Jean Chatzky’s dilemma

Employers do not use credit scores.  Can’t even get ’em.

The second tab after “Home/Blog” on JeanChatzy.com is “Score Builder.”  The landing page says, “Better credit in 120 days, powered by Smart Credit.”

On Oprah.com as she explained the number that she thinks “is widely considered to be a measure of how responsble a human being you are,” Jean Chatzky said, “You may even have an easier time getting a job as many employers these days are checking out credit scores because they want to hire responsible employees.”

Then she plugs Credit.com and CreditKarma.

[Wonks: She also gives the score scale as 350-850, but let’s not quibble over that– boring.]

Meanwhile, over at NBC, (where it counts, apparently), Chatzky finally comes to terms with her misinformation.  In a segment for NBC’s Today, she said (finally):

It’s a really good question, and we did get a lot of response to that thought that employers are checking credit histories.  About 16% of them actually are.  What they’re not seeing is your credit score.  They’re seeing your credit report.

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Inexplicably, however, her blog post (“Posted by Jean”) about that appearance states, “On Today’s Money 911 we talked about what employers that check credit scores are looking for and gave tips for finding a job over 60.”

Previously, as Matt Lauer did the deed (as many do in their introductions to the topic) Chatzky remained silent. (2:09)

Poor Oprah (dot com).

Oprah was unavailable (but the train station never looked better).

So, what happens, now?

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]

Talk back to your screen

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:28 PM
To: Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation (via Adam Miller, EVP, Corporate Affairs, NBCUniversal, Comcast)
Cc: Allen Wastler, managing editor, CNBC.com; Daniel Bukszpan, staff writer, CNBC.com, Comcast; Daniel Bukszpan, staff writer, CNBC.com, Comcast (2); Jennifer Dauble, director, public relations, CNBC; Bernard T. Gugar, Harpo Productions; Steve J. Bernas, president/CEO, Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Inc.; MSNBC.com; MSNBC.com (2)
Subject: RE: US national average credit score, “States with the best credit scores” II

Do you mean to tell me that you actually believe that the national average credit score could have decreased by 22 points in 11 days?

No way.  Really?

Chicago Union Station, TO ALL TRAINS
Chicago Union Station, TO ALL TRAINS

On a recent whistle stop trip to New York (via Chicago), I was able to make a small dent in the misinformation about credit scores.  However, these things have a life of their own, and I am not sure that Oprah Winfrey got my message (sent directly to her lawyer, however!).  The inaccuracy on her website still exists.  She even published this: “That history is digested by a company called Fair Isaac and converted into your credit score, which ranges from 350 to 800.”

Ha, ha!

That’s not true, of course, and it’s an old story.  But, even the New York Times fell for Experian’s campaign, so don’t feel bad.  Like the Times (until enlightened), you’re just in a Funk.


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

[prevous message]

Contacting Oprah Winfrey, personal finance


The questions are all the same. Answers vary.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:11 AM
To: Oprah Winfrey, Harpo Productions (via Bernard Gugar)
Subject: credit score, employers, Oprah Winfrey

See this message and your reply at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?cat=293 and http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=oprah-winfrey.

Your website states:

Last year, 25 billion credit decisions were made based on FICO scores alone. These weren’t just decisions about whether you’d be approved for a new credit card but… Whether an employer will hire you… In other words, your score is a really powerful piece of information.

I visited your office earlier this month, but was unable to see anyone about that statement.

Despite unfortunate conflicting information, employers do not use credit scores.

What indicates that employers base hiring decisions on credit scores?


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

 

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

 

reply, Hearst, media accuracy, erroneous reporting

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:26 AM
To: J.T. O’Donnell, columnist, J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs; J. T. O’Donnell, founder & president, CAREEREALISM
Cc: George R. Hearst, Jr., chairman, Hearst Corporation (via Lisa Bagley); William Dean Singleton, chairman, MediaNews Group, Inc.; Dale Dauten, columnist, J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs; Mary E. Junck, chairman, president and CEO; chairman, Executive Committee, Lee Enterprises; Mary Junck, Associated Press; Dale Quinn, reporter, Arizona Daily Star, Lee Enterprises
Subject: Re: media accuracy, errors and corrections, Lee Enterprises, Hearst, AP, a real joke

You must be joking about Lee Enterprises.

Experian states: “Experian’s Employment Insight report includes similar information about loans and credit cards that is listed in the credit report. It does not include year of birth, spouse reference, account number or credit score, which are irrelevant to hiring decisions”

I hope that’s official enough for you.  Actually, a guy gave a testimony.  He swore it, under oath even!

Finally, there is no longer anything on Equifax’s website about employers using credit scores.

So, that begs the question: Who is your source?  And, if nobody said it in the first place, then what are you “validate/research” -ing?

On the other hand, Experian says, “Creditors, landlords, and even some employers consider a person’s credit score before deciding whether they will approve a loan, lease an apartment, or hire an applicant.”

Why don’t you tell that story?


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

 


From: [email address] On Behalf Of J.T. O’Donnell
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 6:00 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: Re: media accuracy, errors and corrections, Lee Enterprises, Hearst, AP

Greg,

Just sent you a tweet but figured I’d email you too.

I hope you can understand that because you are the one emailing, we need to validate/research what you are saying.

I’ll circle back with you when I learn more.

Thanks for your patience,

JT

[previous email]

 

media accuracy, errors and corrections, Lee Enterprises, Hearst, AP

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:26 AM
To: Mary E. Junck, chairman, president and CEO; chairman, Executive Committee, Lee Enterprises; Mary Junck, Associated Press
Cc: George R. Hearst, Jr., chairman, Hearst Corporation (via Lisa Bagley); William Dean Singleton, chairman, MediaNews Group, Inc.; Dale Dauten, columnist, J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs; J.T. O’Donnell, columnist, J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs
Subject: media accuracy, errors and corrections, Lee Enterprises, Hearst, AP

You published

J.T.: Some companies use credit scores as one measure of how responsible a person is. And with so many people looking for work, they may feel it’s easier to hire someone with a good credit score.

DALE: Which is why you were right to bring it up in the interview. And you should rehearse a brief statement talking about all you’re doing to repair your credit scores, playing up the ‘lesson learned’ theme.

Employers do not use credit scores, and you continue to display advertisements on that page.

Will you make a correction?

Also, an AP (Associated Press) report states, “Not having a credit score, or having a low one, also can mean higher car insurance rates, higher rent, difficulty getting a job and paying higher interest rates for any credit available.”

What are you doing about that?


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

[response]

Experian claims employers consider credit scores for hiring

A long time ago, Experian, itself, stated, “Experian’s business policy prevents the inclusion of credit scores with an employment report, at Experian called Employment Insight.”

Today, however, Experian states, “Creditors, landlords, and even some employers consider a person’s credit score before deciding whether they will approve a loan, lease an apartment, or hire an applicant.”

That quotation is from ProtectMyID, a “part of Experian.”

In the United Kingdom, for that kind of monkey business, you are rewarded with knighthood.

And, with that, we have a new countdown.

 

Et tu, Suze?

Credit score expert (there are few) John Ulzheimer is a Nonbeliever.

Recently, while schlepping her new prepaid card, Emmy award winner and “internationally acclaimed personal finance expert” Suze Orman has been saying, inaccurately, that employers use credit scores.  However, employers do not use credit scores; they cannot even get them.  One media organization who allowed her to make the statment even edited it out.

Yesterday, Ulzheimer wrote, “My request [to Orman] was very simple: can you please stop saying that employers use credit scores?”

The inaccurate information may never end.