Removing incorrect data from a credit report
October 10, 2012 1:34 PM   Subscribe

How to get incorrect credit cards off my credit report? I've tried just about everything. (Involves companion cards on a family member's credit card.)

When I was a teenager (20 years ago), my dad set up companion cards for me on his American Express and department store credit cards. I never used these cards.

Since then, my dad's balances on these cards show up on my credit report. He's carried a moderate balance on both, but always paid on time. I didn't worry about these cards because the long credit history helped me more than it hurt me.

However, over the past six months, my dad has started to miss payments. My credit monitoring system alerted me. I called one of the credit companies, and they said my dad would have to remove my companion cards, then tell the card companies to notify the credit bureaus. I asked my dad to do this (about 5 months ago) and he said he did.

I pulled my credit reports last month and discovered that one report doesn't show my dad's cards, but the other two do. I called the two latter companies and both said they didn't receive notification from the card companies. My dad said he called again a few months ago to double-check and they said all was well. In the meantime, he continues to default on his payments (and isn't receptive to me offering to help him with his payments; he shuts down completely). My credit score is lowering.

Is there something I can do that I'm missing? I've used the "report discrepancies" feature on the online credit reports. I've sent letters in writing. I've called. If the credit card companies don't notify the bureaus, they won't take it off my report. I've asked my dad for the exact credit numbers/information so I can call myself, but he hasn't complied and is shutting down about the whole situation because he's embarrassed about missing payments.

Any MeFite advice on how to get something like this off my report before my credit is ruined? Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Write letters to the two credit agencies which still show the cards. Tell them that these are not your accounts, and you would like them removed from your file.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:37 PM on October 10, 2012

We bunnies stick together. Notify the bureaus yourself.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2012

Sometimes it takes several go-rounds with the reporting agencies to get items off your report. Also, in my experience removing items that belonged either to my dad (I'm a junior) or to my ex-wife, reporting agencies always responded better to physical snail-mail requests than to the online form.

Also, be forwarned, some of the agencies might still not take off missed payments that happened while you were technically still connected to your dad's credit account, because in fact those past dues were connected to an account you were still a party to.

Good luck!
posted by aught at 1:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The credit bureaus will likely be useless in this. If your experience is like mine, they will contact the credit card company and ask, "is this the same guy" and the credit card companies will say yes. The credit card companies will hold the power in this situation, so you'll have to go through them.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2012

To elaborate, this is called a dispute, and it is a dispute of an authorized user account. If you've already been removed from the account with the credit card company, it really should be a simple matter to contact the credit bureaus by mail and request to have the accounts removed from your file.

For example, here is Experian's advice on the matter.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:55 PM on October 10, 2012

You must be very aggressive with the CRAs (Credit Reporting Agency). Be very succinct and to the point in your correspondence ("As of [date] this account is not mine. Please remove it."), send your correspondence certified/return receipt, always include proof of identity/SS#/etc (see below). You may have to repeat numerous times. It's unlikely this item with a few late payments is going to ruin your credit but this is a good thing to remain vigilant on throughout life. Here are some resources I've found to be very helpful in this area:
posted by uhom at 10:44 PM on October 10, 2012

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