I Hate Equifax

by Kevin on January 16, 2009

I wish I could turn my pure emotion into words on the screen to fully express my hatred for Equifax. It is pure. It is flowing.

I. Hate. Equifax.

Why I Hate Equifax

I’ve recently reminded you to check your annual credit report.

For the second year running we have checked my wife’s information with Equifax in January. For the second year running there has been an issue that results in us not getting her annual credit report.

This doesn’t happen with the other two bureaus. Those bureaus apparently know what they are doing. We login her information, and ta-da, out pops the free report.

Last year Equifax had a bunch of her information wrong. Wrong address, wrong last name, wrong employer. It was “inspiring” to see that potential lenders were seeing completely incorrect information. It’s not that we needed a loan at the time, but what if we did?

She called last year to dispute the information and entered into what I can only describe as “phone tree and poor customer service hell”. The company didn’t recognize her new name — which she had been enjoying for a year of marriage at the time — and we had to make a copy of our marriage certificate and send it to them in the mail.

Did we ever hear back from the “supervisor”? I’ll give you one guess.

This year with Equifax, we enter her information and end up with a warning box that says the information was entered incorrectly. Of course being a government mandated free report, the bureaus essentially give you one shot to get your report information in correctly. There isn’t any going back. You can’t try to verify you information. You can’t go back and make any changes to typos. Nothing. One shot and if an error pops up, you’re done.

What is the error about? Is it still her last name? Is it a typo in what we entered? I can’t tell. There is no way to get information.

I’m not sure what happened. Either way you don’t get another shot at verifying your identity.

What Options You Have With Equifax

The error box that pops up offers this as a solution (bolded for emphasis by me):

We’re sorry, for your protection we are unable to deliver your FACT Act Equifax Free Annual Credit Report on the internet. There are a number of reasons that we may be unable to fulfill your request online. You may have a Security Freeze on your credit file, an Active Duty Military or Fraud Alert, or the identification information submitted online may not match the information on file.
The following link will lead you to a form that is not screen-readable at this time. However, this form is not required to request your free Equifax credit report by mail. Please send your name, current address, former address, and social security number, along with any documents described below, to the following address: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. For assistance by phone, please call us at 800-685-1111.

To request your Free Equifax Credit Report by mail, please fill out the attached form (PDF file), along with the documents described below, and mail them to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Please include with the attached form a copy of one item in EACH of the categories below in order to enable us to verify your identification and address. The item you submit from the “Identity” category MUST contain your Social Security Number and the item you submit from the “Address” category MUST contain your current home mailing address.

Identity
Social Security card
Pay stub with Social Security Number
W2 form

Address
Driver’s license
Rental or lease agreement/house deed
Pay stub with address
Utility bill (gas, electric, water, cable, residential telephone bills)

To ensure that your request is processed without delay, please enlarge photocopies of any items that contain small print (i.e. driver’s license, W2 forms, etc). To avoid additional delays, keep in mind that if photocopies you submit are not legible or contain highlighting, we may ask that you resubmit your request with more legible documents.

NOTE: If you have a Security Freeze on your file, you must include your 10 digit PIN along with the information requested above.

Your personal information is used solely for identification purposes and is not shared with anyone.

Let me get this right. There’s an error in getting my free online report. The report that I check to make sure my identity hasn’t been stolen. To protect me from fraud.

You want me, in an attempt to protect my identity, to send you via snail mail documents that would completely allow someone to steal my identity. Is this some sort of sick joke by Equifax?

Bear with me, I do understand that if there is an issue then some sort of action must be taken to validate your identity. But in 2009 we can’t do it via fax? Via e-mail? Via a follow up, more in-depth questionnaire?

We have to do it via regular US Postal Service mail? Anyone could grab these documents in the mail system.

But why should I be surprised? The credit bureaus essentially have no competition. And that’s garbage.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate@ThePaycheckChronicles January 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

I’m with you, Kevin. We recently ran into exactly the same situation. I wish that there were a decent way to resolve this situation. I wonder if Equifax is doing this just to irritate people? Surely that isn’t possible…?

