|Received:||5/22/2006 6:18:24 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|
Regarding A2, Furnishers of information can currently extort consumers by furnishing negative information and responding to initial direct disputes with ONLY the results of their investigation, which can be extremely minimal. There are no guidelines as to what constitutes acceptable minimal 'results'. Subsequent disputes can be dismissed as 'substantially similar'. The consumer has no choice but to sue to obtain more detailed information.
Regarding A3, a furnisher may do this in order to force the consumer to pay an alleged debt or to go to the expense of bringing suit. By allowing the furnisher to stonewall requests for proof of debt the consumer has no choice but to spent money to sue, or submit to having negative information on his credit report (whether he pays the alleged debt or not).
Regarding A4, upon the consumers request, unlimited by time or circumstance, a furnisher should be required to provide to the consumer solid proof of the consumers obligation to pay the claimed debt, regardless of whether the debt is listed as paid or unpaid. If within 30 days of the consumers request the furnisher cannot provide legal proof that the consumer is or was legally obligated to pay the debt, the furnisher must be required to delete the furnished information.
Regarding A7, furnishers should be required to obtain proof of the consumers obligation to pay a debt prior to furnishing negative information to a consumer reporting agency.
Regarding A9, Furnishers should be required to provide proof of contractual obligation of the consumer to satisify the claimed debt, for example, a signed contract and payment history.
Regarding B1. A furnisher should always be required to investigate a dispute from a consumer, except where the disputed information has previously be investigated and all details of the investigation reported to the consumer. A experianced furnisher is making a positive claim at the expense of a (likely) inexperianced consumer. It should be the furnishers obligation to show strong proof that their claim is valid if the consumer asks for such proof. This is a presumption of 'innocence'.
Regarding B2, the consumer benefits from disputing information directly with a furnisher in speed and accuracy of correcting inaccurate information. Communicating with a furnisher via a consumer reporting agency will be slower and subject to errors in relaying information. It is also not the CRA's role to act as a conduit, they are a publisher of information, that is all.
Regarding B3, furnishers and CRA's benefit from direct consumer disputes in speed and accuracy of communication. CRA's benefit in not having to serve as a communications relay between the consumer and furnisher.
Regarding B4, furnishers would be required to pay the costs of ensuring that the furnished information is accurate before reporting it, something that they should already be doing. There are no other new costs.
Regarding B6, accuracy of information furnished to CRA's would necessarily be increased if furnishers were held to some standard as to what constitutes an investigation and report of investigation to the consumer.
Regarding B7, there are no circumstances where the LACK of direct contact between the furnisher and the consumer results in MORE expeditious resolution of disputes that would direct contact between furnisher and consumer. Consumer reporting agencies are data repositories ONLY, and should be obligated to report what they are furnished, contact info of the furnisher and to delete disputed information that a furnisher does not verify, nothing more.
It is imperative to protect the consumer that furnishers of information be required to prove the validity of furnished info to a consumer at the consumers request, and be required to delete info that they cannot validate to a high standard. There should be no limit on the timeframe during which a consumer may initiate such a request.