Advisory Opinion to Edwards (07-15-98)

July 15, 1998

David E. Edwards
1506 Briarbank Drive
Sugar Land, TX 77478-2388

Dear Mr. Edwards:

This will respond to your recent letter questioning whether CSC Credit Services ("CSC") is complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") with respect to its treatment of your dispute statement. You relate that CSC has failed to report your statement in the identical form that you presented the statement to CSC in your letter dated October 14, 1997, a copy of which you included with your letter to us. Instead, you allege, CSC has altered the capitalization, punctuation, and paragraph arrangement of the statement. You ask whether this is permissible under the law.

Section 611(c) of the FCRA provides: "Whenever a statement of dispute is filed, . . . the consumer reporting agency shall, in any subsequent consumer report containing the information in question, clearly note that it is disputed by the consumer and provide either the consumer's statement or a clear and accurate codification or summary thereof" (emphasis added). The version of your dispute statement reported by CSC as part of your credit file is taken virtually verbatim from your October 14 letter to CSC -- much more than the "codification or summary" required by the FCRA. Nothing in Section 611 requires the consumer reporting agency to duplicate the capitalization, punctuation, and paragraph styles used by the consumer. The CSC version of your dispute statement thus appears to satisfy the requirements of Section 611.

This is an informal staff opinion and is not binding on the Commission.

Sincerely,

Ronald G. Isaac