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Adam January 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

I feel the same way and it’s not just at Equifax but all three. There have been times that I went to get my free credit report and they asked for several means of identification. One time they asked for the account numbers for two credit cards that I have not used in over a year. The cards had actually been destroyed! So, in the end, I could not get my credit report because there was nothing they could do.

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Pattie, RN January 16, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Kevin…ITA re: Equifax. We have had a bill that belongs to our son (not a “Jr.”, btw ) on my hubby’s report for three years now, despite calls, e-mails, and registered letters. No problem with the other two. We’ve been married 30 years with all the same credit info, and this error has his score at 780 while mine is at 822! G-g-g-r-r-r-r!!!

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Mrs. Accountability January 16, 2009 at 6:44 pm

That is totally aggravating. We had that happen one time, don’t remember if it was with Equifax, actually I think it when I signed my husband up for an ING Direct account. He used the wrong ending part of the street for a credit card about twenty years ago, either ST. instead of DR. or vice versa and there was only one or the other back then, and also BACK THEN, the post office would actually deliver your mail to YOU if you had the ST. or DR. wrong. Anyway, not being one to care much about these kinds of details, he never changed it. So when I put in the correct address, it flagged the account that we were putting in the wrong address. I haven’t fixed it either. It is not high on my list of priorities to fix and esp. not with the problems people have had. I hate it when we are forced to use companies whose services are substandard.

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headknocker January 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I got the exact same response last year and again this year. Last year I thought it was because I included the escrow amount in the security question regarding my scheduled payment with my mortgage company. This year I have the bill beside me, do not include the escrow, and get the exact same response.

I have to admit knowing that the next Treasury Secretary doesn’t pay his taxes doesn’t surprise me. Just about everything including a government mandated credit report that has Washington D.C. attached to it is unbelievable.

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Kevin January 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm

@Kate: I think they are doing the “required minimum” to get by without getting in trouble.

@Adam: That sucks. I haven’t had a bad experience with the other two… yet.

@Pattie: Have you sent a certified letter to them? I would check the Dave Ramsey website (or elsewhere), but I think there are specific steps you can tape to handle the situation. If it isn’t resolved in a certain amount of time they may be liable for something — although I’m not sure exactly what. (Not a lawyer.)

@Mrs. Accountability: I bet if you signed up for their costly service you would get something out of it… which is just irritating.

@headknocker: Exactly. We have two mortgages, plus insurance and taxes. What payment are they talking about when they ask for it? Nobody knows. Pathetic, but I don’t really expect much better.

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Russell Fascenda January 20, 2009 at 6:23 am

I don’t remember which was which, but I had the same experience the first times I used the annualcreditreport.com site to access the three providers. I was only able to successfully access ONE of the three, despite spending a great deal of time with the sites.

My letter appeared in Kiplinger’s magazine with my comment “anyone who could call these FREE credit reports does not value their own time”.

One of the verification questions “I could not answer correctly” was the name of the company that I worked for in a particular year. Let’s see, my college roommate started a company and I worked with him, I’m confident I can remember that company name. Apparently not.

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ND February 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm

My wife is having a similar problem not only with Equifax, but with TransUnion as well. She was able to pull the reports two years ago, but now it says her identity can’t be verified. We called for help but none of her prior addresses matched what they had in their system. Not sure what we can do at this point…

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Kirstin March 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I am in Equifax hell as well! I have been trying for 3 months to get a simple credit file mailed to me but i keep getting letters in the mail saying they need additional info (i have sent them my SIN, drivers licence, birth certificate, credit card, utility bills…). When I finally tracked down a phone number that wasn’t automated (took 4 re-directions to get the number) they told me i have a suffix of “jr.” in my name and my ID didn’t match that. For one thing I’m female so why hell would I have that? Another.. how come all other bills, government agencies have my correct name by not Equifax? I swear there are a bunch of inbred monkeys running those offices!
So I guess I try yet again to prove my identity.

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Bob September 30, 2010 at 6:37 am

Whats the number to call ?

