Consumer Reports error in July, 2013 issue

Email didn’t work.  Calling for his resignation didn’t work.  An overnight train trip to his office didn’t work.  And now, in this month’s edition, in an unsubstantiated screed by its president and CEO, Consumer Reports magazine misinforms consumers about credit scores again.

James Guest writes, “The score that lenders really use may factor into your chances of getting a car loan, a mortgage, or a job, and into what you’ll pay in interest, as a deposit for rent and utilities, and, in many states, for insurance.”

Five years on, as the truth implodes in statehouses, this strange chapter is more fascinating than ever.  Get the history, and read the story about Consumer Reports (and the governor of the State of New York) on the Credit Scoring Site.

New Young Broadcasting errors and corrections

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 11:12 AM
To: Deborah A. McDermott, president, New Young Broadcasting Holding Co., Inc. (via Nashville Bank and Trust); Deborah A. McDermott, president, New Young Broadcasting Holding Co., Inc. (via Leadership Nashville Foundation)
Cc: Angela Kennecke, news anchor, KELOLAND Television, New Young Broadcasting; Press office, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Corrections, KELOLAND News, KELO-TV, New Young Broadcasting
Subject: RE: The News at Ten and its corrections, .tv II

Please reply.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[previous message]

The News at Ten and its corrections

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 10:37 AM
To: Deborah A. McDermott, president, New Young Broadcasting Holding Co., Inc. (via Nashville Bank and Trust)
Cc: Angela Kennecke, news anchor, KELOLAND Television, New Young Broadcasting; Press office, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: The News at Ten and its corrections, .tv

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3843.

You broadcast, “Whether you’re applying for a mortgage or a job, your credit score determines how easy it will be for you to get it” and “You could even be turned down for a job if your credit score isn’t high because you may look irresponsible to a prospective employer.”

Employers do not use credit scoresPay no attention to that attorney general behind the website.

Did your interviewer ask the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director about employers allegedly using credit scores?

It’s complicated.

When do you air corrections?

Have you been to Tuvalu?


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[next message]

Who told you that?

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 2:34 PM
To: K. James Yager, CEO, director, Barrington Broadcasting Group, LLC
Cc: Walter D. Bristol, chairman, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union; Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports senior project editor, Consumers Union; Communications, Consumers Union; James A. Guest, president, CEO, consumer Reports, Consumers Union
Subject: Whistle-Stop, Consumers Union, Barrington Broadcasting, Who told you that?

With incredulity, you published: “Your credit score is obviously important if you’re borrowing money. But many employers also look at scores when hiring.”

At the bottom of that story is a link to the “Consumers Union website,” however, the Consumers Union page at the link address does not support your statement; it does not mention employers.

New Yorker Hotel

On a whistle-stop tour this month, I visited Consumer Reports.  The person with that organization I spoke to there wrote:

Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012 1:34 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: Follow up to your visit earlier today

Hello Greg,

After your visit, I conferred with Mandy Walker and our experts over at Consumers Union (the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports), and we’ve since updated Mandy’s quote in my blog to more accurately reflect the updated language now found at the website cited.

I just wanted to thank you for bringing this to my attention, and apologize for the communication disconnect that occurred on this end between Consumers Union and Consumer Reports, which meant the update was not made to the blog post sooner.

Again, thanks for your sharp eye and follow through,
[name]

(Despite that, still, another Consumers Union document states, inaccurately, “Without a Disaster Information Shield, FICO scoring models could pose an affirmative barrier to the efforts of disaster victims to regain, and maintain, financial stability, access reasonably priced credit, and even regain employment.”)

Your page even contains advertisements while misinforming readers by saying that employers use credit scores.

Who told you that?


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

Consumer Reports’ inaccurate information, whistle stop

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:55 AM
To: Walter D. Bristol, chairman, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union
Cc: James A. Guest, president, CEO, consumer Reports, Consumers Union; Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports senior project editor, Consumers Union; David Butler, communications director, Washington DC, Consumers Union; Michael McCauley, media director, Financial Privacy Now, media director, Stop Hospital Infections, Consumers Union; Michael McCauley, media director, Financial Privacy Now, media director, Stop Hospital Infections, Consumers Union (alt); Margaret Shader, Web associate editor, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union; Kara Kelber, media relations associate, Consumers Union; Heather C. McGhee, director, Washington Office, Demos, and board member, Consumer Reports; Financial Services Team, Consumers Union; Financial Services Team, Consumers Union (alt); Press office, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: RE: Follow up to your visit earlier today, Consumer Reports’ inaccurate information, Whistlestop

Walter D. Bristol, chairman
Consumer Reports, Consumers Union

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3629 and http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=consumer-reports.

