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Consumer Reporting Agencies
A credit reporting agency is any business that collects information about consumers for the purpose of disseminating that information in connection with credit applications, employment, or other evaluations of the individual’s credit. The largest personal credit reporting agencies in the United States are Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. The FCRA requires that credit reporting agencies follow the following guidelines:
• Procedures – Put in place procedures to ensure the accuracy of information in a consumer report;
⁃ Note: If it does so, it may not be liable to consumers under state or federal law if it reports false information.
• Verify Information – Provide a consumer with notice of the information collected and seek to verify any disputed information;
• Dispute Negative Information – Provide a manner for disputing negative information on a credit report.
• Notification of Negative Information – If negative information is removed from the reporting agency’s file, give a consumer 5 days notice before reinserting that information;
• Removal of Negative Information – The reporting agency must remove any negative information from the report within seven years of the date of the reported delinquency;
⁃ Note: The time period is extended for bankruptcy filings (10 years) and tax liens (7 years from when paid).