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creditbureaussuck May 31, 2009 at 2:37 am

I had my identity stolen from a school I graduated from when I was a minor and while I was in another state clear across the country. The jackass who stole my identity charged hundreds of dollars in gas on credit cards in my name. It took me years to clear this up, because when I contacted the credit bureaus they said they didn’t believe me. Last time I looked at my report and it still had false information that they refuse to take off. Words cannot express how much it pisses me off.

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Anon June 4, 2009 at 4:34 am

Equifax suck ass. I tried requesting my free credit report and they gave me the same BS of invalid information while the other two credit bureaus churned up my report in 2 seconds. I am pretty sure mailing them with required docs wouldn’t do any good either.

Bunch of stupid retards. Equifax (TM)

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Jim July 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I haven’t had a problem getting my report. I just can’t get disputed items off of it. I have sent out several certified letters of dispute to reporting collection agencies requesting validation without any response. According to the FCRA, they should not be reporting what they can’t validate within 30 days. I have submitted that information to Equifax and yet their results say that the accounts have been verified and the dispute is closed. WHAT??? These companies don’t have to answer my request for validation? They can ignore the law and keep on reporting? What are they verifying? It infuriates me that companies are allowed to report inaccurate information without consequence. At this point, I also feel like it’s just a waste of my time to mail Equifax any more information to fight the dispute results. They obvioulsy don’t care about the consumer.

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Charlye July 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I’m with you. This is the second time my boyfriend wanted to check his credit report through Equifax and he provides his credit card information to receive the 3-in-1 report and FICO score but an error message pops up stating that he should contact customer care. When we contact them, they go through a series of questions to verify that he’s actually who he claims to be. They asked that he fax them extra documents verifying his identity. What the hell? We’re looking at one another like these people are the experts so why is it that we have to send sensitive information to them. They need to come up with a better way to manage things. If anyone has sent requested documents to Equifax could you please share your story with me? How did they respond to yous after you gave them what they asked for? Or was it just like a vicious circle, never keeping their word?
I really don’t trust to send them these documents including his social security number because I don’t get a good vibe when speaking with reps that can barely speak to me when explaining why he cannot view his report. We are willing to pay for these services so why the hassle. Makes you think that they’re trying to scam us.

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victor October 28, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Equifax is a SCAM. For the past 4 years, I have been able to easily a get my free annual credit report from the other companies. However, I continue to get security issues with Equifax. This issue is B.S. The funny thing is that when I pay Equifax to get my credit there is no issue. Therefore, for the past years, I have been getting it free from the other companies except that I have to pay Equifax.
Equifax is a SCAM. Someone in the Fed needs to regulate these thieves.

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James Area November 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Why should equixfax be allowed to keep my personal information. For years my credit file has been incorrect. Equifax send my emails asking my if i want to protect my identity for a $12 / month fee. Well if equixfax would delete my file then i guess there would be no need to protect my identity from thieves. My solution to i identity theft is to create a false identity for every account i can such as cell phone, utility, water, cable, keep the same fake identity for everything you can get away with.

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Tiffany from Austin,TX February 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I have too much experience with these people. My identity got stolen in 2005 and the people were in Colorado spending A LOT of money on my name. Apartments, rental furniture, cable hookup… Thought I took care of this until today. Found an apartment reposted (I’m guessing as I already spoke to them and sent all documentation in 2005 and explained the situation and it was removed from my credit), the negative information again as of 12/2009!!! *(For $9975 none the less) So, called the apartments and the manager told me to contact Equifax to dispute it. Yeah, easier said than done. Now, they are farming out their customer service to local credit companies, our’s is CSC credit services. These people are idiots, so not really looking forward to it. Just stinks as I’m an innocent victim and have to restart the whole process I THOUGHT i took care of 5 years ago! SO aggravating. But now I’m not afraid of ID theft as much, got over it now that I monitor my credit report all the time with auto-alerts. OH and KEVIN: the original poster, email me and I’ll give you the name of the service my husband and I use, you pay $14 a month and get a credit report monthly for no additionaly cost, plus they send alerts if anything shows up good OR bad. Small price for us to pay to know what’s going on with this more than ridiculous credit services available and mandatory in the US. No where else in the world do they do credit like we do here. Hence the bank catastrophy!!! but that’s for another posting….

