If TransUnion Reported Unauthorized Hard Inquiries In Your Credit Report, We Can Help. Protect Your Rights Today!
Did you discover unauthorized hard credit inquiries in your TransUnion credit report? Unauthorized inquiries can damage your credit score and prevent you from getting credit when you need it. Don't let your credit health suffer! Learn why correcting these errors matters, how to dispute them, what your rights are, and how to get compensation.
Our economy is heavily consumer-driven, dependent on our persistent willingness to spend money and access credit to make purchases of all kinds, large and small. Our ability to function in this economy is directly tied to an evaluation of our creditworthiness, which is assessed using the tools of a credit report and a credit score.
Hard inquiries detract from your creditworthiness by lowering your credit score. Too many hard inquiries can result in a significantly lowered score and loss of access to credit when you need it most. While some people are simply too blasé in their approach to managing their credit profile and agree to frequent or unnecessary hard inquiries with some frequency, others are shocked to discover that unauthorized credit inquiries have damaged their credit profile.
If you’re the victim of unwarranted, unauthorized, unjust credit inquiries on your TransUnion credit report and your creditworthiness and borrowing ability have suffered, we can help. As consumer protection lawyers, our team at Consumer Attorneys has helped thousands of clients fight back against credit bureaus, and we can help you learn how to remove hard inquiries from TransUnion reports.
I’ll explain what credit inquiries are, why they matter, how they can be harmful, and what to do when one shows up on your report that you don’t recognize. You’ll learn how to dispute hard inquiries on TransUnion reports, enforce their removal, and get compensation if your dispute faces stalls, delays, or dead ends.
What is a Credit Inquiry?
The term credit inquiry is used in the consumer financial industry to describe the process of requesting a consumer’s credit profile from one of the credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A credit profile (or credit report) presents all of a consumer’s financial data, including such things as:
- Bank and financial accounts held in your name, along with the status of the account and the dates of all significant actions related to it (opened, closed, transferred, etc.)
- Current debt or loans held in your name, along with the status of the loan and the dates of all significant actions related to it. In the case of loans, the status includes the origination date, payoff date, missed or late payments, and whether it is considered closed and in good standing. This includes auto loans, home loans, equity loans, and others.
- Properties and addresses in your name, the status of any financial products tied to those properties (mortgages, leases, etc.), and any relevant eviction or payment history.
Getting credit is how most people make significant purchases throughout their lives, including home mortgages, auto financing, equity loans, insurance products, and others. So, credit inquiries are actually a very important piece of the transaction between consumers and lenders.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number computed by TransUnion using proprietary factors based on the financial criteria pulled together in your credit report. This number (ranging from 300 to 850) is meant to encapsulate a consumer’s creditworthiness symbolically so that lenders or others can have a “snapshot” of your creditworthiness without digging through your entire credit profile.
In a TransUnion credit report, the ranges are as follows:
- 300-600: very poor
- 601-660: poor
- 661-720: fair
- 721-780: good
- 781-850: excellent
By accessing your credit report and credit score through a credit inquiry, a bank, lender, financier, or other company can determine your creditworthiness. The latter is then used to decide whether to extend you credit, which in its most simplistic sense is an official, legally binding IOU that comes with various terms and conditions of repayment.
Credit scores are usually docked between five and ten points per hard inquiry. So, while minor fluctuations in your credit score are nothing to worry about, accruing a number of hard inquiries within a short period can have a direct adverse impact on your credit score. For instance, forty points can mean the difference between good credit or fair credit for some consumers.
In addition, lenders are not only looking at your credit score to determine your credit health. They also take into account the number of inquiries in two years, one year, six months, etc. For instance, even if you have a good credit score, if you have a recent cluster of hard inquiries within the six months prior to seeking an auto loan, this might be a red flag to a lender.
TransUnion is a Consumer Reporting Agency
Though known as credit bureaus, these three companies are just the largest and most frequently used consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) in the nation, and there are actually several dozen companies that provide the same or similar services. It is important to understand what a CRA is and how it operates.
TransUnion and the other CRAs purchase and sell consumer data by using algorithms to gather, review, sort, and report data. TransUnion purchases this data from companies known as “data furnishers,” so-called because they provide (or furnish) data to TransUnion and others. Data furnishers are companies that you have a direct relationship with, like service providers, credit card companies, banks and lenders, mortgage and auto financers, etc. The data furnishers sell your account and payment information to the credit bureaus.
