Credit bureau complaints double during pandemic as consumers keep close watch on their reports

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Complaints about credit bureaus have doubled since the pandemic began. Have you checked your credit report recently? Are you happy with what you see? A lot of your friends and neighbors aren't happy with their reports.

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney spoke with Alameda residents Suzanne and Don Lindsey. They are in the property business, so a good credit report and high credit score are important to them. When their bank made a credit reporting mistake, they called right away.

"We have email saying they would correct it, they were sorry, it was their fault," Suzanne tells 7 On Your Side, "and we haven't seen any results."

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"Well, we see some improvement in the credit," Don says, "Our score is now around 750 and before this incident it was around 850."

"That is wrong, because if they made a mistake, they should then somehow backtrack and get this back on track for these consumers," says Consumer Action's Linda Sherry.

"Last year," she says, "the complaints more than doubled, which is quite extraordinary because there have always been complaints about credit reports, but to double in size, that's amazing."

Sara Rathner from Nerdwallet says this has COVID-19 written all over it. "This is a sign that consumers have been taking advantage of hardship programs offered by lenders and credit card companies," she says.

She says it is also a sign that consumers are keeping closer track of their finances: "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."

Those who filed for forbearance, an agreement to skip mortgage payments approved by the lender, are more likely to see mistakes. Why? Sometimes the agreed-upon break from mortgage payments are reported as late or missed payments. That can really ding a report.

If you don't check, you won't know you have a problem. Fortunately it is now easier than ever to check your report. The three major Credit Bureaus usually offer one free report a year. When the pandemic hit, that number was raised to one a week. Now the agencies have extended the one-a-week report until April next year. You can get your report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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