Bank of America Declared Live Customer Dead for 3 Years?

PHOTO: Arthur Livingston, 39, a Bank of America customer says the company has been reporting him as deceased to all major credit agencies for years.
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Arthur Livingston, of Prosperity, S.C., may feel prosperous and alive, but his credit report says, "File not scored because subject is deceased."

That's because Livingston's bank, Bank of America, has been reporting him as deceased to the three major credit agencies since May 2009, he said.

Bank of America has still not resolved the issue, even after media attention, causing headaches for Livingston, 39, and his family in South Carolina.

A regional manager of a chemical company, Livingston, discovered the dilemma when he tried to obtain a loan from a mortgage company in October. The problem may have begun when Livingston, who said he has been a Bank of America customer for 14 years, sold his home in May 2009.

Five months since he discovered the problem, Bank of America still does not have a solution, and his mortgage company has not been able to obtain his credit score to give him a loan for his new home, which he said is the "major problem" with being "deceased." He also fears the inactivity on his credit will negatively affect his credit score.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America told ABC News on Thursday said the company is working with Livingston directly to "resolve this issue as quickly as possible."

Livingston said he regularly pays off his credit card bill in full, including $2,000 to $4,000 in travel expenses for work. But none of that, he fears, is being recorded on his credit record.

"[Bank of America] is well aware that the account is very active on a daily basis," he said.

That has been "frustrating" for Livingston and his family's plan for their new home, which was supposed to begin construction from mid-December. He was hoping the home would be half finished by now.

"It's been a complete waste of time," he said of the "inexcusable" mistake.

He, his wife, son and daughter, 8 and 5, respectively, have been living in a rental home while they wait. Construction of the home is estimated to take four to six months, weather pending. The Livingstons had hoped to move into their new home by April.

"Obviously, that's not going to be remotely possible," he said.

Livingston has done everything from talk to his local branch to emailing Bank of America's CEO Brian Moynihan two weeks ago, only to have company representatives tell him his issue has been bounced around or "escalated."

"I'm not trying to be overdramatic," he said. "I'm not legal-seeking. I've been patient for 90 days."

That's when he contacted the local television station, WISTV-10. When the news station aired a segment about him on Tuesday, a company representative said it would contact him directly. He heard from the bank on Thursday, when he said a representative said she wanted to "touch base" with him and that the right people were trying to resolve the issue.

"It's inexcusable. She's making it sound like now it can be a quick fix. It should have been a quick fix three and half months ago," he said. "I've really reached my limit."

Victor Searcy, director of fraud operations for IDentity Theft 911, said one possible reason for the mix-up is Livingston's name could be common, and Bank of America may have mixed up his account with another one associated with a deceased person.

"Regardless of the situation, it shouldn't take 100 days to investigate and clear," Searcy said. "He can obviously present identification and appear in person to provide 'proof of life.'"

Tom Quinn, credit scoring expert with Credit.com, said most credit scoring systems have logic that prevents a score from being generated when a credit report is requested if there is any indication of a deceased status.

Once a bank reports a customer deceased to the credit bureaus, until the code that indicates a deceased status is removed no credit score will be generated when that consumer's report is requested, he said.

"Just another good reason why consumers should periodically check their credit report for accuracy and follow the disputing-inaccurate-information process if they find this kind of inaccurate information on the file," he said.

Livingston, who has two checking accounts, a savings account, and two college savings tuition plans for his children, said he plans no longer to be a Bank of America customer after the issue is resolved. He is staying with the bank until then.

He fears worse treatment if he is no longer a customer, though, he said, "I don't know how they could give me any less attention."

While his friends first joked about the situation, they now sympathize.

"It's gone on so long, it's comical but not funny," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, his wife is "completely stressed out."

"It's a helpless feeling. It has taken a toll on both on us because we were hoping to start building a house," he said. "We knew we were going to move eventually before we started building. But once we started building, we had no idea that this was going to happen."

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