Studies have shown that tens of millions of Americans have mistakes on their credit report, affecting their ability to get loans, sign up for utilities, or even find a place to live, according to the Huffington Post.

A recently-released study by the Federal Trade Commission found that of these tens of millions of Americans affected, only about 12 percent actually dispute the items they feel are inaccurate, and those inaccuracies are never fixed. According to consumer advocate groups, credit bureaus simply “don’t try hard enough to correct mistakes.”

Debt collection agencies “buy old debts by the thousands” from credit card companies and other lenders, and often times the information associated with those accounts is either inaccurate or “just plain wrong.”

Federal regulators say that often these debt collection agencies are responsible for more disputes “than any other group that provides information that makes up credit reports,” HuffPo reported.

Advocates say that the blame doesn’t lie solely with the debt collection agencies, but also with the bureaus themselves. They often “uncritically” accept the information furnished to them and often “don’t conduct a reasonable investigation into disputes, even though federal law says they must.”

“The credit reporting dispute system is a travesty of justice,” said Chi Chi Wu, attorney at the National Consumer Law Center said in a Congressional testimony last year. “it is a perfunctory process that consists of nothing more than forwarding the consumer’s dispute to the furnisher, and parroting whatever the furnisher states in response.”

Given how more frequent cases of identity theft have become as consumers are doing more of their shopping online, people’s credit reports could have errors on them for months or even years before their noticed. It should not be as difficult as it is to repair something so important.