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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues warning to specialty reporting agencies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has repeatedly issued warning to specialty reporting agencies that are selling consumers information.  Back in November “the agency released a bulletin to nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies underscoring their obligation under the law to provide a streamlined process for consumers to request a free annual consumer report. After reviewing a number of agencies’ practices, today the CFPB is also issuing warning letters to those that may be violating the law by failing to provide consumers the required streamlined process for accessing their reports.”

“Nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies can have great influence over a consumer’s tenancy, insurance premiums, or even employment,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today, the CFPB is reminding these companies that they must follow the law and provide consumers with easy access to their free annual report. If we have reason to believe that companies are not following the law, we will take action.”

The article also explains the following, “Nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies primarily collect and provide specific types of information on a consumer’s history, such as check-writing, medical payments, tenancy, employment, or insurance claims. They are included in the larger industry category of consumer reporting agencies, which also includes credit reporting companies or credit bureaus. Credit reporting businesses generally assemble or evaluate a consumer’s credit and other information, then sell it to third parties. There are roughly 400 consumer reporting agencies in the U.S., with three companies dominating the market – Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc., and TransUnion LLC.”

Most importantly, “Consumers have a right to a free annual report (technically known as a “file disclosure”) not only from the largest three credit bureaus, but also from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. Because many creditors make financial decisions and set terms on the basis of information contained in these reports, accuracy is critical. Under federal law, consumers have a right to dispute the information in these reports and the underlying information consumer reporting agencies have about them. The consumer reporting agency must then investigate the dispute and correct any inaccuracies it discovers.”

A consumer can find out more about this important consumer right at:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/you-have-a-right-to-see-specialty-consumer-reports-too/

 

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