These actions were taken in response to consumer complaints that their requests for corrections were not being addressed. The investigation revealed that the three agencies were relying solely on lenders for their information. Corrections forwarded by the agencies to creditors were not being made consistently. If the creditor disagreed with the customer the credit agencies were not investigating leaving issues.
Changes to how errors are managed
- All three credit bureaus have agreed to these changes
- Specially trained employee will review disputed customer information
- All three agencies will wait 180 days before posting unpaid medical debt to reports. This will allow insurance payments to be made. (52% of all debt reported is from medical expenses.)
- If a medical dispute exceeds the 180 days, once the issue is resolved it will be eliminated from the customer’s credit report
- All three agencies will now do an independent review to corroborate customer corrections
- A special team will be set up to handle more complex issues such as identity theft or mixed files where people with the similar names
- Free credit reports are going to be made more readily available.
- Requesting a correction will you get a free credit report to confirm that the correction has been made
These sweeping changes will take time to enact but the end result will be boon to the consumer. According to New York Attorney General, Eric Shneiderman in an interview with PBS News,
“The Federal Trade Commission has estimated that 10 million Americans have errors that are significant enough to affect the cost of borrowing…. people are going to see a lot of changes. Consumers getting their complaints resolved, getting bad data off their reports. This is going to provide huge relief to some 200 million Americans who are on credit reports when they’re buying homes, when they’re buying cars, when they’re trying to get a credit card or trying to get a job. This is a huge breakthrough in this area.”