CRAs Must Comply with FCRA and CARES Act During Coronavirus Pandemic

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 28, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in reminding the nation’s three largest Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) that they will continue to enforce the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a press release from the New York Attorney General.

In a letter sent to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, Attorney General James and the coalition outlined their commitment to enforcing the consumer credit protections that are included in the FCRA and CARES Act. The letter also emphasized that the coalition would continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and would hold the CRAs accountable for failure to meet their obligations.

“This is about protecting consumers’ wallets in the future and ensuring the economic fallout of the coronavirus will not impede efforts to go on living the way we were before this pandemic began,” Attorney General James stated. “In this period of economic turmoil, these consumer protections are more important than ever, which is why our coalition is committed to protecting consumers and enforcing all federal and state requirements.”

In March of 2020, the United States Congress enacted the CARES Act to extend relief to struggling consumers and amend the FCRA to enable consumers to obtain CARES Act relief without incurring lasting harm to their credit scores. To prevent such harm, the CARES Act requires furnishers to report a credit obligation as “current” if the obligation was current prior to the grant of a CARES Act accommodation.

The letter was sent in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issuing guidance suggesting the CFPB would not enforce certain requirements of the FCRA during the COVID-19 crisis. Attorney General James and the coalition warned the three CRAs that each state would enforce the FCRA, which also requires CRAs to conduct meaningful and timely investigations of consumer disputes of credit information.

Joining Attorney General James in co-leading the letter to the CRAs was Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. James and Shapiro were joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

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