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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