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A Credit Report Nightmare

A Rocklin family can't refinance their house because they've got bad credit. The only problem is that the bad credit isn't theirs.

They spent foud-years trying to fix this. The Roybals of Rocklin are in a credit squeeze that threatens to force them out of their home, even though they're sitting on more than a quarter-million dollars in equity! When you walk into the home of Danny and Vida Roybal, there's a lot of space. Too much space.

"We'd love to have drapes!" said Vida Roybal.

Some furniture would be nice, too. Any furniture, to fill up rooms in their empty house.

"This is a couch that's been given to us," said Roybal.

The Roybals didn't plan to live on hand-me-downs when they bought this big house in Rocklin in 2001.

"We love our home, and we're blessed to have our home," said Roybal.

Their plan was to refinance as interest rates continued to fall, and use some of their fast-growing equity to furnish and finish their new place. But, when they applied for a new mortgage in 2003, something had changed.

"Our lender told us, were we aware that we had a 21-page credit report?" said Roybal.

The Roybals weren't aware, but they quickly found out. Danny's report from Transunion and one from Equifax contained nearly a hundred derogatory entries. All from the files of Rickenbacker Collection Agency in Gilroy. The bad entries run over the span of about three years, all charges from City Tow and Body Shop in San Jose. But the Roybals say they've never been to San Jose.

"We've never had a car towed," said Roybal.

The couple finally took a trip to Gilroy to get things straightened out.

"They said that they would have it removed. They said that it was the fault of Transunion and Equifax," said Roybal.

Six-months later the Roybals tried again to refinance. All those records from Rickenbacker Collections were still there. Rickenbacker's CEO finally sent a letter to the credit bureaus telling them the collection agency had no negative records on the Roybals. But all the Roybals have gotten is loan denials.

"We're paying $2900 a month on a mortgage we could really be paying $1300 for. We have over $450,000 in equity in our home and we can't get a refinance," said Roybal.

After years of following the rules and still getting their credit denied, the Roybals say they were desperate. They sued the credit bureaus! At that point Vida Roybal says, they definitely got the credit bureaus' attention, but nothing changed on their credit rating.

Rickenbacker told the Roybals it appears a batch of data from a collection file not related to them somehow got dumped in the middle of their report. But when the Roybals sued the credit bureaus this became much more than a credit dispute-- they're suing for misrepresentation, breach of contract and defamation, among many other things.

"We thought that we needed to be compensated for the damage they've done. It has cost us money," said Roybal.

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