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1 in 4 Credit Reports Have Errors, Says Survey

June 28, 2004

WASHINGTON -- A survey released by consumer group U.S. PIRG claimed one out of four credit reports have errors serious enough to cause consumers to be denied a loan, credit or a job.

PIRG collected 200 surveys from adults in 30 states who reviewed their credit reports for accuracy. From the surveys, PIRG found that 79 percent of credit reports had some error, 54 percent had erroneous personal identifying information and 30 percent had accounts incorrectly listed as open.

"The big credit bureaus and big business tolerate big mistakes in credit reports," said Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG consumer program director. "But those mistakes ruin the financial reputations of hardworking Americans." The three biggest national credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

"In the last five years the FTC has fined the Big Three credit bureaus millions of dollars for not helping consumers clean up inaccurate reports, yet recently allowed the credit bureaus to roll out the new right to a free credit report at a snail's pace," said Mierzwinski.

According to the Associated Press, a credit-reporting industry spokesperson said survey respondents were members of PIRG and so the results were unfairly skewed. Also, PIRG itself determined what qualified as a serious error.

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