CFPB Announces Settlement with Debt Collector for Alleged FCRA Violations

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On November 12, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a settlement with a non-bank Illinois-based debt collector that specializes in collecting debt on behalf of telecommunications companies and furnishes information to Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to address alleged violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), according to a press release from the CFPB.

The CFPB claimed that Afni, Inc. furnished information to CRAs that it knew or had reasonable cause to believe was inaccurate, failed to report to CRAs an appropriate date of first delinquency on some accounts, failed to conduct reasonable investigations of disputes made by consumers to them and to CRAs about furnished information, and failed to conduct investigations of disputes in a timely manner.

The CFPB also claimed Anfi failed to send required notices to consumers about the results of investigations and failed to establish, implement, and update its policies and procedures regarding its furnishing of consumer information to CRAs. Afni’s conduct violated the FCRA and its implementing rule, Regulation V and, by engaging in these violations of the FCRA and Regulation V, Afni violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).

The consent order from the CFPB requires Anfi to take certain steps to prevent future violations and imposes a $500,000 civil money penalty. Under the terms of the consent order, the debt collector must take certain steps to improve and ensure the accuracy of its furnishing of consumer information to CRAs and its policies and procedures relating to credit reporting and dispute investigation.

The consent order also requires Afni to conduct monthly reviews of account information, conduct monthly reviews of consumer disputes and responses, and retain an independent consultant to conduct a review relating to furnishing information and credit reporting to ensure that its current policies, practices, and procedures regarding furnishing of consumer information to CRAs comply with the FCRA and Regulation V.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers two white papers titled “Common Ways Consumer Reporting Agencies are Sued Under the FCRA” and “Common Ways Prospective or Current Employees Sue Employers Under the FCRA” to help employers comply with the FCRA. ESR was also named the #1 screening firm by HRO Today. For more information, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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