Equifax report frustrates broker

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One broker is frustrated by negative Equifax reports that he believes aren’t a true indication of clients’ credit health.

“Recently all the cellular phone companies – Rogers and Bell – have been reporting their accounts on Equifax and in my opinion these aren’t revolving accounts that should be reported to the credit bureau,” John Panagakos of Dominion Lending Centres Home Financial told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “So you have a dispute with Rogers, something happens you can’t pay it or you’re in dispute – boom – they go on the credit bureau, you get (a negative report) and it affects your total credit rating … I don’t know why they have the right to do this.”

Cellular companies have been reporting non-payments to Equifax since this summer and it is becoming just another roadblock in an increasingly frustrating environment of ever-tightening lending guidelines. And it can be the difference in a client attaining a mortgage or not.

“In some cases someone could have perfect credit and because they got into a big dispute with Rogers or Telus or, in some cases, Bell – they’re sometimes ruthless,” Panagakos said. “(The client) may oppose a bill, not pay it and get (reported).”

Panagakos, who says he doesn’t like it from a consumer protection standpoint, has started advising clients on the importance of dealing with disputes in a manner that will not negatively affect credit.

 “I tell my clients if they have a dispute with a phone bill, you pay it under protest and then you write to them, you write to the ombudsman, you go to consumer protection agencies, the CRTC, you file a complaint; you do everything to protect yourself,” Panagakos explains. “Even with your credit cards: You pay it and then you fight it because they can report you.”
 
 
 
 
  • Sheldon on 2014-01-24 8:31:08 AM

    This is why they have companies like Canada Credit Fix. They deal with Rogers and Telus messes all the time. If you want these fixed call 1-866-530-3646 or go to www.canadacreditfix.com

  • Bob on 2014-01-24 8:32:48 AM

    Hi John,
    The phone companies may be reporting to Equifax, but the repayment history etc is not being accounted for when determining a clients FICO/Beacon score. That being said, when was the last time you saw a lender overlook derogatory history on the bureau and not say anything.

  • Jimmy the broker on 2014-01-24 8:36:48 AM

    Agree with John here and I have a few comments about Equifax , credit reporting in Canada and bank/lender policies.

    The smallest disputes cause way too much grief and punish credit scores unnecessarily for consumers. Disputes happen all the time with the Big corps who are known for their overbilling and BS tactics to make an extra buck.

    As well, my biggest frustration is how lenders treat some collections. For example , smaller collections that clients are forced to pay off by lenders if they want a new mortgage for a purchase or refinance.

    Why should that collection be paid off ? Has nothing to do with the new mortgage. If its a genuine dispute with a company what does the lender care if the client is in dispute over $300? How should that block them from getting a mortgage when the rest of their revolving credit is R1 for 10 years for example? Lenders forcing clients into paying a collection is the most ridiculous guideline ive seen.

    The credit reporting rules and lender policies need another look and a makeover. Quality clients who have a genuine dispute with a company should not have to be punished by Equifax and lenders.

  • Jason on 2014-01-24 9:08:26 AM

    When you obtain a cell phone you sign a contract, part of that contract includes the amortized purchase of the telephone over the term of the contract which the company is selling you.

    There ARE lending terms in the contract which the customer signs. If they do not adhere to the terms of that agreement, why should the company suffer?

    Also, the client agrees to the terms of the account and they are paying for service. If someone is not prepared to pay for a service that they contractually agreed to, well... should they not be held accountable? Since when is it OK to only have to pay some debts and not others? SURE everyone blames the big bad phone companies (just as most brokers like to blame the big bad banks for their woes) but the reality is that NO ONE forces a client to buy an $800 phone and finance it on a contract. NO ONE forces the customer to rack of a phone bill and not make their payments. Why should the phone companies have to write of millions of dollars in bad debts every year and the customer get away with it?

    The moral of this story is simple folks… PAY YOUR BILLS. Pay them on time, live up to the agreement that you voluntarily made, and this is a non issues. As with any other debt, if it is reported in error, then get it fixed, but 99% of the time the client owes the money.

  • Jimmy the broker on 2014-01-24 9:21:03 AM

    @Jason ....do you work for Rogers or Telus? ...lol

  • Ron Butler on 2014-01-24 10:08:50 AM

    @Jason, I agree that the client contractually owes the money 99% of the time but as someone who has 5 or 6 disputes a year (after I have paid the bill) with both Rogers and Bell (don't ask why both...... long story) I will tell you there are VERY few companies on planet earth with wilder billing practises than telecoms. If I didn't have the resources to pay and have staff members to fight for hours (95% of that time spent on hold) I would likely feel ticked off enough to delay or deny payment. NOBODY can say any mobile Telco has a great consumer friendly reputation or customer friendly billing practises.

  • Jason on 2014-01-24 3:04:46 PM

    Well Ron, I don't know what to tell you... in all the years that I have had a cell phone, ever since the old brick giants that we used to lug around, I have never had a dispute with my bill. I have been with Bell for over a decade, and I can't hink of a single instance where I have had any major issues with my bills.

    The same for the phone bills that my wife and kids have - that I pay for.

    It is all about understanding the service and the contract, and knowing what the limitations are. I make sure that we have good plans that suit our needs. That is after all my job as the consumer - the company is there to provide a service, it is up to us as consumers to read the contract and do our research.

    Funny, the same can be said for mortgage broker too can't it? I would be worried as a consumer if I knew that my broker did not even understand a cell phone contract. Mortgage contracts and terms are far more complex after all.

  • Paul on 2014-01-24 3:13:39 PM

    I have to agree with Jason on his comments (both times). I have never had an issue with my cell bells. I make sure if I travel I do not have roaming on, if I go out of country I make sure to inform them and get the right plan.

