|Received:||5/22/2006 10:58:27 AM|
|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:Procedures to Enhance the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to
Concerns about the placement of public records on credit reports and the
dispute/reinvestigation process for this type of information.
The consumer reporting agencies major role is to house information for
furnishers that subscribe to their services, and they benefit from this by
charging subscribers a fee. So, what do they gain by placing public records on a
consumer?s credit report? The consumer doesn?t gain anything, since public
records are negative.
Some could argue that creditors gain from this because placing public records on
a consumer?s credit report gives creditors an overall picture of the consumer?s
financial habits and helps them to make a more informed decision about whether
to extend that person credit. However, that argument lacks conviction when you
consider that the accuracy and source of these records are highly questionable.
How can consumers get a fair assessment of their credit worthiness, if consumer
reporting agencies place information on their credit reports, not from a paying
subscriber, but from their own undisclosed source.
The consumer reporting agencies actively seek out and pay others to go to the
courts and get this information. Public records may have originally come from
the courts, but the information has been accessed and compiled by companies
unknown to most consumers. These companies, possibly Lexis Nexis or ChoicePoint,
are inaccessible, and consumers have no direct way to contact or dispute the
accuracy of these records.
Since the courts are not the actual furnishers of this information, than who
verifies this information? Are the consumer reporting agencies the furnishers of
this, since they purchased public records information, much like, a collection
agency buys accounts and then places that negative information on a consumer?s
report? Consumer reporting agencies are no longer simply housing this
information, they may also be the furnishers.
This creates a lot of confusion for consumers. Who is responsible for the
accuracy of public records? Is it the courts, the consumer reporting agencies,
or the middle man/agency that gathers and sells the information to them? When
contact the courts, the courts will simply tell them that court records are
public information accessed by the consumer reporting agencies and that they
cannot correct information that they did not furnish. So why is the name and
address of the
courts the only contact information listed on a consumer?s credit report.
I seriously question the means by which the consumer reporting agencies get and
place this information on a consumer?s credit report. I question the accuracy of
public records and I believe that consumers are at a disadvantage because they
cannot dispute this information directly with the furnisher.
This information must be accurate, it must come from a reliable source, and
consumer reporting agencies should disclose the identity of that source and the
procedures used to verify this information to consumers. The overall integrity
of credit reports depends on the responsible reporting of information. If public
records are not accurate, verifiable, and complete, than they should not be listed
on a consumer?s credit report.