Federal Agency to Oversee Credit Reporting Agencies
In July of 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) became the first federal agency to oversee credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. The CFPB receives complaints directly from consumers relating to credit reporting, mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, consumer loans, and money transfers. In July 2013, the CFPB released a report which provides a snapshot of the complaint process and a analysis of the complaints they received. The report states that between the July 21, 2011 through June 20, 2013; 14,200 credit reporting complaints where received by consumers in the marketplace.
Consumers’ credit reporting complaints included:
- incorrect information on credit reports;
- the credit reporting companies’ investigation process;
- the inability to obtain a score;
- the improper use of credit reports; and
- credit monitoring or identity protection.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of complaints received where due to incorrect information on credit reports. Eleven percent (11%) of complaints received addressed issues with credit reporting companies’ investigation process of information which consumers disputed. These findings raise concerns about the accuracy of credit reports and the credit reporting agencies complaint process. Inaccurate information on a consumers credit report can cost the consumer money, increase the interest paid on a loan, prevention of getting a mortgage or buying a car, or even landing a job. This report, coupled with the recent governmental study released by the Federal Trade Commission affirms that inaccurate information on credit reports can be a real burden for consumers to deal with. And, these burdens are not rare. The study found that over 40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit repots.
Knowing and understanding your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is critical if you have exhausted the dispute and investigation process of the credit reporting agencies. If you have inaccurate information on your credit report or have experienced difficulties with the dispute and investigation process of the credit reporting agencies, or even a furnisher, consider seeking legal counsel.