The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires consumer reporting agencies (a/k/a credit bureaus or CRAs) to maintain reasonable procedures to assure the “maximum possible accuracy” of the information the CRAs report about you. Unfortunately, procedures followed by credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are often less than what is reasonable to assure maximum possible accuracy. A common result of flawed procedures utilized by the credit bureaus is what is known as a mixed file.

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. Each of these “big three” credit bureaus uses complex matching logic (confidential algorithms) to assign personal information and account data to your credit files. Unfortunately, that matching logic is not nearly as robust as it could be, all too often assigning personal information and/or account data to the credit files of the wrong individual. This assignment of information to the credit file of the wrong person results in mixed files, and millions of Americans have mixed files. Worse, very few consumers know that their files are mixed until they are denied credit at a highly inopportune time.

When your credit files are mixed, the credit reports/consumer reports that are generated from those files will not accurately reflect your creditworthiness. Rather mixed files produce artificial and often lower credit scores for one or more consumers whose files are mixed. If you are mixed with an individual who has a poor credit history (late payments, bankruptcies, maxed out credit cards), you will appear to creditors to be a high-risk borrower even if, in reality, you have immaculate credit.

Sherman & Ticchio has the experience required to detect mixed files and help clients use the FCRA to fix their mixed file problems and, often, compensate our clients for the harm — including credit-related damages and emotional distress — suffered because of a mixed file. Contact Sherman & Ticchio today for a free and thorough case evaluation.