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The CFPB Offers Guidance to Companies that Furnish Information to Consumer Reporting Agencies

On September 11, 2013 by Schnader in Finance

By Edward J. Sholinsky

On September 4, 2013 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued Bulletin 2013-09, which addresses the obligation of “furnishers” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to investigate disputed information in a consumer’s credit report.

When, under FCRA, a consumer disputes adverse information on his or her credit report, the credit reporting agencies are supposed to forward any documents and information provided by the consumer concerning the dispute to the business that furnished the information.  According to the Bulletin, the Bureau “expects” furnishers to comply with FCRA by:  (1) having a “system reasonably capable of receiving” documents and information from the credit reporting agencies concerning disputes; (2) investigating disputes, which includes reviewing the information provided by the agencies as well as their own information; (3) reporting the outcome of investigations to the agencies; (4) correcting “inaccurate and incomplete” information reported by the agencies; and (5) “[m]odifying” and “deleting,” inaccurate and incomplete information, and “permanently blocking the reporting of the information” that is inaccurate, incomplete or unverified.  The Bulletin warns that furnishers not currently complying with these standards “should take immediate steps to comply with the requirements of the law.”

The Bulletin states that the Bureau will “evaluate compliance” with these requirements by all “furnishers subject to its supervisory and enforcement authorities.”  Notably, the Bulletin contains no description of the furnishers that the Bureau views as being “subject to its supervisory and enforcement authorities.”  This raises the possibility that the Bureau intends the Bulletin to apply not only to businesses generally understood to fall within the Bureau’s supervisory reach — such as large banks — but to any retailer or small business that reports information about a customer to a credit reporting agency.

Category: Finance
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