At Experian we are committed to helping consumers learn about credit, and how to successfully build and protect their credit profiles. As part of this commitment, we formed the Experian Consumer Council in March of 2010.
The council is comprised of leading industry experts, nonprofit organizations and consumers who partner with Experian to gain insight into consumers’ needs, key issues and education as it relates to credit and financial literacy. Experian turns to the council for guidance and to help inform its products, services and credit education programs.
With consideration to the recent report issued by the Federal Trade Commission about the accuracy of credit reports — combined with the misleading “60 Minutes” segment on the topic — we thought it would be helpful to share a joint statement from members Phil Caso, Bill Cheeks, Gail Cunningham, Sharon Jones, Laura Levine and Mike Staten.
Experian has a long, proven history of commitment to consumers. One example of that commitment is the Experian Consumer Council. As members of the Council we feel it is important to share some factual clarification in response to CBS “60 Minutes” report that aired Sunday, Feb. 10. We believe the report failed to accurately represent the results of a report by the Federal Trade Commission, which have been validated by independent third party research.
Contrary to statements made during the broadcast, the Federal Trade Commission Report found that nearly 13% of consumers in the sample had scores change as a result of the dispute resolution process. About 5.2% had scores change enough to cross over a threshold typically associated with a change in credit terms (e.g. lower auto loan interest rate). That is a far different result than portrayed by 60 Minutes.
As members of the Consumer Council we have had a first-hand opportunity to see Experian’s National Consumer Assistance Center, located in Allen, Texas. The bulk of their consumer assistance operations, including call centers operations, are right here in the United States. The 60 Minutes interview was not reflective of Experian’s commitment to consumers, or how disputes are managed.
Experian’s dispute resolution agents are empowered to contact data furnishers directly in response to disputes, and remain on the phone as long as necessary with a consumer to address their concerns. A recent study by the Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) found that nearly 72 percent of disputes are resolved within 14 days and 95 percent of consumers are satisfied with the outcomes.
Helping consumers live credit smart is a key focus for Experian. They work closely with educators, non-profit organizations, and others — including all of us — to reach consumers with important financial knowledge. At www.livecreditsmart.com consumers can learn about credit reporting, credit scoring and the potential impact of significant life events on their credit. Consumers can join weekly live Twitter chats and participate directly in the exchange of knowledge with Experian experts.
We are proud to work with Experian and to share accurate information about their commitment to consumers.
Members who signed this statement:
- Phil Caso, Consumer participant
- Bill Cheeks, ABBA Associates
- Gail Cunningham, with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling
- Dr. Mike Staten, Take Charge America Endowed Chair, University of Arizona
- Sharon Jones, Author and Financial Consultant
- Laura Levine, Jump$tart Coalition