Mixed Files and Merged Files: Common Credit Report Problems

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If you find someone else's accounts or personal information on your credit report, Sherman & Ticchio can help. The same is true if you find that most or all of your credit history is missing from your credit report (or if you cannot obtain a copy of your credit report).

Mixed credit files and merged credit files are closely related problems in which a credit bureau (or CRA) -- Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion -- places personal or account information in the wrong consumer credit file.  Often both mixed credit files and merged credit files are simply known as “mixed files.”  There are, however, differences between mixed files and merged files.

Mixed Files 

A mixed file occurs when a credit bureau mixes information belonging in the credit file of one consumer with information in the credit files of one or more other consumers. With a typical mixed file, a credit bureau generally maintains separate credit files for consumers but, usually due to faulty procedures, inserts account or personal information into the wrong credit file.  For example, Experian might report an American Express account that belongs to consumer A as belonging to consumer B.  TransUnion might report a series of addresses for consumer C in the credit file of consumer D.  Equifax might report the name or Social Security number of consumer E in the credit file of consumer F. Each of the foregoing examples is a variety of a mixed credit file. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines a “mixed file” as an instance in which there has been “[i]nclusion of accounts or records in a [consumer's] credit file that do not belong to [that] consumer.”

Merged Files

A merged credit file occurs when a CRA totally combines the credit files of two or more different consumers into a single credit file so that (a) one consumer has a trove of personal and account information in his or her credit file (and on his or her credit reports) that does not and never did belong to that consumer, and (b) another consumer's entire credit history essentially disappears because a credit bureau has placed all (or nearly all) information that should be in the consumer's credit file into the file of another consumer.  A merged file, in other words, happens when Equifax, Experian, Innovis, or TransUnion places information that belongs to two (or more) separate individuals into the credit file of just one of those individuals. As such there is a merged file, the credit file of one or other individuals can be totally or nearly merged out of existence.  

Mixed and Merged Credit Files are a well-recognized issue at all major credit bureaus

Generally, because credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- in violation of § 1681e(b) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) -- fail to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of information that these CRAs report about consumers, mixed and merged credit files have been a well-recognized and frequently prosecuted problem for decades. Recently, the New York Attorney General filed charges and settled claims with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion concerning, among other issues, the prevalence of mixed files. The settlement agreement between the New York Attorney General and Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, dated March 8, 2015, is linked here.

If you are the victim of a mixed or merged credit file, you may be entitled to compensation.

Sherman & Ticchio Is Here for You

At Sherman & Ticchio, we focus on your individual needs to help you correct errors on your credit reports or background check reports. We are here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

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Sherman & Ticchio is committed to helping you address your credit reporting and background check reporting issues in New York.

We offer a free consultation and we’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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