You still make these claims:

  • “An automatic FICO disaster information shield would also prevent FICO scores from becoming a barrier to reemployment of displaced people looking for new work with employers who rely in part on credit scores.”
  • “Experian also sells its proprietary PLUS scores along with its credit reports. The company says your score helps ‘lenders, landlords, and employers quickly gauge your credit history and decide what kind of risk they are taking if they approve your application.’”
  • “’Your score is used by lenders, insurers, and even prospective employers, to judge how great of a credit risk you are,’ says Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports Senior Project Editor.”

Employers do not use credit scores.

What is your correction policy?


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

 

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:19 AM
To: Walter D. Bristol, chairman, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union
Subject: credit score, employers, Consumer Reports

Correct this, fire James A. Guest, then resign.

https://twitter.com/#!/creditscoring/status/162542622710312961


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

 

From: creditscoring.com [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: 2/16/2009
To: Gail Hillebrand, Consumers Union
Subject: credit score, employers

You said, “An automatic FICO disaster information shield would also prevent FICO scores from becoming a barrier to reemployment of displaced people looking for new work with employers who rely in part on credit scores.”

See http://www.creditscoring.com/influence/government/employercreditscorebelievers.html#consumersunion.

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

What is the name of an employer who uses credit scores?

 

credit score, employers, Advance Publications, insults

From: Yvonne Zipp
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 3:48 PM
To: <greg@creditscoring.com>
Subject: Re: credit score, employers, Advance Publications’ bad reporting

Greg,

Ignoring the insults, now that I understand your concern, I have put a clarification at the bottom of the piece stating that when an employer does a credit check, they have access to an individual’s credit report, not a credit score.

I hope this addresses your concern.

Best regards,
Yvonne Zipp

Sent from my iPhone


On Feb 17, 2012, at 2:13 PM, “Greg Fisher” <greg@creditscoring.com> wrote:

Oh.  I see.  So now, instead of credit score, it’s “credit history” and “credit checks,” eh?  I just went on your wild goose chase and read the articles that you provided.

That’s five minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

None of those pieces used the word score, and neither did your last email.  What are you referring to?  Are you even getting this, or was that just intellectual dishonesty?

Your source left you twisting in the wind.  Who has the authority to make a clarification to your credit score story?

SELF blew off Suze Orman’s regular ridiculous rant— her routine about credit scores.  Do you know something that the editor-in-chief of SELF does not?


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Yvonne Zipp
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 12:13 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Jeff Brown
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative, errors and corrections

Mr. Fisher:

Here are a few articles regarding how a bad credit history can affect a person’s ability to obtain a job. According to The New York Times, “about 60 percent of employers now do credit checks on job applicants — up from less than 20 percent in the mid-1990s.” 

In 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law limiting the practice in his state. Perhaps you are a resident of California? To my knowledge, such a law does not exist in Michigan.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7919922&page=1#.Tz6GTXLeySo

http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2011-04-07-credit-reports-in-hiring-decisions.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/opinion/30mon3.html

Thank you for your interest in my personal work history. In both cases, I was asked to check a box if it was all right for an employer to check my credit history.

Yvonne Zipp
Business Reporter
Kalamazoo Gazette
MLive.com
[telephone number]

 

[previous message]

credit score, employers, Advance Publications, Sent from my iPhone

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 11:45 AM
To: James Stephanak, publisher, Kalamazoo Gazette; Yvonne Zipp, business reporter, Kalamazoo Gazette; S. I. Newhouse Jr., chairman and CEO, Advance Publications, Inc.; Jeff Brown, executive director, Poverty Reduction Initiative
Cc: Donald Roberts, chairman, Poverty Reduction Initiative; Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief, SELF (Condé Nast, Advance Publications)
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative, errors and corrections

Mr. Stephanak, do you use credit scores in employment screening?

Ms. Zipp, who are your last two employers?  What do the forms say, specifically, about credit scores?

Mr. Newhouse, see “Suze Orman’s social experiment.”

Mr. Brown, there was a reference to me, but I said nothing in that article.  And, you are wrong about my question.  As you can see, Ms. Zipp is still snowed, believing what you said.  The question is (still): What evidence suggests that an increasing number of large employers (or any employer, at all) use credit scores?

You have not answered it.  Is your answer None?

Are you trying to say that you confused the terms score and report?  Indeed, they are quite different things.

This is not about credit scores as much as it is about the life of a piece of misinformation.  Please do your part.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Jeff Brown [mailto:director@haltpoverty.org]
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 9:44 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Yvonne Zipp, business reporter, Kalamazoo Gazette; James Stephanak, publisher, Kalamazoo Gazette
Subject: Re: credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative

Mr. Fisher,

Thanks for your thoughts and comments. Its important to distinguish between credit score and credit report and clearly these two have been confused and used interchangeable. As you said in the article quoted here… http://www.smartcredit.com/blog/2010/12/16/credit-scores-used-by-employers-the-myth-of-the-decade/

I guess the question would be…do credit reports get used to impact employer decisions on job applications?

