CFPB Clarifies Complaint Duties for Credit Information Suppliers

CFPB Clarifies Complaint Duties for Credit Information Suppliers

09/06/2013 BY: TORY BARRINGER

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is putting on notice companies that furnish information to credit reporting firms, reminding them that they are responsible for investigating consumer disputes forwarded to them.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumer reporting agencies are required to notify their information suppliers when a consumer disputes the accuracy or completeness of their information; it is then the furnisher’s task to conduct an investigation and review all relevant information provided, including any documents submitted.

In a new bulletin, the bureau specifically lays out its expectations of how furnishers should comply with the FCRA’s requirements and what their obligations are.

According to the release, credit information suppliers are to maintain a system capable of receiving complaints and supporting documentation and must investigate the concerns. Following that, they are to report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting agency that sent the dispute and must modify, delete, or permanently block disputed information that is found to be incomplete or inaccurate (as well as any information that cannot be verified).

“Credit reports play a critical role in the lives of consumers,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray. “Given the importance of these reports, consumers need to know that their documents are being reviewed when they dispute what they believe is a mistake on a report. Today’s bulletin helps ensure that the right people will be doing just that.”

The agency also noted it is continuing its work on improving e-OSCAR, the electronic system used by Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian to send information regarding consumer disputes to furnishers. In a December 2012 report, the bureau observed that the e-OSCAR system does not provide a means for credit reporters to forward documents submitted by consumers—an issue now addressed in an upgrade.

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