CIBIL (Credit Bureau) – Trick Or Treat?

Credit Score is critical to the loan approval process these days, it maybe any kind of a loan – mortgage/ auto/ personal/ any.

CH Main

When you apply for a loan, the financial organization/ institution (I shall refer as FinOrg further in this post), where you’ve applied for a loan, will obviously check your ‘Credit Scores’. In India, its CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau India Limited) and the credit score of an individual that it gives back to financial institutions is called ‘CIBIL TransUnion Score’. Well, I’m just mentioning these terminologies because it shouldn’t sound like French or German to you if you are not aware of Indian system/ process 😀

 

The FinOrg comes back to you saying that they cannot approve your loan application because your CIBIL score/ history is not good enough. Well, that will be a little disgusting to you. You’ll tend to apply for a loan with another FinOrg, and depending upon their criteria, your application may get approved, but with a higher interest rate and maybe with a lesser tenure than what you actually need, which means you got to pay more EMI every month than what you expected.

Well, before you apply for a loan with another FinOrg, don’t you wanna check with the Credit Score provider on your credit report? Actually, you should. You have a provision by CIBIL to check our own credit report with latest credit score from time to time, with a minimal fee. I would say, we should check our credit history at least once in every year.

OK, you get our credit report from CIBIL. What’s next? You walk through the report, see all credit card/ loan accounts, look for their status – closed/ settled/ defaulted/ legal suit filed against you etc. Typically few things cannot be changed, like if you have really haven’t paid the due amount for long time, the respective FinOrg will file a suit against you and report the same to CIBIL, which will reflect in your report and is available to all other FinOrgs.

CH Cards

 

There are few things that you can have them changed/ altered, maybe not by CIBIL itself but the respective FinOrgs where you find any discrepancies – like you have had a credit card with FinOrg ‘A’ about 5 years ago and you have properly closed it or settled that account, the status of it should be ‘CLOSED’ or ‘SETTLED’; and even the ‘CLOSED DATE’ should have been populated. If you don’t see a ‘CLOSED DATE’ populated wherever it should have been, you can ask that particular FinOrg to update your CIBIL report accordingly and that FinOrg should be updating your CIBIL report accordingly. If you don’t do it, when you apply for any loan/ credit card and when they see so many ‘Zero Balance’ accounts on your report (which are not considered to be closed), then the FinOrg may decline your loan application. So, be very keen to have a look at your credit reports periodically, else you may have to face problem(s) in near or far future.

 

Since I started talking about it, I should tell you my experience which was much worse than what I’ve written about so far. I so happened to apply for an auto loan with one of the best FinOrgs in India. I needed it to be approved ASAP. Per the process, that FinOrg consulted CIBIL to get my credit report/ score to further make a decision on my loan application.

CIBIL – Lethargic Services!

I’ve waited for a week, there wasn’t any response from them regarding my application. I decided to follow up with them on the status of my application. When I contacted them, I was called to visit their branch. I’ve been to their branch and met the concerned person who deals with the loan process. The first thing he’d let me do was to go through my credit report that he received from CIBIL. You know what; I was literally shocked after reviewing it!!

Reason being, my credit report stated that I’ve taken a credit card from an XYZ bank around 9 years ago, and that I’ve used it and haven’t paid the due amount for 3 years at all. The report also stated that XYZ Bank had filed a legal suit against me for that account.

CH Bad Good

In fact, I never had any kind of relationship with that XYZ bank yet, not even a SB account. I kept wondering what could that be about. The FinOrg where I’ve applied for a loan denied my application due to that reason. They also told me that if it was ‘WRITTEN-OFF’ status with no ‘SUIT FILED’ note, they would have considered my case. But since it shows that a legal suit was filed against me, they had to reject my loan application.

 

Alright! What’s next? I tried to contact the XYZ bank asking for clarification on the dispute in my credit report, to know why they had to report something that wasn’t true. It was a month ago that I did it, but they said they started investigating the issue and get back to me within 60 working days (WTH!!)