    Last trip to Mexico I used my cell pretty consistently to keep in touch with all my friends that live down there. Total bill for two weeks... $125 - not exactly out of this world.

  • Ron Butler on 2014-01-25 8:45:40 AM

    @ Jason, seriously, Canadians love their Telcos, seriously????

  • Deb on 2014-02-05 10:31:31 PM

    I must agree with Jason's comments - when you sign a contract with a phone company, you need to honour what you have agreed to. If you chose to not honour the terms, be prepared to pay for it with a poor reporting or collection on your bureau.

    I have had a cell account for 20 years, and can honestly say I've never had any issues with my billing. Whenever I have moved (5 times), I ensure they have my new address (I find as a mortgage agent, this is the most common excuse for collections, that the client moved and didn't get their bill anymore so they never paid it).

    I do also agree that since the phone companies have started reporting to the bureau, I cross my fingers every time I pull a bureau as yes, it's typically a phone bill that shows derogatory if anything is going to be negative on a credit bureau. I also encourage my clients to set their phone bill on auto-pay (and still track their bill to ensure it's paid correct), to protect their credit.

    Great comments everyone!

  • Mike on 2014-04-09 1:44:10 AM

    What this does effect is your income to debt ratio. I am not under a contact and can stop my service at anytime but it still show on my credit report and counts towards the income to debt ratio. A cell phone is not a necessity for most of us so why is it reported? Why isn't my hydro bill or electrical bill......whats next my gym membership?

  • Penny on 2014-10-09 2:59:46 PM

    You are all way off the way in which Equifax manipulates a report. Generate a report from the internet and you will see if your creditors are listed in date order with the top being most recent history. Look at your Rogers or Bell account, there is no credit limit listed therefore you are utilizing 500% of your credit available if your balance is $500.00. There is some much more I can tell you I have been studying the games they play for over the past 2 years since my divorce. I can pinpoint all the errors and tricks. If you have a client with updaid debts, they will not correct anything or make it in your client's best interest to correct until the collection has been paid off probably because they are too getting a cut from the collection agencies. Wake up everyone. I think that the law firm of Lerners LLP should bring another Class Action Lawsuit against Equifax. They just lost a big case in the states with falsifying records. Another action should be brought against Wells Fargo Financial for bailing out of Canada and not giving anyone warning and falsifying their records as they did in the States. More conspiracy up here so we deal with B lenders instead of the bank. War doesn't always mean weapons, it means bringing our people down.

  • Bob on 2014-10-09 3:26:15 PM

    I wish Equifax Canada (and other creditors and credit reporting agencies) were mandated to follow The Fair Credit Reporting Act... But sadly, Canadians do not have the same protection as our neighbours to the South!
    With accountability resting on the shoulders of both the creditors as well as Reporting agencies, it is easier and quicker for the consumers to get errors on the bureau fixed.

  • Bob on 2014-10-09 3:26:16 PM

    I wish Equifax Canada (and other creditors and credit reporting agencies) were mandated to follow The Fair Credit Reporting Act... But sadly, Canadians do not have the same protection as our neighbours to the South!
    With accountability resting on the shoulders of both the creditors as well as Reporting agencies, it is easier and quicker for the consumers to get errors on the bureau fixed.

  • Penny on 2014-10-09 3:50:07 PM

    Consumer Reporting Act ....you should make yourself aware of the avenues to help your clients.


    Correction of errors

    13. (1) Where a consumer disputes the accuracy or completeness of any item of information contained in his or her file, the consumer reporting agency within a reasonable time shall use its best endeavours to confirm or complete the information and shall correct, supplement or delete the information in accordance with good practice. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.33, s. 13 (1).

    Idem

    (2) Where a consumer reporting agency corrects, supplements or deletes information under subsection (1), the consumer reporting agency shall furnish notification of the correction, supplement or deletion to,

    (a) all persons who have been supplied with a consumer report based on the unamended file within sixty days before the correction, supplement or deletion is made; and

    (b) the persons specifically designated by the consumer from among those who have been supplied with a consumer report based on the unamended file,

    (i) where the report contains personal information, within the one-year period preceding the correction, supplement or deletion, and

    (ii) where the report contains credit information, within the six-month period preceding the correction, supplement or deletion. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.33, s. 13 (2).

  • Bob on 2014-10-09 5:25:12 PM

    The USA version is WAY more onerous for the credit bureau providers to follow.
    http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/articles/pdf/pdf-0111-fair-credit-reporting-act.pdf

    your request.

    •You have the right to know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year for most purposes or in the last two years for employment purposes.

    •Any company that denies your application must supply the name and address of the credit bureau they contacted, provided the denial was based on information given by the credit bureau.

    •You have the right to a free copy of your credit report when your application is denied because of information supplied by the credit bureau. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.

    • If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you should file a dispute with the credit bureau and with the company that furnished the information to the bureau. Both the credit bureau and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to investigate your dispute.

    • You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.


  • Victor Simone on 2014-10-09 8:00:38 PM

    If some would have known phone bills would go on credit reports, they would have paid these on time. To be fair, the phone companies should just be allowed to show from 2014 (the start of the reporting) and onward.

    What's next to be reported by Equifax? A client's favourite colour ? You better not paint your bike a bright red, Billy. Banks want to know you're consistent and don't like flashy colours !!!

  • Laura on 2015-04-09 10:50:09 PM

    I have a question: I'm currently with Telus and i'm not under any contract with them for the past two years (i have my own phone). Why are they still on my credit report if im not under any kind of contract with them.

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