• CFPB Puts Companies on Notice About Duty to Investigate Consumer Credit Report Disputes
  • September 25, 2013 | Author: Jeffrey T. Powell
  • Law Firm: Jones Walker LLP - Birmingham Office
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") requires a consumer reporting agency to notify companies who supply credit information to them, called furnishers, when a consumer disputes the accuracy or completeness of the information on a credit report. On September 4, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") issued Bulletin 2013-09 stressing that, under the FCRA, furnishers are then responsible for investigating consumer disputes in order to insure correct information is being reported.

    The CFPB expects each furnisher to comply with the FCRA by:

    • Maintaining a system reasonably capable of receiving information regarding disputes, including supporting documentation, received from a reporting agency;
    • Conducting an investigation of the disputed information, including reviewing all "relevant information" forwarded by the reporting agencies and the furnisher's own information regarding the dispute;
    • Reporting the results of the investigation to the reporting agency that sent the dispute;
    • If the information is inaccurate or incomplete, provide corrected information to every nationwide reporting agency that received the information; and
    • Modify or delete the disputed information, or permanently block the reporting of the information if the information is incomplete or inaccurate, or cannot be verified.

    Over the past year, the CFPB has been working with the "e-OSCAR" system, which is used by the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies to send information relating to consumer disputes to furnishers, to expand the functionality of the system and allow reporting agencies to also provide documentation to furnishers along with basic information. With this increased amount of information being sent to furnishers, the CFPB expects that furnishers will have policies and procedures in place to address the complete investigation of any credit report dispute.

    If the CFPB determines that a furnisher has violated the FCRA, the CFPB will take appropriate supervisory and enforcement actions and may seek all corrective measures, including restitution to harmed consumers. Any furnisher not currently maintaining a process that meets these requirements should take immediate steps to comply with the requirements of the law as clarified by the CFPB.