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The Story of Kenneth Baker

Kenneth Baker had a single financial objective from the early part of 2005 until March 2006 – he wanted to move his family into a new home. The family home in Loudoun County, Virginia was too cramped for his wife, daughter, and wife’s children. In order to move, Kenneth needed approval for a mortgage. It shouldn’t have been too hard – after all, Kenneth had always paid his bills on time. Unfortunately for Kenneth, his credit history had become “mixed” with that of another “Kenneth Baker” – a Kenneth Baker who was not so diligent about paying his bills. This other man had racked up numerous delinquencies, charge-offs, collections and judgments against him. These black marks showed up on Kenneth’s credit report, making it impossible for him to get a mortgage. Kenneth made enormous efforts to fix these errors and get a mortgage. He sent multiple disputes to the credit bureaus. He hired lawyers to write dispute letters to the bureaus. His letters explained how the other man’s negative accounts had gotten mixed into his credit report, how he needed the problem fixed to get a mortgage, and even how the bureaus procedures had caused similar problems in other cases that resulted in successful lawsuits against the bureaus. Kenneth applied unsuccessfully every month to get a mortgage, sometimes applying more than once in a month. Every time he tried, Kenneth had to explain to a mortgage broker how some other man’s negative accounts had gotten mixed into his credit history. Every time he had to explain this, Kenneth Baker became embarrassed and anxious. The constant rejections humiliated Kenneth, and he soon became depressed. On March 24, 2006, Kenneth Baker committed suicide. In his last dispute letter to Experian, he wrote of how his battle to fix his credit report had “destroyed his life.” In his suicide note, Kenneth referred to his ordeal with the credit bureaus. In this case, inaccurate credit reporting literally cost a man his life.

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