A couple of days ago, I went to a Chrysler dealer here in Florida to look for a new car.
Being that my credit score is currently somewhat low (about 680), me and my wife thought that we could have her as a co-applicant, as her score is over 800. Among the reasons for her score is that I paid off her debts (what was left of her school loans, etc) some years back.
Also I have been the only one with an income in our household for last 15 years, so for most of our marriage any debts have been in my name. She has a credit card (opened in 1999) that she has not used for years and she is also a secondary card holder on an American Express card and a MasterCard that are both in my name (she has not used the cards as we try to keep them only for emergencies).
The information about her credit score comes from Chase Bank (who is the provider of the credit card she opened in 1999).
Anyway, back to the situation at the dealership. The salesperson walked to the finance department with our information, but eventually came back telling us that the finance department cannot see any information for my wife.
He asked if my wife has some kind of credit protection on her social security number and my wife said that she has not signed up for anything like that.
I asked the salesperson what credit reporting agency they are using and he said it's Equifax (also he said that the U.S. east coast uses Equifax, while Midwest and west coast uses something else).
We weren't really sure what to think about this so we told the salesperson we have to look into it and get back to him. On our way home my wife found a site that talks about a scam like this that car dealers supposedly use to push the car loan at a higher rate.
We faxed a request for information to Equifax but it can supposedly take 48 hours to receive a reply, so I wanted to ask about this here.
Is there a scam that goes something like this or is there some other cause for not being able to see someones credit details? What can a buyer do to mitigate this kind of situation?