Consumer Bureau Weighs in on Credit Dispute Process

Consumer Bureau Weighs in on Credit Dispute Process

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warned furnishers of credit and credit bureaus that they must improve their methods of investigating consumer disputes. Specifically, the Bureau states that the credit bureaus must send documentation to the furnishers, which is something they never do. However, probably under pressure from the Bureau, the bureaus have said they would begin to send documents to furnishers as part of the dispute process.

Here is the text of the Consumer Bureau’s announcement:

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) generally requires a consumer reporting
agency (CRA) to notify a furnisher when a consumer disputes the accuracy or
completeness of an item of information provided by the furnisher to the CRA.1
The CRA must also promptly provide the furnisher “all relevant information”
regarding the dispute that the CRA timely received from the consumer.2 The
furnisher, in turn, must “conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed
information,” “review all relevant information” provided by the CRA, and
respond appropriately based on the result of the investigation.3 The CFPB
expects CRAs and furnishers to comply fully with these FCRA requirements,
thereby promoting the accuracy and completeness of information in the
consumer reporting system.

This bulletin specifically addresses furnishers’ obligations to “review all relevant
information” they receive in connection with disputes forwarded by CRAs.
The CFPB expects furnishers to have reasonable systems and technology in place
to receive and process notices of disputes and information regarding disputes,
including relevant documentation, forwarded to them by CRAs. The CFPB also
expects every furnisher to review and consider “all relevant information” relating
to the dispute, including documents that the CRA includes with the notice of
dispute or transmits during the investigation, and the furnisher’s own
information with respect to the dispute.
1
15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(2)(A).
2
15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(2)(A), (B).
3
15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b)(1).2

The CFPB will continue to evaluate compliance with the requirement to review
“all relevant information” by furnishers subject to its supervisory and
enforcement authorities. In general, with respect to disputes received by
furnishers from CRAs, the CFPB expects each furnisher to comply with the
FCRA by:
(1) Maintaining a system reasonably capable of receiving from CRAs
information regarding disputes, including supporting documentation;
(2) Conducting an investigation of the disputed information including
reviewing:
a. “all relevant information” forwarded by the CRA and;
b. the furnisher’s own information with respect to the dispute;
(3) Reporting the results of the investigation to the CRA that sent the dispute;
(4) Providing corrected information to every nationwide CRA that received the
information if the information is inaccurate or incomplete; and
(5) Modifying or deleting the disputed information, or permanently blocking
the reporting of the information if the information is incomplete or
inaccurate, or cannot be verified.

Any furnisher not currently maintaining a process that meets these requirements should take immediate steps to comply with the requirements.

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