Sep 4 2013
CFPB Puts Companies on Notice About Duty to Investigate Consumer Credit Report Disputes
Bulletin Highlights Expectations for Companies that Supply Information for Credit Reports
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) put on notice companies that supply information to consumer reporting companies. The CFPB released a bulletin stressing that, under the law, these companies, called furnishers, are responsible for investigating consumer disputes forwarded by the consumer reporting companies. Furnishers are also responsible for reviewing all relevant information provided with the disputes, including documents submitted by consumers.
“Credit reports play a critical role in the lives of consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Given the importance of these reports, consumers need to know that their documents are being reviewed when they dispute what they believe is a mistake on a report. Today’s bulletin helps ensure that the right people will be doing just that.”
Consumers may file a dispute with a consumer reporting company about an item on their credit report. If they do, the consumer reporting company ordinarily must inform the furnisher that the consumer has filed a dispute. The consumer reporting company is also required to forward all relevant information it has about the dispute to the furnisher. Once the furnisher receives the information, it must review it, conduct an investigation, and respond to the consumer reporting company.
An electronic system, known as “e-OSCAR,” is used by the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax Information Services LLC, TransUnion LLC, and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. nationwide – to send information relating to consumer disputes to furnishers. In a December 2012 report, the CFPB highlighted the fact that the “e-OSCAR” system did not provide a means for credit reporting companies to forward to furnishers any documents submitted by consumers.
Since then, the CFPB has been working to ensure that the dispute system was improved. The “e-OSCAR” system has been upgraded so that the three companies can now send furnishers any relevant dispute documents mailed in by consumers. The CFPB is continuing to work to see that the capacity of the system is expanded further in the near future.
Today’s bulletin details the Bureau’s expectations of how furnishers should comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, particularly with respect to investigations of consumer disputes they receive from consumer reporting companies. The bulletin specifically addresses furnishers’ obligation to review all relevant dispute information provided by the consumer reporting companies.
The CFPB expects each furnisher to fulfill its legal obligations by:
If the CFPB determines that a furnisher has engaged in any acts or practices that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act or other federal consumer financial laws, it will take appropriate supervisory and enforcement actions to address violations and seek all appropriate corrective measures, possibly including restitution to harmed consumers. The CFPB will continue to review furnishers’ compliance with these requirements.
The CFPB accepts consumer complaints about credit reporting. If a consumer is dissatisfied with the resolution of a dispute with a consumer reporting company or if the consumer reporting company does not respond, consumers can submit a complaint with the Bureau.
To submit a complaint, consumers can:
CFPB Bulletin 2013-09
Date: September 4, 2013
Subject: The FCRA’s requirement to investigate disputes and review “all relevant” information provided by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) about the dispute
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).
Thanks for the post RobertEG!
Your case apparently relates to a debt verification issue under the FDCPA, and not a dispute of credit reporting filed with a CRA under the FCRA.
Thus, its content does not appear to relate to the topic of their policy memo.
There is no requirment under the FDCPA for any response to a request for debt validation/verification.
Not knowing the facts of the case, and absent any details in the canned CFPB response, it is difficult to understand the real issue.
If the issue is their failure to have accepted the letter, that kinda perplexes me, as if they dont open and read it, they would have no way to tell whether it was a timely DV.
Thus, the DV could have unknowingly placed them under a cease collection bar.
Was it a timely DV, meaning it was sent either without prior dunning notice, or after 30-days from their dunning notice?
Did they know, based on earlier correspondence, that the period for timely DV had expired?