As credit complaints mount, consumers urged to check their reports

Here's why you may have a brand-new ding on your report -- and what you can do about it.

Video Transcript

MICHAEL FINNEY: Credit reporting complaints have doubled since the pandemic began. We are swimming in complaints, and now, we are swimming in free credit reports, too.

Suzanne and Don Lindsey are in the property business, so good credit rating and high credit score are important. When their bank made a credit reporting mistake, they called right away.

SUZANNE LINDSEY: We have an email saying that they were corrected and that they were sorry, it was their fault. And we haven't seen any results.

DON LINDSEY: Well, we've seen some improvement in the credit. Our score now is about is around 750, and before this incident, it was around 850.

LINDA SHERRY: Well, that's wrong. Because if they made a mistake, they should then somehow backtrack and get this back on track for these consumers.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Linda Sherry is with Consumer Action.

LINDA SHERRY: Last year, the complaints more than doubled, which is quite extraordinary, because there's always been complaints about credit reports. But to, you know, double in size, that's amazing.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Sarah Rathner from NerdWallet says this has COVID-19 written all over it.

SARA RATHNER: This is a sign that consumers have been taking advantage of hardship programs offered by lenders and credit card companies. They've been checking their credit reports at a higher than usual rate, and they've been noticing errors that could potentially cost them money.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Those who filed for forbearance are more likely to see mistakes. Sometimes the agreed-upon break from mortgage payments are reported as late or missed payments, and that can really ding a credit report. But if you don't check, you won't know you have a problem. Fortunately, it's now easier than ever to check your report.

The three major credit bureaus usually offer one free report a year. Now when the pandemic hit, that number was raised to one per week. Well, now the agencies are extending the one a week report until April next year.

Now, I've posted a link on our website along with this story. Follow it, and you go get your free credit report every week, if you want, for another year.