Skip to main content

If you report information about consumers to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) — like a credit bureau, tenant screening company, or check verification service — you have legal obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act's Furnisher Rule.

The FTC enforces the rule, and has guidance about your responsibilities to furnish information that's accurate and complete, and to investigate consumer disputes about the accuracy of information you provide.

Information in credit reports is used to determine a person’s eligibility for credit, employment, insurance and rental housing. Errors in a report can result in denial of those benefits or higher costs.

A publication from the FTC, Consumer Reports: What Information Furnishers Need to Know, offers tips to help ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information you furnish to CRAs, and more about establishing reasonable policies and procedures for implementing the rule in your business.

Looking for more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act?  Bookmark the Business Center's Credit Reporting page.



It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

June 18, 2013
Is it legal for companies to keep selling a new debt and updating the date on your credit report although no confirmation activity, payments or agreements were made
January 16, 2014
No, it is not even a little bit legal for them to do that. The statute of limitations for both credit reporting and suit both start from the date of delinquency, or the last missed payment that lead to you being in collections. The only way to legally reset that clock is if you make a payment on your account. Collection agencies have a bad habit of resetting the clock when they get an old piece of debt when they buy it, or before selling it to make it appear more valuable. They will also sometimes make payments on your account for you to reset the clock. All of that is highly illegal.
February 24, 2016
My collection was valid and I paid it. I need the report cleared but the agency said the FCRA says they can't remove it. What does the FCRA actually say. I need it removed because it is damaging.
Very upset
June 04, 2016
I wrote a check to Dollar General. I have never written a bad check in my life and it had nothing to do with my account balance or history, etc. The website indicated: "This transaction received a decline recommendation from Certegy because it did not meet the acceptance guidelines, which can vary by store and transaction. Factors may include a combination of: the check number, dollar amount, check-writing history, or other transaction details. Generally, these guidelines don't include your account balance because banks typically don't provide it to us. Although this recommendation is final, we will evaluate all future checks at the time they are presented. For this transaction, however, we advise you to use a different form of payment." Per the website: Once Certegy flags your driver's license number and name, you can't write a check on any account, at in of their over 535 retail chains in 77,000 locations, with in the Certegy database. So, if you work for a business and are the one to purchase it, you won't be able based on your driver's license number and name. If you look the FTC has fined this business $3.5 million...…
November 01, 2016
I sent a certified letter requesting original creditor provide documentation to substantiate the reporting of my account to major credit reporting agencies. The original credit failed to respond to my request and continued reporting unsubstantiated information. I sent the information because original creditor was reporting a balance on the account, but in fact the account had been sold to a third party. But no reference to this was reporting on the account. What specific statute are they(the original creditor) violating?
February 06, 2017
A debt buyer has purchased a delinquent commercial loan, I personally guaranteed, then entered the data into my credit reports. They did so WITHOUT providing notice that negative data would be entered. I disputed the debt, specifically stating they provided no notice, they validated the debt FCRA violation? Also, the debt buyer, has loaded each credit file repeatedly with the word, "collection" "collection account", in every location possible. As the account was in default when they purchased it is this not incorrect? Any specific citations on these matters, FTC letters would be appreciated.
December 07, 2018
Is there any regulation or requirement to make reasonable attempts to notify a "responsible party" about collections before reporting negative information to CRA's? The scenario: Separated, not yet legally divorced, still on my insurance. Ex-wife goes to the doctor then fails to pay the bill for three years. Because she used my insurance they claim I am a responsible party which I can accept. The problem is that I have never been contacted via USPS, phone or email and had zero knowledge of the debt. The collection company decides to report the debt to my SSN. I assume that because they have my SSN to report the collection to then they also could very easily find information about me including my current address, email, and phone none of which have changed in over 10 years. What I am wanting to find out is if I have any legal recourse against the collection company or the client for not making efforts to notify me before reporting negative credit information to a CRA or should I just accept this company screwed me and move on.
January 22, 2019
Are auto insurance companies who report drivers' histories (e.g., tickets, accidents) to CRAs covered by the Furnisher Rule? If so, are there laws on what is reportable? This question stems from the verbiage regarding "misleading information." The particular example is: a driver is in a driving accident in which the driver in question is deemed "not at fault," yet the auto insurance company furnishes the accident details to a CRA. The driver then tries to obtain new auto insurance, and finds that rates have gone up at other insurance companies, who now have record of an accident in the driver's history. Is the information the original auto insurance company furnished therefore "misleading," as the not-at-fault driver now has a driver's record that competitor insurance companies deem higher-risk and therefore provide higher-cost insurance quotes?
FTC Staff
January 29, 2019

In reply to by Leah

You can order a free copy of your credit report at If you see a mistake on your credit report, you can dispute it yourself, for free. Both the credit bureau and the business that provided the information about you to a credit bureau are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. Read more at Fixing Your Credit.

February 11, 2019
If both federal and state criminal courts have laws against publishing personal identifying information like ssn's and dob's, how can a data furnisher report any background/criminal records check accurately?
April 17, 2019
Is it legal for creditors to not have a signed contract on file and they insist that they have verified the debt? I was under the impression that they need a signed contract from me
April 19, 2019
If an FHA loan gets an FHA-HAMP modification is it ok for the servicer to report that mortgage multiple times to credit reporting agencies? I.e. they say they must take the loan out of a pool because of the mod and when the mod is done they put into to another pool (Secondary market pool such as GNMA), when putting it back into a pool, after the mod, they assign it a new loan number. They then report the loan under the initial loan number and show it as closed and then they report the loan under the new loan # as open. The loan is still under the initial FHA case #. It seems this would unfairly inpact a borrower's credit score. If this is not acceptable, what specific rule is it in violation of? I would appreciate the reference citation. Thx
December 02, 2019
I had a 742 FICO before my kid's student loans came out of deferment. I applied to refinance our home and abruptly learned the loans were 90+ days delinquent. I immediately paid the outstanding balance and contacted the servicer to detail what happened and ask for a one-time goodwill adjustment. Citing the FCRA, they have declined my requests repeatedly. MY QUESTION: Are there requirements of data furnishers to make positive contact (ie: certified mail, priority, recorded phone calls, etc) with consumers before reporting derogatory data to the CRAs? Specifically, I never received any notifications or correspondence by mail to our current address UNTIL after I called them about this mess AND after I unchecked the 'paperless billing' option in their borrower portal. My wife ceased getting email some time ago and I ceased answering unrecognized phone numbers. These are poor excuses, but as God as my witness, I never received any mail from them at all until this debacle. I have only my good credit history to suggest I speak the truth; I sent them my credit report as well. The loan is my obligation and the delinquency was my fault. However, I think data furnishers should have an obligation to reasonably exhaust all available channels of communication with consumers prior to reporting derogatory data so consumers have every opportunity to correct a problem before it's too late. Any constructive help or direction would be greatly appreciated!!!

More from the Business Blog

Get Business Blog updates