Earlier this week, it was reported that the Mississippi Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Experian. While not breaking news, it is important to provide context to the allegations.
As the world’s largest credit bureau – and in managing more than 220 million files in the US alone – it has become commonplace to question credit reporting agencies. We are used to scrutiny of our practices – but sometimes the claims are just plain wrong.
In the case of the lawsuit from the Mississippi Attorney General, we are disappointed that the state has taken this action. We feel that the lawsuit is not based on facts – even after we had fully cooperated with their investigation. As such, we intend to vigorously defend our company against these allegations.
Specifically, to say we purposefully put errors on credit reports is false and unsupported by evidence, and clearly calculated to be sensational.
Contrary to those allegations, Experian credit reports are used millions of times every day to accurately and quickly assess risk in lending and speed the process of making credit readily available to consumers.
The Attorney General asserts that 95% of the data in our systems is accurate – but in fact, it is closer to 98% accurate. While we are proud of this accuracy rate, we continue to invest millions of dollars every year to make our accuracy rates even better. We are, in fact, working with the industry and our competitors to raise the accuracy and data quality standards for our credit reporting industry and, ultimately, to benefit consumers.
Any allegation that we are operating illegally and out of compliance is false. In fact, Experian already operates in compliance with laws and under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which governs all aspects of our credit reporting business, including how we receive data, store it, transmit it and most importantly, how we allow other companies to use it and consumers to view and dispute it.
Specifically, under the FCRA, consumers can view and dispute any or all of the information on their credit reports. And we recommend consumers take full advantage of accessing their free report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com. In the event a consumer finds an inaccuracy in their report, they can dispute the inaccuracy at Experian as required by federal law.
While we plan to defend the lawsuit outside the lens of a public forum, it is worth noting how Experian, as a global leader, is a vital part of the credit ecosystem — empowering economic health for businesses and consumers alike. Very simply, because of what we do and what the credit reporting business offers, consumers can walk into an automotive dealership and purchase a car, they can get approved for a home loan over the phone and they can instantly get credit at their favorite retailer.
Sometimes we take that for granted.