Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its report on the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (NCRAs)—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three main credit bureaus in the United States. The CFPB is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to provide an annual report that summarizes the outcomes of consumer complaints lodged with the CFPB against these three credit reporting companies.
The report was based upon 488,000 consumer complaints that the CFPB received from October 2021 through September 2022, regarding Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It showed some improvement in the response by the credit bureaus relative to their performance the prior year. Specifically, the report cited:
- Most complaints are receiving more substantive replies.
- Complaint responses are more tailored to each consumer, providing better explanation and/or relief.
- Higher rates of relief to consumer complaints were also reported.
The CFPB, in order to assist Equifax, Experian and TransUnion in improving their customer service, is recommending to the credit bureaus that they:
- Consider the burden placed upon consumers when they implement automated processes, particularly if their digital systems impede consumers from exercising their legal rights especially with disputes.
- Recognize that consumers also have improving technology available to them, so the writing burden placed upon consumers should be lessened, and,
- Consider how to transition their business paradigm from one of control and surveillance to one of consumer participation, allowing for more consumer input to ameliorate data accuracy at the credit bureaus.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was written to protect consumers, not just with consumer lending, but also with consumer reports and credit reports. The CFPB is actively working to improve processes so that the consumer protection provisions of the FCRA are better realized.
Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening
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