Customer Denied Credit, Learns She Is Listed As Dead By Credit Bureau

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It is common for stores to tempt shoppers with discounts if they apply for a credit card at a store that has no credit check loan .

Store cards often have high interest rates, but if you pay for your purchases in full, the discounts can be pretty good.

So when Margaret Tretola visited Lowes with her daughter to buy a new dryer, she decided to take advantage of the store’s credit card offer.

Opening a card would give Tretola a 20% discount on the dryer of $ 429 – a savings of $ 85.

She asked for the card from the cashier.

She was refused.

“I’m 62 and have never been without a credit card in my life,” Tretola said, noting the moment was embarrassing. “I have great credit with no unpaid bills – never.”

The cashier explained that she would receive a letter explaining why she was refused in 10 days. The cashier and store manager were unable to explain further, she said.

She ended up buying the dryer on her daughter’s store credit card and the manager gave her the same 20% discount.

On July 21, Tretola received the letter of explanation.

“The credit bureau reports that the applicant is deceased,” the letter reads.

But Tretola is alive and well.

Tretola said she immediately called SageStream, the credit bureau listed on the letter.

“I explained the letter I received and the fact that I was alive,” Tretola said. “(The rep) was very nice but said there was nothing he could do to help me.”

He asked her to go to the company’s website. When she did, she was asked to send the company a copy of her driver’s license and / or birth certificate and a copy of her social security card, she said.

“I was very hesitant to provide any of this information,” Tretola said. “I have never heard of SageStream as a credit reporting agency.”

After discussing it with her daughter, she decided not to send her personal information, but rather to check her credit reports with the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

“I was happy to see, according to them, that I am alive and that I have excellent credit,” she said.

Tretola returned to the letter and saw the name of Synchrony Bank. She went online and had a conversation with a customer service rep who said she couldn’t help, and Tretola was asked to call another number.

“Then I tried to call that number and as I was trying to explain to the woman who answered what had happened, she said something about Lowes and traded me somewhere else and j ‘ve been disconnected,’ said Tretola

At the suggestion of a friend the next day, she decided to ask Bamboozled for help.

CORRECTION OF ERRORS

Tretola was right to hesitate before passing her personal information on to a company she has never heard of.

But SageStream is a real business.

We reviewed Tretola’s documents and contacted the credit bureau.

It was not an easy task.

SageStream is owned by ID Analytics, a fraud risk firm. ID Analytics was owned by NortonLifeLock, the cybersecurity company, but was later acquired by Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions, a global data company.

This is who answered our calls for help.

We have asked the company to correct the error and ensure that they notify other companies that may have received erroneous data on Tretola.

A spokesperson said the company would look into the case and within days Tretola received a phone call.

“It looks like the wrong Social Security number was entered somewhere,” Tretola said, noting that he had been told it was being repaired. “(The representative) said I should get a report in a few days, then another in about 30 days.”

We asked Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions what was wrong, but she replied that she could not answer any questions due to “protecting consumer privacy”.

Okay.

So we asked the company to explain in general what a consumer should do in a case like this.

He said that if a consumer believes the information in a SageStream report is inaccurate, they should contact the company using the SageStream Consumer Portal, or by calling (888) 395-0277. You can also write to SageStream Consumer Office, PO Box 503793, San Diego, CA 92150.

If you find an error with a credit reporting company, contact the company and ask them to correct any erroneous information.

If you’re denied credit from a business you’ve never heard of, search online and you’ll likely find enough information to verify its legitimacy. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to contact them and request a correction.

The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and remove errors from your reports. Then he should give you the results of his investigation in writing along with a free copy of your report if any change is made.

You can check your credit reports once a year for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get a free copy if you are denied credit.

You can file disputes on the credit bureaus websites at Equifax.com, Experian.com and TransUnion.com.

If you find an error, report it to the credit bureaus in writing and include the documents that support your position. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing a sample letter of dispute on its website.

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Karin Price Mueller can be contacted at [email protected].

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