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The Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to protect consumers from inaccurate or outdated information on credit reports.
CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY REINVESTIGATIONS and The Fair Credit Reporting Act
All references to code sections are courtesy of the Legal Information Institute at Law.Cornell.edu.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the Credit Reporting Agencies, or Consumer Reporting Agencies to conduct a reinvestigation and the procedures around that reinvestigation.
The section that discusses the requirements for reinvestigation of a disputed item is 15 U.S.C. §1681i.
As usual, we start with the statute. Please note that we will only be reviewing the section on reinvestigations, so the rest of the section will not be reprinted or discussed.
(2) Prompt notice of dispute to furnisher of information
(A) In general
Before the expiration of the 5-business-day period beginning on the date on which a consumer reporting agency receives notice of a dispute from any consumer or a reseller in accordance with paragraph (1), the agency shall provide notification of the dispute to any person who provided any item of information in dispute, at the address and in the manner established with the person. The notice shall include all relevant information regarding the dispute that the agency has received from the consumer or reseller.
(B) Provision of other information
The consumer reporting agency shall promptly provide to the person who provided the information in dispute all relevant information regarding the dispute that is received by the agency from the consumer or the reseller after the period referred to in subparagraph (A) and before the end of the period referred to in paragraph (1)(A).
What does this mean for you?
That the consumer [credit] reporting agency must forward the information that you provide to them on to the furnisher. It is not enough for them to take your dispute, and communicate the substance, but they must actually forward all the relevant information.
For example, if you dispute that an item (tradeline) on your credit file (credit report) is yours, they should send a copy of your dispute to the furnisher, so that the furnisher can compare signatures. The key to an account that is identity theft account is that someone else took your name, and social security number, and signed their signature. Their signature will not be the same as yours. If the furnisher has a copy of the signature they can look and compare, but if the consumer (credit) reporting agency does not send them a copy, they cannot compare.
Our advice is to send a separate dispute letter to the furnisher of the information, because the nature of the dispute is not always easy to distill into a dispute form. If you let the furnisher know, AS WELL AS THE CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY, then there is an ability to actually review documents.
Note that there is no private right of action to sue a furnisher for not investigating when you directly dispute, but, it is an additional source of information that they should consider. See, eg: Alabran v. Capital One, E.D. VA, 3:04-cv-935, 12/8/05 (document 87).
If you have been impacted by anything we mentioned here, you can make an appointment to see us.
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OUR LEGAL FEES:
The rights afforded to you, as a consumer, under the FCRA and the FDCPA means that a corporation or party who has violated your rights may ultimately be made to pay for statutory damages, actual damages, and your legal fees. Therefore, if we agree to represent you in any case, you won’t pay any attorney’s fees unless we are successful and we recover on your behalf. We are here to serve and have assisted many consumers TO enforce their legal rights. Let us try and see if we can help you too. That means you pay no fee in your case unless we recover.
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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
1650 Willow Lawn Drive
Richmond, VA 23230