Thanks for your insight.

Jeff


From: Zipp, Yvonne [mailto:YZIPP@mlive.com]
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 9:33 AM
To: <greg@creditscoring.com>
Subject: Re: credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative

Greg, 

Employers absolutely can ask for permission to review your credit score before making a hire.

In fact, I signed a form giving that permission for my last two jobs.

Best wishes,

Yvonne

Sent from my iPhone

 

[previous message] [next message]

credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 9:27 AM
To: Jeff Brown, executive director, Poverty Reduction Initiative
Cc: Yvonne Zipp, business reporter, Kalamazoo Gazette; James Stephanak, publisher, Kalamazoo Gazette
Subject: credit score, employers, Poverty Reduction Initiative

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3436, http://blog.creditscoring.com/?cat=73 and http://blog.creditscoring.com/?cat=13.

You said, “[SIC]Increasing number of large employers are using these scores — not only are you not going to have a good credit score, you’re not going to be able to get a job.”

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them; the consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.  What evidence suggests that an increasing number of large employers (or any employer, at all) use credit scores?

We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but we are creating a world of misinformation.  What will you do to stop it?


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

[next message]

Suze Orman’s schtick

The consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Suze Orman, “internationally acclaimed personal finance expert,” is on tour right now, and tonight, she has a spot on Real Time with Bill Maher [submit question].

Despite the fact that employers do not use credit scores (they cannot even get them), Orman keeps saying (and writing) that employers do use credit scares scores.  It must sell.

Tonight, will she use the same talking point, set the record straight, or neither?  Here are examples of the millionaire’s tour schtick.

Hosted by Allowed to bleat on unquestioned for almost four minutes by the media queen, herself, the expert bloviates, “Now, employers will not hire you unless you have a credit report and a good FICO score” (1:24). Orman gets a pass from the interviewer, Arianna Huffington.

In the article associated with the video, the Huffington Post, itself, says the same thing: “It can also affect their ability to rent an apartment and get a job, as many employers now check credit scores as part of the hiring process.”

Where are all the tough questions?  They just wind her up, and let her go.  Interviewed by an actual namesake–the publisher of ForbesWoman–an oddly agitated, seething Orman said, “And because they have a FICO score, a landlord will rent to them, an employer will hire them, their car insurance will be lower (especially if it’s a good FICO score)” (5:11).

She also said, “In my opinion, credit scoring is obsolete” (1:13) while her mug still sits on the FICO credit score website as she hawks credit scores.

Discussing her legacy (“I’m closer to 61, now, than I am 60.”), the prolific author proclaims to all the people, “I want to create a new scoring system.  I hope they call it the S.O. Score” (5:46).

Oh, brother.

And then (speaking of promoting oneself) there’s the SELF thing, itself.  It is easy to see why Orman would gush, “I love SELF Magazine.” The Condé Nast publication edited out the part about employers and scores.  But they left in the bit about “Suze Orman, the smartest woman about money in perhaps the world.”

Perhaps.

 

Suze Orman’s social experiment

This train wreck is almost unbearable to watch.

Suze Orman, “internationally acclaimed personal finance expert,” is hustling her thing called the Approved Card.  But she doesn’t seem to know what kind of card it is.

The fabulous expert showed up in fabulous Manhattan to talk to Lucy Danziger, the fabulous editor of SELF, the fabulous magazine from the fabulous Condé Nast.  Danziger, who describes Orman as “the smartest woman about money in perhaps the world” asked, “Is this a credit card?”

Looking annoyed, Orman replied, “No!  It’s a debit card!”

Moments later, holding up the card for effect, she said, “It is possible that in 18 to 24 months from right here, a debit card will be deemed to generate a FICO score.”

As the chatterboxes signed off, Danziger said, “And, good luck with your credit card!”

Wagging her finger, Orman yelled, “Debit card!” and gave the camera a stupid look.

Danziger yelled back, Oprah-style, “Debit card!”

Orman hollered, Oprah-style, “Actually–my prepaid card!”

The yelling stopped as they realized what a mess they were making, and Danziger said, soberly, “Good luck with your prepaid debit card.”

Orman replied, deadpan, “No, just prepaid card.”

Ugh.

The worst thing about the interview, however, beyond the credit/debit/prepaid knuckleheadedness (or the bad audio– it isn’t your computer), is that the smartest woman about money in perhaps the world repeated this, now preposterous, urban legend:

“Employers are starting not to hire you if you don’t have a good credit report and a good credit score.”

The consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Excellent journalist that she is, the editor just said, “Interesting,” swallowed it whole, and let the blowhard continue.

Su–ze — Or–man — just — won’t — shut — up — about it.

And, if you give her any guff, she’ll call you an idiot.

Bring it.

————————————————————————–

UPDATE 2/3/12

Here’s the new video, with the part about employers using credit scores (since they are not) edited out: