If there’s one thing any consumer looking to buy a car or get a new credit card knows, it's this: your credit report is everything.
But sometimes, the reports have mistakes.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today issued a stern warning about the duty of companies to investigate disputes involving potential mistakes, and threatened to bring enforcement actions against those that don't comply.
The agency in a bulletin and press release said that so-called furnishers—companies that provide information that goes into a consumer’s credit report—are responsible for investigating disputes forwarded by credit reporting companies (the three biggest are Equifax Information Services LLC, TransUnion LLC, and Experian Information Solutions.) Furnishers are also responsible for reviewing all relevant information provided with the disputes, including documents submitted by consumers.
“Credit reports play a critical role in the lives of consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a news release. “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 CFPB’s announcement comes two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission settled a case against Certegy Check Services Inc. for $3.5 million. Certegy compiles personal information to help retailers decide whether to accept a customer’s personal check. The company allegedly failed to assure that the information it provided to retailers was accurate, and also failed to follow proper dispute procedures.
It’s not clear how the CFPB and FTC are sharing enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires the consumer reporting agency to notify the furnisher when a consumer disputes the accuracy of an item. Spokesmen for both agencies were not able to provide immediate clarification.