Everyone has—or everyone knows someone who has—a credit-related horror story. Whether you once got mistaken for someone else, discovered that you had debt you already paid off, or found out you were apparently dead, credit horror stories tend to have one thing in common: a maddening, correspondence-heavy struggle to get these errors fixed. Credit reports affect our ability to qualify for loans, rent apartments, and even get jobs—but as John Oliver pointed out on Last Week Tonight, 25 percent of consumers have an error on one of their credit reports.
On Sunday, Oliver brought forward a parade of people with terrifying tales about their erroneous credit reports and background checks. As he sifted through news reports from the last couple decades, it quickly became clear that this problem isn’t new, and it isn’t getting solved.
“If only we could make this whole industry understand the jeopardy they’re placing people in,” Oliver said. “Do you know what? Maybe we can.”