The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has begun to accept consumer complaints about credit reporting, marking the first time consumers will receive individual-level credit reporting complaint assistance at the federal level. The CFPB already handles complaints on credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, and consumer and private student loans. To file a credit reporting complaint, consumers may call 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) Toll Free or file online at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/.
“Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers. They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated in a press release from CFPB available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-now-taking-complaints-on-credit-reporting/. “Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged.”
According to the CFPB, the largest credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. The consequences of errors in a consumer report can shut consumers out of credit markets, jeopardize employment opportunities, and increasing the cost of housing. Consumers may file a complaint with the CFPB if they have issues with:
- Incorrect information on a credit report;
- A consumer reporting agency’s investigation;
- The improper use of a credit report;
- Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
- Problems with credit monitoring or identify protection services.
The CFPB suggests that consumers who believe their credit reports contain incorrect information or who have issues with an investigation should first file a dispute and get a response from the credit reporting companies before filing with the CFPB since there are important consumer rights guaranteed by the federal consumer financial law such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that may be best preserved by first going through the credit reporting company’s complaint process. However, if the consumer is dissatisfied with the resolution once the process is complete or if the credit reporting company does not respond, the consumer can file a complaint with the CFPB in the following ways:
- File online at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/Complaint;
- Call the Toll Free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372);
- Call the TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372);
- Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392; and
- Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.
As previously reported on the ESR News blog, the CFPB adopted a rule in July 2012 to begin supervising larger credit reporting companies – including the “Big Three” credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for the first time at the federal level. The CFPB’s rule ‘Defining Larger Participants of the Consumer Reporting Market,’ which took effect September 30, 2012, is available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_final-rule_defining-larger-participants-consumer-reporting.pdf.
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