Why can't I unfreeze one of my three credit scores?
September 22, 2019 6:07 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I need to refinance our mortgage in California. I've unfrozen my credit scores (which I froze after the big credit bureau hacks over the last several years.) The loan officer at our bank pulls my credit. Experian and TransUnion appear, but Equifax is blocked by "California legislation." I've been working on this problem for months now with no progress. Does anyone know what's happening and how to unblock this score? Thank you! Additional details about this financial mystery inside.

No one I've spoken to at Equifax's help line knows anything about this. They can only freeze and unfreeze my score. The fourth multi-hour help line call got me a paper copy of my credit report in the mail, featuring everything EXCEPT my score which was blocked due to "California legislation" (with, of course, no further details). The sixth call got me a recommendation to stop calling and have my loan officer call their business services number with Equifax (and Credco, the bank's credit reporting agency) to sort this out. When he did so, everyone was equally baffled there, and they stalled until he had to hang up. We're at an impasse. This single score is the only thing holding everything up.

On the FTC's Annual Credit Report site, I can see all three of my scores! But those can't be submitted to the bank's underwriters. I can see each of the times the bank has pulled my credit in that report, but no indication of why this was unsuccessful for Equifax and only Equifax. Search for Equifax blocks and the language of the block is a lot of confusing results about other credit score issues and class action lawsuits.

Finally: we only got our mortgage last year, and all my scores came through then -- it never even came up as an issue. (We need to refinance in part to help pay for some small renovations to the house for an ailing relative to move in after a family medical problem, so the situation is growing increasingly urgent.) What could have happened in the last ten months?

The bank we have been working with is Chase, if that makes any difference. Thanks again for any suggestions you have.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wonder if you’d get better help from a mortgage broker. They are more motivated to fix issues and have seen many scenarios.
posted by amanda at 8:13 AM on September 22, 2019


Also: go ahead and contact the state office of Attorney General - maybe they have answers.
posted by amanda at 8:16 AM on September 22, 2019


The California law on security freeze is in the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, California Civil Code §§ 1785.11.2-1785.11.6 and 1785.15 -- perhaps escalating, and using these specific paragraphs, could unstick matters, because per those that Act the credit bureaus must unfreeze your account no later than three business days after receiving a written request.

...so, you could try calling and then when you hit the stone wall, point out the actual legal requirements, mention that you will be submitting a written request, reminding them of their legal obligations, and asking your interlocutor to verify that the correct address for such requests is:

Equifax
VTSD - Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

...and, of course, be prepared to actually submit the written request (use some form of verified delivery mail).

And, finally, you should perhaps considering complaining to the State AG:

https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company
posted by aramaic at 8:54 AM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


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