TransUnion also purchases data about you from third-party companies that don’t have direct relationships with you but use their own algorithms to scan municipal records and other resources to collect data.
TransUnion, Credit Inquiries, and the FCRA
As a CRA, TransUnion’s activities and products are regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This is important because the FCRA, along with comparable state law, grants you legal protections for how your consumer data is handled.
Among your legal rights under the FCRA is the right to accuracy in your credit report. Accurate information is verifiably true and presented in a way that is not misleading. The verifiable piece of this is incredibly important when it comes to disputing information in your TransUnion credit report, including credit inquiries.
Types of Credit Inquiries
Whether you’re dealing with TransUnion or one of the other bureaus, there are two types of credit inquiries that can be made: hard and soft. The distinction (explained below) is used to acknowledge that there are many reasons why a quick credit assessment can be helpful in certain circumstances, even when there is no intention to actually take on additional debt in the immediate moment.
Credit inquiries are also referred to as checking your credit, pulling your credit, or making a credit pull. If a business, landlord, or other entity wants to check your credit, make sure you understand whether it is a soft inquiry or a hard inquiry before authorizing the check.
Soft Credit Inquiries
Soft credit inquiries are peeks at a credit report with the intent to get a general idea of your overall credit health. Soft inquiries do not have any impact on your credit score. These types of inquiries can include:
- Checking your own credit report or credit score as part of diligent monitoring to identify any discrepancies. This is recommended at least once annually, and many banks or credit card companies offer this as a regular feature in their apps.
- Seeking pre-approval for a loan or purchase. This is meant to assess if it’s even worth considering a purchase like a car or home.
- Background checks for employment or housing.
- Marketing purposes. Some companies check consumer credit reports in order to market financial products to them. This is what generally fuels “prequalified” offers that randomly show up in your inbox or mailbox.
Hard Credit Inquiries
Hard inquiries are done when you and a company agree that you’d like to move forward with a financial transaction that requires credit. Unlike a “pre-approval” or a “pre-qualified” offer, a hard inquiry is an official assessment of whether a bank, credit card company, mortgage lender, or auto financier is going to extend you the credit you need to make an actual purchase.
These types of inquiries include:
- Mortgage approvals.
- Car loan approvals.
- Equity loan approvals.
- Credit Card approvals.
How to Lessen Authorized Credit Inquiries
Research and prepare in advance to the extent possible before filling out an application for credit. For instance, if you are planning to buy a car, do as much research upfront as you possibly can and narrow down your decision before authorizing a credit pull.
- Research the cars you are most interested in and narrow your choices to two.
- Look at your own credit score (a soft inquiry) so that you know where you stand in terms of the likelihood of getting financing for the cars that you are interested in.
- Use all available online tools to determine the best dealer offers, loan terms, and monthly payments you can get.
- Test drive the cars you’re interested in.
- Make a final decision about which car you want before authorizing any dealership or other business to run a credit check. Don’t just go from dealership to dealership, authorizing each one to pull your credit to determine which deal is the best or which car you should get. With enough advance preparation, you should only have to pull your credit once to finalize a purchase.
How Can Credit Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score?
Hard inquiries adversely impact your credit score. This is because a hard inquiry indicates that you are actively seeking an extension of credit and represents a likelihood of assuming additional debt in the near future. Hard inquiries are how lenders determine whether to lend to you and what the terms of the loan should be (amount, repayment terms, interest rate, etc.). The better your credit score, the better your loan terms typically are.
If you’re wondering how long hard inquiries stay on your TransUnion credit report, the answer is for a period of two years. This means that if there are hard inquiries accruing on your TransUnion credit report, whether they are accurate or not, your credit score will take a hit. In addition, if you discover these unauthorized inquiries during a TransUnion background check or some other employment or loan-related opportunity, you may lose out on the opportunity altogether.
Can You Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Score?
It depends on whether the inquiry was authorized by you. Any inquiry that was authorized cannot be removed from your credit report prematurely. However, if you did not authorize a hard inquiry that appears on your TransUnion report, it can be removed.
How to Dispute Hard Inquiries on a TransUnion Report
Knowing how to remove inquiries from TransUnion credit reports is an important factor in protecting your credit health.
