Consumer Financial Protection Bureau crack down on Credit Bureaus
Another break for consumers came this week when Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (formed as a result of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010) decided this past week to become actively involved in the review and oversight of Credit Reporting Bureaus. This is similar to the active oversight provided by other government agencies in the nation’s banking institutions. While the Credit Bureaus claim that they welcome the oversight and involvement, virtually unanimous consensus among experts in the field maintains that this will be a rude awakening for the Bureau’s. Just about everyone over the age of 18 has a credit history and related score maintained by the three largest Credit Bureau’s (Transunion, Equifax and Experian). By industry statistics, at least 1% (2 million reports) and possibly as many as 10% of the reports are wrong. Some consumers have even indicated that their report says they’re “deceased” which makes it virtually impossible for them to obtain credit.
With the increased scrutiny and oversight consumers now have a better chance of getting things corrected. But you have to take a proactive approach to make it happen. First, obtain a free copy of your credit history (go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com/) – you’re entitled to one free report each year from each Bureau. Review it for errors and then demand corrections wherever necessary. In general, the Bureaus are required to respond to within 30 days and to either make the correction, or provide proof of the information they’re reporting promptly. You can submit disputes online at the websites for each of the Bureau’s. If you don’t agree with their response, complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/get-help-now/consumer-questions-and-complaints/). Whatever you do, don’t give up. Be persistent and insist that the Credit Bureau’s give you written proof for any derogatory or inaccurate information.
By: Evan A. Nielsen, Esq.
Licensed in California