Man Surprised by Credit Inquiries He Did Not Request

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BROWNSVILLE – A Rio Grande Valley man was surprised when he received multiple letters from lenders. He’d just bought a car and didn’t understand how that purchase ended up with 38 credit inquiries.

Al Sanmann said he and his wife decided it was time for a change after growing tired of driving their large vehicle.

“We had a Dodge truck and we just decided that we wanted to downsize," he said. 

They visited two dealerships, one in Brownsville and the other in Harlingen. They drove out with a new car, but only after finding financing.

Days later, letters started arriving.

“I brought the car in May 24. This stuff started coming in June, all these copies of the denials,” he said.

Thirty-eight lenders notified them they couldn’t provide financing. 

“It is not accurate, actually,” said Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education for Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus.

Griffin said its standard practice among dealerships.

“For auto lending, credit scores recognize that practice so we'll count all of those inquiries as only one inquiry. Or with some of the newest credit scores, they don't count them at all,” said Griffin.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with Charlie Clark Nissan Operations Manager Angela Bonugli.

“They're looking at it as one occurrence. So, you went into one dealership to buy a car and you may have three inquiries from three different banks but any lender or bureau looks at that as one transaction," she stated. 

Sanmann admitted his credit score could improve. He knew that before he bought the vehicle.

He claimed he asked one of the dealerships to contact only two lenders. He goes on to explain that dealership’s inquiries approached eight.

Sanmann could not provide a copy of the form he claims he signed when making that request.

“I'm unaware of that request by the consumer. In the event that we have a specific request by the consumer we always try to honor that," said Bonugli. "If we were told that and we were unable to secure financing for him at that time with two lenders, if that had been the request, then we would have informed him of that. And then if he wanted to proceed in trying to get the auto loan, we would continue with additional auto lenders.”

Bonugli said a purchase like this, along with timely payments, will ultimately improve credit profiles for buyers like Sanmann whose credit is challenged.

Sanmann showed us his letters. Some of them had his credit scores at varying rates. Griffin said that could be due to the different formulas each bureau’s computers use to rate the credit score.

Griffin said understanding the way your credit is rated is not easy; the bottom-line is if you pay your bills on time, you’ll eventually achieve a good credit score.

When it comes to applying for credit, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Dolores Salinas with the Better Business Bureau explained what actions affect someone’s credit score.

“The thing that affect your credit score are inquiries, the number of accounts you have, the way that you pay your accounts. And the most important thing is to pay your accounts on time, and another thing to do is to pay more than minimum on any account that you have," she explained.

She advises you to check-in with credit bureaus, such as: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax – to ask how you can improve your credit report.

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