Credit Reporting Errors and Calgary’s Personal Debt Problem

Credit reporting errors are more common than you might think. These errors can impact your ability to get a loan, lower your credit score, and increase the amount of interest you pay on loans. When looking for a mortgage, your credit score and personal debt (among other factors), come in to play. In Q4, 2021, Fort McMurray had the highest average debt in Canada at $37,987. Calgary followed with $25,082. In a March 7, 2022, CBC Calgary article, credit reporting errors caused a Canadian couple to fail to qualify for a mortgage.

We at JW Weber & Associates are committed to keeping Canadian consumers informed about their rights regarding credit reporting, so we’ve taken the time to compile some of the most common credit reporting errors and explain how you can go about disputing them.

1. Discrepancies in your name

If your name is listed differently than it appears on your other accounts (i.e., the names don’t match), or if there is a misspelling of your name, this could be a serious issue for your financial future. These issues could often result in a denial of a credit application in the future because it’s difficult to confirm that you are who you say you are if they’re looking at a different name.

2. You have an account listed that isn’t yours. 

If you see an account you know isn’t yours listed on your credit report.  This means there’s another person who shares your name, and their account is showing up under your information when it shouldn’t be.

3. Old or outdated information is still showing up on your report.

There are time limits on how long some types of negative information can stay on your credit report. For example, if you file for bankruptcy, it will appear on your report for six years from the date of discharge from your bankruptcy or 3 years after the completion of your consumer proposal. Once this time has elapsed, it should no longer be included in your report. Similarly, if a court has ordered a creditor to remove a debt from your report because it was discharged through bankruptcy, this should also be removed from your report within 90 days of being discharged.

The good news is that you can fix these errors and protect your credit score. Here’s what you need to know about fixing credit reporting errors in Canada:

1. Get a copy of your credit report

You can get your Equifax and TransUnion reports by mail or online, although getting them online is usually faster. You can also get them for free once per year through the Credit Report Centre.

2. Check for errors

While you’re looking over your report, keep an eye out for any errors that might be affecting your overall score. Your name, date of birth, and address should all be correct and up-to-date—as well as any other information listed on the report. Make sure to note anything that seems off or inaccurate so that you can work to dispute it later on.

3. Identify the problem.

Some issues are more time-sensitive than others – if there’s a debt collection on your report that isn’t yours and it wasn’t removed within two months of the credit bureau being notified, then you may be able to get it removed immediately by consulting with legal counsel or you can go at it alone and dispute the issue yourself.

4. Contact the lender who reported your account inaccurately 

Ask them for a correction. If they don’t fix it or refuse to fix it, then you have the option of contacting a credit reporting agency and asking them to investigate further on your behalf. In either case, it’s important that you keep all correspondence with these companies organized so that if your case goes before a court or other legal proceedings, you’ll have all the necessary information at hand.

It is crucial that we remain vigilant about monitoring and repairing our credit reports to ensure all information is up-to-date, accurate, and relevant. By following these simple steps you can help to ensure that your report is in good shape.

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