John Oliver's journey to the credit report hellscape: Shady companies have more control over your financial future than you realize

"You might be surprised at just how many aspects of your life your credit report can affect," Oliver said

Published April 11, 2016 2:39PM (EDT)

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver returned Sunday to discuss "the basis for the single most important three-digit number in your whole life": credit reports.

"You might be surprised at just how many aspects of your life your credit report can affect," Oliver said. "It's not just banks deciding whether to lend you money. It's also landlords deciding whether to rent you an apartment, insurers setting your rates, and even employers using it to decide whether or not to hire you."

Oliver explained that 52% of all debt reflected in credit reports, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is the result of medical expenses, and, furthermore, that no statistical correlation has been made between credit score and job performance — something TransUnion Director of State Government Relations, Eric Rosenberg, readily admitted (at the 1:36:43 mark) during a 2010 meeting with the Oregon State Legislature's Interim Committee on Commerce and Workforce development.

And, worse yet, "when we crunched the numbers, we discovered that the three big credit bureaus [Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion] have been the subject of the most complaints to the CFPB since the start of last year," especially due to the concerning frequency of misidentification cases that, unless you were to actively seek your rating, you might never know about.

To give the credit bureaus a taste of their own medicine, Oliver et al started three "terrible" shell companies "with names that are problematically similar to" the big three bureaus: Equifacks, Experianne, and TramsOnion.

Watch the full segment below:

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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