Announced Action for February 4, 2004

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Publication of Federal Register notice: The Commission has approved joint final rules with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, setting effective dates for provisions of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), as required by law. FACTA, which was signed into law by the President on December 4, 2003, makes sweeping changes and additions to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The primary features of FACTA include making the existing FCRA preemption provisions permanent, adding several provisions to combat identity theft, and adding provisions to enhance accuracy and consumer access to credit information. FACTA requires the Commission, among other things, to engage in a number of rulemakings and other proceedings, many with the Federal Reserve Board and other financial regulators.

After considering all public comments received at both the Commission and the Board, the Commission action announced today finalizes the December 2003 actions by the FTC and Federal Reserve Board establishing and proposing a comprehensive set of FACTA effective dates. In December 2003, the Commission and Board issued interim final rules and a notice of proposed rulemaking establishing three categories of effective dates. For those provisions where Congress has prescribed an effective date (including those provisions where Congress has required rules to be made and has prescribed a deadline for the rulemaking) that specific date governs. For example, Section 211(d)(5) requires that the free consumer report rule be issued by the Commission within six months of FACTA’s enactment and that the rule be effective six months from that date. In addition, Section 216(a) requires that the rule relating to the disposal of consumer information be effective within one year of FACTA’s enactment.

The Notice of Joint Final Rules is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release and will be published in the Federal Register shortly. The notice provides a background summary of FACTA and the rulemaking, contains an overview of the public comments received, and includes a section-by-section analysis of the final effective dates rules; it finalizes the effective dates established in a joint Interim Final Rule in December, as well as the effective dates jointly proposed for the balance of FACTA provisions that do not themselves specify effective dates (with three technical modifications from the December proposal, including Section 211(d)(5) and Section 216(a)).

The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P044804; staff contact is Christopher W. Keller, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3224.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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