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Fair Credit Reporting Act – Not Just About Credit Bureaus

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2012 | Consumer Protection

When it comes to reviewing
your credit report, we are all aware of the big three credit
bureaus, Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. The Fair Credit
Reporting Act
charges these companies, and any companies
that furnish information to them, with certain responsibilities to
maintain maximum accuracy in reporting. But are those three the
only credit reporting agencies that have responsibilities under the
FCRA? Not at all.

requires maximum accuracy in the creation and sale of “consumer
reports,” and places responsibilities upon “consumer reporting
agencies” to investigate into claimed inaccuracies by consumers.
The FCRA defines a “consumer reporting agency” as “any person
which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit
basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of
assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other
information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer
reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of
interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing or furnishing
consumer reports.”

This definition tells us
that not just the three most well known credit bureaus are
responsible under the Act. Those same companies that give your
mortgage broker a report containing information from Trans Union,
Experian and Equifax, which are often referred to as “re-sellers”
of credit reports, are also consumer reporting agencies” under the
law. As a regular practice, and for a fee, they assemble consumer
credit information for the purpose of furnishing to third parties
(a mortgage lender), and they use means of interstate commerce for
the purpose of preparing or furnishing those reports. 

What exactly is a “consumer
report” under the FCRA? The term “consumer report” is defined as
any communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency
bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit
capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics,
or mode of living which is used or expected to be used for the
purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s
eligibility for credit, insurance or employment purposes. 

This definition is very
broad and encompasses much more than just whether we pay our bills
on time. By including terms such as “character, general reputation,
personal characteristics, or mode of living” Congress intended to
protect consumers from a wide array of information that may be
published about them not just your bill payment history. This can
encompass nearly any kind of background report. Therefore, if such
a report is made by a company that regularly sells such
information, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is implicated. These
companies must provide information with maximum possible accuracy,
and must respond to a consumer’s
and request for a re-investigation into the

SmithMarco, P.C., has over 30 years of combined experience
practicing law protecting the rights of consumers around the
country and handles Fair Credit
Reporting Act
cases. If information about you is inaccurately
being reported, or if you feel that you’re rights have been
violated, please contact us for a free case