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Two brothers were being harmed by credit reporting errors until Consumer Attorneys stepped into fix them.
Rahil and Rahim A. are brothers who have a single-letter variance in their names and a one-digit difference in their United States Social Security numbers. But that’s where the similarities end. Born in different decades, one lives in Arizona and the other in Texas, plus working in disparate industries (Rahil at a nuclear power plant that requires extensive FBI background checks and Rahim as an industrial engineer for a private firm), the two are clearly distinguishable from one another. So, when a major credit reporting company and an international banking company continually confused the two, it left Rahil not only baffled but, more importantly, at a costly and unjust disadvantage.
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Signs of trouble first emerged when Rahil applied for a small line of credit at a furniture store and spotted Rahim's address on his credit report. Meanwhile, Rahim had recently noticed Rahil’s car loan listed on his own report. That’s when the brothers pulled their reports and compared the two.
“My credit information had been lumped with my brother's information,” Rahil said. “On paper it looked like me and my brother were the same person; almost like I didn't exist. I tried repeatedly to fix the problem on my own with no luck. Phone calls and letters did not work. I was turned down for a $16,000 auto loan due to my brother's mortgage which made my debt to income ratio too high. When I pulled my credit again, there were 24 accounts that didn't belong to me.”
Floored by the extent of inaccuracy and anxious to prove his true creditworthiness, Rahil saw the mortgage listing as a potential fix. Since he had never applied for a loan or credit line from the bank, surely its officers would recognize that he was not their mortgagee, overlook the mistake on his account and approve him for the car loan – or so he thought.
“I made sure beforehand that the banker knew the full situation,” Rahil said. An initial run of his name and social security number showed no record of Rahim in the bank’s system, for a brief, blissful moment, all seemed to be headed in the right direction. But the loan processing application turned up another rejection, citing Rahim’s recent mortgage as the primary deciding factor. “That was the final straw.”
Having exhausted all efforts, Rahil called on Daniel Cohen, founder of New York-based Consumer Attorneys, LLC, who specializes in cases involving credit reporting and background check errors. On Rahil’s behalf, Cohen filed suit for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in Arizona’s U.S. District Court. The FCRA is a federal law that regulates the way credit reporting agencies can collect, access, use, and share data they collect in consumer reports to ensure accuracy, fairness, and privacy. Despite court system delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Consumer Attorneys secured a sizable financial settlement for Rahil in just under a year, forcing correction of mistakes on his credit report and affording him the long-overdue opportunity to rebuild his credit.
Unfortunately, Rahil’s problem is a common one. A 2021 Consumer Reports survey estimates that 34% of Americans have found an error on their credit reports. Of the 6,000 respondents, 29% found mistakes in their personal information, and 11% found misinformation related to their financial accounts. In Rahil’s case, mistakes cost him the vehicle he had his eye on, plus $20,000 in home equity and potentially thousands of dollars that went to interest rate hikes based on incorrect information.
“If you can’t borrow money, you can’t move up in life,” Rahil said, offering advice to those who may find themselves in a similar situation. “Don’t blindly trust that the credit bureaus are doing their due diligence. Check your own credit at least once a year, and if something doesn’t seem right, call Consumer Attorneys.”