When we hear the term credit reporting agency, we think of Trans Union, Equifax and Experian, and the
reporting of our payment histories. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides consumers a number of rights when it comes to dealing with a credit reporting agency. We enjoy rights such as the right to obtain a copy of our credit report for free once every year, the right to a free credit report when we are denied a credit
opportunity, the right to privacy in the report so that nobody can access it without a legally enumerated purpose, and the right to have inaccurate information investigated and corrected.
However, credit reporting is not just limited to those three main bureaus, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian, and our credit histories. Background checks performed by potential employers are also reports that are covered under the FCRA. The FCRA covers all “consumer reports” and 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. Therefore, background checks for employment or tenant leasing are covered.
Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a bulletin to all nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies reminding them of their obligations under the FCRA. Richard Corday, the CFPB Director, stated in a press release, “Nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies can have great influence over a consumer’s tenancy, insurance premiums, or even employment. Today, the CFPB is reminding these companies that they must follow the law and provide consumers with easy access to their free annual report. If we have reason to believe that companies are not following the law, we will take
action.” The bulletin warns that these companies are responsible for streamlining the process of allowing consumers to obtain their reports, and cautions those that have not set up a process that complies to take immediate steps to do so.
The CFPB bulletin presents further clarity on how these companies will be treated when it comes to Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliance. These companies will be treated no differently than the 3 main credit bureaus, and will have to provide disclosures to consumers on a yearly basis.
SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005 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 review.