide the answers that they are looking for :)
heintzman301 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 10:53 am
Do you think I have an legal grounds to take action here?
It's a free country, you can sue for anything you like. But are you going to win? Unlikely. Are you going to win significant damages? Very unlikely.

You might have better luck filing a complaint with the provincial govt regulator that has jurisdiction over credit bureaus.
Busybuyer888 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 11:16 am
I suspect OP lives with parents? This really going to be tough for any firm to deal with. They cannot use your SIN number.
They can't use his SIN? Why not?

It isn't mandatory, but credit applications normally ask for your SIN. For example, here's an online application for an MBNA card: https://www.applyonlinenow.com/CACCapp/ ... P&lc=en_CA
Busybuyer888 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 11:16 am
I'd blame OP's parents for this problem! ;)
I would blame the credit bureau industry and the lax regulations that apply to them. If a credit bureau has incorrect information on file, the burden falls on the consumer to clean it up.
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If it is not mandatory to provide SIN#, then firms cannot rely on it for identification.

It has to be used by EVERY firm to be used as an EFFECTIVE identifier.

Without a 100% unique key assigned that everyone can be identified by ... mistakes are very easy to make. In fact, it is an impossible problem to resolve.

You cannot think like a human being for this information issue. Must think like a computer ... computers work best when there is perfect matching. Asking a computer to guess, is going to result in varying degrees of correctness in some instances.
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M8Rxmjsik wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 11:34 am
I would blame the credit bureau industry and the lax regulations that apply to them. If a credit bureau has incorrect information on file, the burden falls on the consumer to clean it up.
Not sure if it is pre-occupation in RFD (demographic), or what ...

but, I've NEVER had a discussion with any friends, relatives, co-workers regarding the term "credit bureau".

So how much of the Canadian population is actually affected by a credit bureau?
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Busybuyer888 wrote:
Mar 4th, 2014 12:15 pm
So how much of the Canadian population is actually affected by a credit bureau?
Depends what you mean by "affected" :)

Many people don't like the credit bureaus because the bureaus accurately report that they paid their bills late or didn't pay their debts at all. These people are often denied credit or get charged higher interest rates.

Other people have a long track record of paying their bills on time and as a result they can get credit at lower interest rates.

All of these people are affected by credit bureau records.

But many bureau records have mistakes - this article claims between 10% to 33% have mistakes: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-to-ch ... -1.1185975

Some of these mistakes will prevent an innocent consumer from obtaining credit, and the burden to correct the problem falls on the innocent consumer instead of the credit bureau and/or the creditor who reported incorrect information to the credit bureau.
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Sometimes the mistake are clerical, sometimes customer created, but whatever the source ... it is a huge problem when dealing with massive amounts of information.

Even something as simple as a postal address .. do you know there is PhD research going on identifying one (1) correct address for a person? Credit bureau is a perfect application.

Obviously, the objective of the credit bureau is to have the correct information for an individual.

So ... how does one associate the a transaction to a specific individual, when there is NO 100% unique way to identify individual. Remember, the info is created by humans (imperfect humans)

Shane Smith, 120 Johnson Avenue, Toronto, ON, M1A 2B3, 416-123-3333, 647-356-2222, DOB: January 2, 1974

S. Smith, 120 Johnson Avenue, Toronto, ON, M1A 2B3, 416-123-3333, 647-356-2222, DOB: 1/2/1974
A Smith, 129 Jonson, Tor, ON, M1A 2B3, 4 123-3333, DOB: 2/1/1974

We can see #2 should be easily matched to #1 with some simple programing logic.

How can a computer match #3 to #1? A human being maybe able to infer ... but not 100%.

Can you spot the simple mistakes that lead to record #3?
- Letter A is beside letter S on the keyboard
- 129 instead of 120 ... the customer wrote their 0 in such a way it looked like a 9
- Different ways of spelling Johnson ... Jonson (or just guessing)
- 4 to represent area code 416
- 2/1/74 ... 2/1/74 (who know what person intended/read ... Jan 2 or Feb 1?)

Combined with people having 4 addresses over their lifetime ... (parent's, university, 1st. condo, 1st. home.)

This is a very interesting area of PhD study at the university levels.

I believe if anyone were to be able to create an algorithm to solve this problem, their company may be worth more than Google and Apple combined!

This is not to say companies and credit firms don't have a responsibility. But unique identification and association is a real big big problem which thus far is unsolvable.
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Seems like the gov't could do a better job of this than the private sector has been.
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In the country I come from, there are no credit bureaus. For credit cards and other loans you just provide proof of income and assets to the bank. As such, there is no penalization for things like hard inquiries, utilization, unpaid utility bills, late payments since bank institutions don't share this info. I find this much better

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