|Received:||5/22/2006 4:57:22 PM|
|Subject:||Procedures to Enhance the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to Consumer Reporting Agencies|
|Title:||Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Parts 660 and 661|
Comments:B1: (circumstances under which a furnisher should be required to investigate a dispute) If the furnisher is the originating creditor, they should be required to investigate a dispute only once if they provide the consumer with a copy of adequate documentation to prove that the disputed information is being reported completely and accurately. If the furnisher is a third party such as a debt collector, they should be required to investigate not only the information in their own files but also the information of predecessors in interest to the alleged debt, including previous debt purchaser/debt collectors and the originating creditor. There is far too much false reporting of information, reporting of invalid claims that the furnisher cannot or will not investigate and validate, and abuse of the credit reporting system in order to use it to extort payment for grossly inflated or even utterly invalid claims. Furnishers should note that accounts are in dispute upon receipt of the consumer’s dispute, and should NOT update the disputed account until they provide the consumer with the required documentation to prove that they are reporting accurately. --------------------- --------------------- B2: (Benefits or costs to consumers) The benefit to consumers would be to ensure compliance with the existing regulations, whereas currently I have witnessed widespread noncompliance (mainly non-responses) to direct disputes with furnishers – particularly with debt collector furnishers who are reporting invalid information that they cannot possibly prove, and yet they refuse to correct or remove it. --------------------- --------------------- B5: (current practice of furnishers) In my experience, medical providers have been the only furnishers to conduct a reasonable investigation upon direct dispute. Creditors such as credit card issuers, and debt collectors, have been largely non-responsive to direct disputes. They seem pretty confident that there is little consumers can do to force them to comply, which is true because the FCRA doesn’t allow consumers to pursue legal remedies under 623(a). Being limited to actions only under 623(b) is severely hampering consumers’ ability to seek legal recourse in the face of willful reporting of inaccurate or absolutely false information. Due to the widespread noncompliance, particularly within segments of the industry with a vested interest in keeping consumers’ credit scores low (so they can charge higher interest rates, or use the damage to scores to extort payment from those who desperately need financing for a car and don’t have time to fight through the dispute and validation process with a collection agency, for example) then either enforcement by the FTC and other appropriate agencies needs to be strengthened, or consumers need to be allowed greater ability to pursue private actions.