Under the FCRA, TransUnion has to provide a means for you to dispute your credit report, and this includes information pertaining to hard inquiries. Notably, the TransUnion website recommends you take your hard inquiry dispute directly to the lender or other company that made the inquiry and get documentation from that company to send to TransUnion to verify that it is not authorized. Then TransUnion will remove the disputed information and report inquiry accuracy.
However, the law does not support TransUnion’s approach. Instead, under the FCRA, TransUnion is legally responsible for investigating and removing any inaccurate, misleading, or false information from your credit report. This standard can only be met if, among other things, the information being reported is verifiably accurate, and that obligation falls on TransUnion, not you.
So, you should follow the procedures to dispute any unauthorized hard inquiries via certified mail. Send a dispute letter, along with copies of supporting documentation (if any), to TransUnion. Ask that the disputed information be investigated and removed from your credit profile or else verified. Within thirty days, if TransUnion does not investigate, remove the inquiry, respond to the dispute, or verify that the inquiry was authorized, you need to speak to an attorney for consumer protection.
If TransUnion responds, stating that the hard credit inquiry is verified and accurate, but you are certain that it is not, reach out to Consumer Attorneys to discuss what to do next.
For detailed information about letter templates to dispute a credit report with TransUnion, see our article, How to Write a Dispute Letter to Credit Bureaus.
You may use the following template as a guide, adding, removing, or altering the langue as needed for your situation. Anything in [brackets] should be updated with specific information pr selections. Confirm the current address information for disputes on the TransUnion consumer dispute page. Credit Dispute Support Center | TransUnion Send all correspondence and documentation to TransUnion via certified mail.
[You Street Address]
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address, if any]
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
Subject: Disputing Information in Credit Report - Unauthorized Hard [Inquiry/Inquiries]
I am writing to dispute the following information that appears in my TransUnion credit report. I have enclosed a copy of my current TransUnion credit report and circled the [item/items] in dispute, marking each with a number corresponding to the list below.
This item, circled and marked with #1 on the enclosed copy of my credit report, is inaccurate because I did not authorize a hard inquiry from [business name] on [date]. I do not recognize this inquiry, and I did not authorize it. I request that TransUnion provide me with documentation showing proof of my authorization for [business name] to make this hard inquiry on [date] or remove this item from my credit report and adjust my credit score accordingly.
This item, circled and marked with #2 on the enclosed copy of my credit report, is inaccurate because I did not authorize a hard inquiry from [business name] on [date]. I do not recognize this inquiry, and I did not authorize it. I request that TransUnion provide me with documentation showing proof of my authorization for [business name] to make this hard inquiry on [date] or remove this item from my credit report and adjust my credit score accordingly.
[Add as many additional numbered dispute items as necessary.]
Please reinvestigate [this/these] disputed [item/items] as soon as possible and in accordance with the law.
SSN: [Your Social Security Number]
Enclosures: Marked-up copy of my TransUnion credit report indicating disputed [item/items].
Consumer Attorneys Highlight
When our client, Sandreal, was actively working to improve her credit and financial health, she closely monitored her credit profiles through the three credit bureaus. During this time, she discovered that an unknown company made several hard inquiries, which were reported by TransUnion and Equifax. Sandreal followed the procedures to dispute these inquiries and was told they were verified. She then directly contacted the company conducting the hard inquiries, which informed her that it had purchased an outstanding debt in her name from another company and made repeated hard inquiries in order to assess her credit and debt situation. The company also informed our client that it would continue to make hard inquiries until she entered into a payment plan for the debt.
We knew that the company and the credit bureaus were in violation of consumer protection laws. Specifically, the company, as a debt purchaser, was only entitled to make a periodic soft inquiry to assess Sandreal’s debt, not the seven hard inquiries that it made. Clearly, the company’s intent was to cause damage and distress, and to coerce Sandreal into doing what it wanted. In addition, the credit bureaus had an obligation not to indulge or report hard inquiries from this company when both were aware that hard inquiries indicate a consumer has applied for credit, which Sandreal had not.
We successfully sued all responsible parties on Sandreal’s behalf and helped her recover from the financial and emotional damages that this unjust situation caused!
