Li’s credit nightmare: who has ruined my credit score?


In this credit driven economy, consumers’ financial wellbeing is dominated by their financial profile that is largely based on credit scores. This little but powerful number is used as a barometer to assess your creditworthiness in many loan negotiations – from mortgage rates to credit card limits.  Consumers may lose their credit edge without a strong credit score.


But the credit score has been overused and become a “lazy broad-brush tool”, according to some insiders. Havoc credit scores can wreak consumers. A poor credit rating may lead to adverse actions against consumers, leaving them in a wake of financial troubles. Even worse yet, lower credit scores may be caused by credit reports that contain mistakes.


A national survey by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre found a 20% inaccuracy rate among the credit reports for people sampled.  According to credit risk specialist, Mike Morley, the error rate may be as high as 40%, with some of them being the fault of the credit bureau.


Chinese News reported Ms. Wang’s story  with her credit report. Wang was turned down mortgage loans from a bank, because her credit agency accidentally combined poor credit history of unrelated users who share the same last name, but different first name with her. It turns out that her bad report has had a great impact on her ability to obtain a mortgage, leaving her unable to purchase her dream home.


In the wake of Chinese News story about Wang’s nightmare, Mr. Li contacted Chinese News with another frustrating experience regarding his bank credit card.


According to Li, he was shocked when receiving a letter from his credit card issuer – MNBA bank, which informed him that his credit limit was slashed due to information provided from credit agency. 

李先生收到的来信称:“MNBA Canada银行会定期检查客户账户信息,以评估潜在的信用风险。鉴于最近的检查结果,我们已经将您上述账户的信用限额降至$600元。该决定是基于来自信用报告机构的信息及你的账户运作状况而做出的。”

“MNBA Canada bank periodically reviews customer account to assess potential credit risks,” read the letter to Li. “As a result of recent review, we have reduced your credit limit on the above noted account to $600. The decision was based on the activity on your account, in addition to the information from credit reporting agency.”

在多伦多拥有一份体面的工作的李先生注意到这封信中提及的信用机构是Trans Union。据李先生称,他一直都是及时全额偿还信用卡欠款。自从他1996年移民抵埠多伦多以来,从未发生过任何经济纠纷,因此他认为自己应该拥有较高的信用评级。

Li, who holds a decent job in Toronto, found out the credit agency referred to in the letter was Trans Union. According to Li, he has always paid out his credit card balance in full – before the due date. Since he landed in Toronto in 1996 as an immigrant, he has never been involved in any financial disputes, and believes he deserves a strong credit rating.

李先生告诉《大中报》:“很显然,我的Trans Union信用报告信息并不准确。”

“Obviously, the information in my credit file with Trans Union was not accurate,” Li told Chinese News.


While consumers can deny some financial institutions’ access to their credit information, banks and other institutions can access client’s credit report anytime. Consumers, whether knowingly or not, must agree to a lengthy policy statement when applying for a credit card. 


Unfortunately, mistakes do not just happen, but are inevitable. More troubling is that the onus to correct the error was on users, not credit agencies.

Trans Union已经宣布将会调查消费者所关注的问题。他们将会联系每一名产生异议的机构,并要求他们核实异议信息的准确性。

Trans Union declares that they will investigate consumers’ concerns. They will contact each source with the nature of the dispute, and request them to verify the accuracy of the disputed information.

Trans Union在调查申请表上的声明称:“如果调查无法解决您的异议,你可以在自己的报告中添加解释说明。”

“If an investigation does not resolve your dispute, you may add an explanation statement to your report,” read the statement on the investigation application form.


Li’s effort to dispute the report seemed to hit a stone wall. His dispute application had received no response, until he contacted Chinese News.

在《大中报》介入后,Trans Union的媒体关系部门迅速作出了回应。

Trans Union media relations quickly responded to the request from Chinese News.

David M. Blumberg在发给《大中报》的一封电子邮件中称:“我们的客户服务部门正在核查相关文件,一旦有进一步信息我会联系你们。”

In an email to Chinese News, David M. Blumberg wrote: “our customer service department is currently checking on the file.  I will contact you once I have further information”.


But investigations of credit disputes are a lengthy process. Canada, which still follows archaic consumer protection laws, is lagging behind the US in handling complaints. In US, the credit bureau must resolve a complaint within 30 days, compared with an abysmal six months to a year wait in Canada. 

《大中报》目前仍在耐心等待Trans Union的回音,并希望Trans Union能改正李先生的信用报告以解决他其燃眉之急。而与此同时,李先生也在翘首以盼。

Chinese News is still waiting for the response from Trans Union, hoping that a revised report may straighten out Li’s credit problems. Meanwhile, Li says he has his fingers crossed.


Note: The story was published in Chinese News in April, 2015.

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