CFPB Finds Credit Report Errors Still a Problem

What can I do about errors in my credit report?

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recently released a study that revealed credit report errors continue to be a serious problem for consumers. The overarching issue is that these errors can adversely affect a consumer’s ability to qualify for credit, especially a mortgage loan. In some cases, inaccurate credit report information can also impede an individual’s job prospects.

“Credit reports are the foundation of consumers’ financial lives” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Consumers continue to express their frustration about inaccurate information on their credit reports and difficulty in getting these errors fixed.”

In particular, the CFPB noted that since 2012 the Bureau fielded over 140,000 credit reporting complaints. Of these, more than 75 percent concerned incorrect information appearing on consumer credit reports such as paid debts being reported as unpaid and debts that consumers do not recognize.

According to the three leading credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which collect information about a consumer’s credit history, most of the errors were related to home and auto-related lenders.

At the same time, problems were also found with reports provided by specialty consumer reporting companies. These outfits provide reports for background and employment checks, and information about different types of consumer transactions such as checking accounts, rental payments, utility payments and even criminal history and arrest records.

Not only has the CFPB received numerous complaints about inaccurate information in credit reports, the federal agency also found consumers frequently experience difficulty disputing and correcting inaccuracies. Consumers often face long delays speaking with reps at companies that reported the information or have been treated poorly by these agents.

“We will continue to work to ensure that credit report disputes are investigated, errors are fixed, and consumers are treated fairly,” said Cordray

Consumers Have Rights

While the CFPB is focusing on this matter, consumers have rights under a federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires credit reporting agencies to implement procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy to reach a fair and accurate credit report. In addition, FCRA requires the national credit bureaus to provide consumers with a free annual credit report upon request. As the CFPB’s recent study noted, however, consumers have experienced difficulties disputing and correcting report errors.

The FCRA also empowers consumers with the ability to file a lawsuit if the inaccurate negative information is not corrected. Consumers may be able to obtain compensatory damages for their financial harm and emotional suffering, attorneys fees, and depending on the circumstances punitive damages. If you are experiencing problems having inaccurate negative information removed from your credit report you should not only file a complaint with the CFPB, but also consult with an experienced consumer law attorney.