Benefits of Professional Legal Support in Dealing with TransUnion
We can guide, advise, and file a lawsuit to get you error correction and compensation.
If you are dismayed at the state of your credit score and know, “I need to remove hard inquiries from TransUnion” to get your credit file back in good shape, then we can help. Working with a skilled and experienced consumer protection attorney to remove wrongful data from your TransUnion credit report is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself.
At Consumer Attorneys, we have over seventy-five years of combined experience as litigators and advocates, and we’ve helped thousands of clients fight back against the credit bureaus for harmful reporting errors. Our top-tier team of lawyers can help guide you through the dispute process and help you navigate around any of the typical obstacles that crop up along the way
Most importantly, we know federal and state laws that impact your rights and TransUnion’s obligations, we know the common challenges that arise in getting errors correctly, and we know how to file a lawsuit on your behalf if you end up hitting a complete roadblock in your efforts.
We’ve been doing this long enough to know that simply having a dispute process and filing a dispute are frequently not enough to get TransUnion to do the right thing. TransUnion may try to put the responsibility for investigating and documenting the hard inquiry errors on you. It may also conduct inadequate or shoddy investigations, delay or fail to respond, make inadequate or incomplete corrections, or any number of other things.
Working with a consumer protection lawyer is the best bet for a quick and complete recovery.
How Much Does It Cost?
It does not cost you anything out-of-pocket to work with a lawyer from Consumer Attorneys to correct errors in your TransUnion credit report. Our initial consultations are always 100% free, and the law requires TransUnion to pay all of our legal costs and fees for helping you fix reporting errors if we sue and win.
Ask for Our Help Now
Any time you notice errors in your credit report, you should take it seriously. Mistakes can show up for all kinds of reasons, including fraud. Even things as seemingly minor as a credit inquiry can be very damaging to your credit score, especially if there are several within a relatively short amount of time.
If unauthorized hard inquiries show up in your credit profile, ask for our help now. With no out-of-pocket cost to you, there is nothing to lose in discussing your TransUnion reporting error with one of our skilled consumer protection lawyers today!
With a nationwide practice, we’re always right where you need us to be. Call now.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do credit inquiries stay on your credit report?
Credit inquiries can remain on your credit report for up to two years. The actual length of time that they remain can vary from one credit bureau to the next, but two years is the maximum length of time. TransUnion is one of the consumer reporting agencies that maintains hard inquiries as reportable for the full two-year period. Simply having hard inquiries is not, in and of itself, a bid deal. But certainly, having a cluster of several hard inquiries within a short period of time can be a red flag for lenders.
How many credit inquiries are too many?
Ultimately, this is a matter of context. Someone with an excellent credit score might not have concerns about a few extra inquiries, but someone with a lower score or someone who is on the cusp of dipping down to the next level on the credit score spectrum might. As a general rule, you should limit the number of hard inquiries to the extent possible. One way to do this is to do all of your preliminary research prior to authorizing a credit inquiry. For instance, if you are car shopping, narrow down your decision to the type of car you want prior to authorizing a dealership to pull your credit. Don’t just go from dealership to dealership authorizing credit checks. Also, if unauthorized inquiries show up on your report, dispute them.
What are inquiries on a credit report?
Inquiries are what it’s called when a business or lender accesses and assesses your credit report. There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. Soft credit inquiries can be thought of as peeks at your report for a superficial glance to get an idea of the general state of your credit health. For instance, credit card companies use soft inquiries to determine whether to market pre-approved credit cards to consumers, and mortgage brokers use soft inquiries to get a quick pre-approval for a mortgage so buyers can start looking at properties. Checking your own credit is also a form of soft inquiry. Hard inquiries are deep dives into your credit profile that are meant to determine whether to actually loan you money, what the interest rate should be, and how to set the repayment terms.
How much do hard inquiries affect credit?
Hard credit inquiries can impact your credit score by as much as five to ten points. This means that for every hard inquiry, you can lose between five and ten points from your credit score. However, just as importantly, lenders don’t just look at your credit score, they look at the whole financial picture broadly. Even if you maintain good credit, three, four, five, or more hard inquiries within a short period of time can be a red flag to lenders who are conducting an overall evaluation. So, when deciding whether to authorize a hard inquiry or whether to dispute an unauthorized hard inquiry, keep in mind that every item on your credit profile ultimately does matter.