Subsequently, I’ve also raised a dispute with CIBIL itself stating that I never had any relationship with XYZ bank and questioning them how could it be even possible that my report shows something which is not correct at all. CIBIL, again, responded back stating that the dispute resolution period is about 30 working days and they have started investigating my dispute. It’s been a month; I’ve got two emails from CIBIL meanwhile to let me know the status of the dispute’s investigation. I was happy to know that at least it is moving forward 😛

CH Error

 

One fine day, I’ve received a response from CIBIL stating the final resolution. Know what, I was again outrageous after going through what CIBIL notified me about!! I know, I know; you must be curious to know what happened 😛 Well, I’m sharing the communication between CIBIL & I, just the initial and final ones (of course with masked account numbers, email addresses and such key info.)

 

From:  Me

To: CIBIL

Date: Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Subject: False/ Misleading Information In CIBIL: CN 123456789

Hello,

I was checking my CIBIL report and found that the information it contains is incorrect/ false/ irrelevant.

Dispute in CIBIL Report:

Control Number: 123456789

MEMBERNAME: XYZ Bank

ACCOUNT NUMBER: 0000001234567890

ACCOUNT TYPE: CREDIT CARD

WRITTEN-OFF STATUS: WRITTEN-OFF, SUIT FILED

CURRENT BALANCE: << INR X >>

AMOUNT OVERDUE: << INR Y >>

My concern is I never took/ had any Credit Card account or Loan account with XYZ Bank in the past, not even a bank account till now – but the report is showing that I’ve had credit card with them.

You may check with the bank itself, it may be some misleading information from the bank. Or you may check my bank statement; there was no account on my name with XYZ Bank ever.  I neither received any card or loan or even the statements for that card account.

Please investigate this issue and delete this information from my CIBIL, this is seriously impacting my credit history.

Thanking you in anticipation

 

From: CIBIL

To: Me

Date: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Subject: Service Request Number << SR# >>

Dear Sir,

We refer to your communication disputing certain information in your CIBIL Report.

We had done an in-depth analysis of the dispute raised by you and it was observed that the information pertaining to another individual’s credit report was inadvertently mixed with your report.  We have immediately taken corrective action to separate the information.

We would like to inform that the following details you have disputed are updated in your CIBIL Report.

The following account is removed and will not appear in your report going forward.

Member Name    Account Number

XYZ Bank      XXXX7890

Kindly quote the above mentioned Service Request Number in your future communication with us.

We regret the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

Thanking you and assuring you of our best services always.

Best Regards,

Consumer Relations.

It is not expected that an organization that hold ultimate responsibilities towards every individual and their credit history, make such blunders which will have a high impact on an individual?? My loan applications were denied due to this mistake from CIBIL, and who should I stand responsible for that? Whom should I be claiming responsible for all these unwanted, lame and lethargic services/ happenings? CIBIL, obviously!! I have no comments here, as I myself am bewildered with all these.

I had to apply for a loan with another FinOrg, which fortunately offered me a loan, but with a higher interest rate and lesser tenure than what I needed. Who would have even imagined about a mistake from such institutions, which manages ‘our’ credit history!!

CH CheckI should tell you, these are the ‘Lessons’ that I’ve learnt from this experience:

  1. I should check my CIBIL report at least once in a year, which will give me a ‘Control Number’ for each credit report I order for, using which I can always raise a dispute.
  2. When there is a dispute, raise my dispute both with the respective FinOrg(s) AND with CIBIL as well, who knows where the issue lies with.
  3. Become Debt Free, as soon as I can 🙂

Oh BTW, I do have proofs that supports this post, in case if required 😀 Any thoughts/ experiences? Please share them in the ‘comments’ section!!

PS: All the pictures used in this post are randomly taken over Web, I do not own them.

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