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Jaime March 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I had the same issue. They actually listed my birthday as 1/1899! 1899! I’d be 111 years old with college debt from 2003! hahah….and an address in state I’ve never even traveled to, let alone live in! I’m in the middle of disputing this, but with all of the negative experiences with this company, I find it unlikely that they will change my information!

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sabrina August 14, 2012 at 5:26 am

I just checked my credit a few months ago and everything worked fine… next thing I know they have lost my social security number and it does not exsist in their system anymore… a week before I have to do my mortgage… thanks equifax.

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Aanu August 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I am in the exact same position. These reports are only so-called free. Sent my identity documents through oh-so secure snail-mail (I know it is stupid of me) and guess what – not even an acknowledgement letter/mail from the bureau. Only god knows where those documents are. After all this , i do have realized that this is a completely UcKeD uP system. And finally, i am frustrated to the point that i don’t give a crap to these reports and these scores. It is better to shop around for the interest rates and whenever i hear the BS that my rate/payments would be 1.5 times normal because of whatever reasons on the credit report – I say thanks and no thanks , This is my bank account / pay check history and i am sure to get a better deal somewhere else. Time consuming and inconvenient – Yes BUT i refuse to bow down to such a messed up process!

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Equifax January 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Same experience over here. Transunion gave me my report instantly. The lady with Equifax wanted me to mail them my social security card, drivers license, the whole shabang, yet they claim to offer a service that protects us from identity theft? The sickening part is that the woman did not even first ask for my name, just my SSN outright. They are a disgusting company.

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JR January 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

Same old crap from eq. I can’t unfreeze my credit without sending everything including cc through the mail. Other2 are fine… Call the number on the letter I have for them and hit 6 to speak to a rep and it just drops the call. Eq is by far the worst company I have ever had to deal with.

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Pluppy March 22, 2013 at 11:53 am

Equifax, I am told is the company that most lending intuitions use. Like a lot of you here, there were two fact questions I could not answer on the Equifax on line free credit report. Most concerning is that it said I opened an auto loan/lease for a vehicle in 2012. My car has been paid off since 2010. Equifax is also the same company that had my credit score 40 points lower then the other two reporting agencies during a recent application. I too was told I could not get the free report on line for security purposes. However, now there is a number you can call to get it. I was able to get through and now all reports are being safely mailed to me :(. I am anxious to see what the heck they have on my report that could cause such a drop in credit score.

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Gwen May 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I called and requested a free credit report in Jan. 2013 from Equifax as I’ve done for several years with no problem…None of my information has changed, but a week later, instead of receiving the credit report, I received a letter saying I did not give accurate identifying information and need to send them something proving my social security number and home address…..I tried again May 1, 2013, and the same thing has happened…though the phone call itself stated I’d receive the credit report within a few days. All my identifying information is the same it’s always been, and nothing was asked other than my social security number and birth date. I have no loans of any kind, so I can’t imagine what the problem is, but it’s not worth my time to send them the same information I gave them over the phone.

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Jen March 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Same here, weird incorrect verification questions about a mortgage and car loan for the Equifax free report only, which freaked me out. I was able to get Transunion and Experian with no problems (and with no errors). I didn’t think it was a good idea to mail out my personal information by snail mail, so I called the “request by phone” number and was able to specifically request the Equifax report after verifying my info with the recording. At the end it said “Your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.” Hopefully it’ll show up, but at least this is a start and I don’t have to mail anything weird. Here’s the number you can call to order your reports by phone: 1-877-322-8228. If you don’t trust people who post phone numbers in comments sections (I wouldn’t!), Annualcreditreport.com actually lists this number on their website. If you go to the main website, under the red button that says Request Report, you’ll see an underlined link in the paragraph that says “request your report by phone.” The number is there.

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Haley March 29, 2013 at 7:41 am

I have issues every year with Equifax. It seems to me that they are confusing me with my mother (who’s first name differs, but with whom I share my middle and last names). It keeps asking me about auto and home loans from when I was a CHILD, but the companies are ones I recognize as my mother having gone through to get loans previously. I know she didn’t use my information, so my best guess is that Equifax keeps such poor records that they’ve managed to mix up family members information!

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