TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Verizon's 'Free Gift' to Customers: Giving Data to Credit Bureaus

Verizon's 'Free Gift' to Customers: Giving Data to Credit Bureaus

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 21 May 2006 20:27:27 -0400

By Bruce Mohl, Globe Staff | May 21, 2006

Verizon Communications Inc. has begun reporting to the nation's three
credit bureaus which Massachusetts customers pay their bills on time
and which ones don't, a practice a company spokesman described as 'a
free gift to the public.'

The telecommunications giant says its reports to Equifax, Experian,
and TransUnion will help consumers with limited credit histories build
a payment record that can be used to secure lower rates on mortgages,
credit cards, and car loans.

But there's a flip side to this 'free gift' from Verizon. Those who
don't make their phone payments on time will end up with a black mark
on their credit history. A Verizon spokesman acknowledged the idea of
sharing payment data originated with the company's bill collection
people as a way of spurring customers to pay on time.

"It's not a very big stick, but it's a stick," said spokesman
James Smith.

Consumers with unlisted phone numbers are also upset their numbers are
being shared with credit bureaus. A check of my credit reports showed
that TransUnion identifies Verizon customers by their complete phone
number. Reports from Experian and Equifax identify Verizon customers
by their phone numbers minus the last digit.

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