CFPB: Credit-Reporting Firms Often Ignore Consumers’ Evidence In Report Disputes

If you’re included in the one in five consumers who obtain an annual credit report, perhaps you’ve noticed an error in your report and have tried to get that fixed. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that could be an exercise in futility, as the three major credit-reporting firms might not be paying attention to any information you submit to make your case.

The CFPB says in its report (via MarketWatch) that Equifax, TransUnion and Experian might not be giving consumer info a fair shake when disputing their credit reports. Federal law says credit-reporting firms must send any bank, collection agency or credit-card company “all relevant information” involved in disputes, including anything submitted by the consumer.

Instead, says the CFPB, the industry uses a special computerized coding system to describe the consumer’s complaint and the big three companies “generally do not forward documentation that consumers submit with mailed disputes or provide a mechanism for consumers to forward supporting documents when filing disputes online or via phone.”

Translation: Whatever evidence you’re handing over to make your case is probably getting ignored. So even if you’ve got proof that a debt has been paid, the credit bureau might not tell your credit card company or the debt collectors calling you every two hours.

Of course, the credit-reporting industry insists they’re not ignoring anything.

“The lenders are getting all the information they need to resolve the dispute in a timely manner,” said a spokesman for the Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents credit-reporting firms.

He added that a study last year found 95% of consumers were satisfied with the process of resolving disputes. That study was funded by the credit-reporting industry.

Why credit bureaus fail to fix errors [MarketWatch]