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CFPB Puts Companies on Notice about Duty to Investigate Consumer Credit Report Disputes
Thursday, September 5, 2013 6:55 AM

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has reportedly 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.”

The CFPB expects each furnisher to fulfill its legal obligations by:

  • Receiving information and investigating disputes: When a consumer files a dispute about a credit report item, companies need to be able to receive information about the dispute and must investigate the consumer’s concerns.
  • Providing investigation results: Furnishers must report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting company that sent the dispute originally.
  • Correcting inaccurate information: Furnishers are required to report the results of the investigation to nationwide consumer reporting companies if those companies may have received inaccurate or incomplete credit information. Furnishers also have to modify, delete, or permanently block disputed information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or cannot be verified.

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 bulletin is available on the CFPB’s website.