That hit to your credit score can result in a denied loan or a higher interest rate.
Across Canada, provincial consumer agencies collectively get hundreds of complaints annually about credit bureaus.
Basically, it's a mathematical formula that translates the data in the credit report into a three-digit number that lenders use to make credit decisions. Statistics show that only two per cent of the borrowers in this category will default on a loan or go bankrupt in the next two years.
That means that anyone with this score is very likely to get that loan or mortgage they've applied for. Trans Union says someone with a credit score below 650 may have trouble receiving new credit.
If the file is changed, you will be sent a copy of your new report and any company that's requested your credit file in the previous two months will also be sent the corrected file.
If the item is not changed to your satisfaction, you have the right to add a brief statement to your credit file with your side of the story.
A simple check of your credit report will probably answer all those questions. You may be surprised by the amount of personal financial data in your credit report.
The credit reporting bureaus are, not surprisingly, very active in this area.
For Trans Union, the instructions to get a free credit report by mail are available here. To get your all-important credit score, you'll have to spend a bit more.
If you can't wait for a free report by mail, you can always get an instant credit report online. Both Equifax and Trans Union offer consumers real-time online access to their credit score (your credit report is also included).
There are two national credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada and Trans Union Canada. Complete details on how to order credit reports are available online.
Basically, you have to send in photocopies of two pieces of identification, along with some basic background information. The "free-report-by-mail" links are not prominently displayed — the credit bureaus are anxious to sell you instant access to your report and credit score online.