Consumer Advocates Call for Reform of Credit Bureaus
On the heels of a report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) are calling for major reform to the credit reporting industry.
“The CFPB is to be commended for issuing this report and shining a spotlight on the serious problems of the Big Three credit bureaus in responding to credit reporting disputes,” said Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with NCLC. We appreciate the leadership of Commissioner Chopra and the efforts of the CFPB staffers who worked on the report. We endorse the CFPB’s conclusion that ‘The [credit bureaus’] responses to these complaints raise serious questions about whether they are unable — or unwilling — to comply with the law.’ And quite troubling is CFPB’s highlighting that the credit bureaus reported relief in response to less than 2% of covered complaints.”
In releasing the report, the CFPB noted:
A new analysis by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveals how changes in complaint responses provided by nationwide consumer reporting companies resulted in fewer meaningful responses and less consumer relief. In 2021, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion together reported relief in response to less than 2% of covered complaints, down from nearly 25% of covered complaints in 2019.
“America’s credit reporting oligopoly has little incentive to treat consumers fairly when their credit reports have errors,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Today’s report is further evidence of the serious harms stemming from their faulty financial surveillance business model.”
Calling for Reform for Decades
NCLC says calls for reform have been ignored for decades. Wu added:
“The CFPB report provides ample evidence that the credit bureaus have failed to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)’s dispute investigation requirements; however, this failure has been ongoing for decades, ever since the FCRA was passed in 1970. We wrote about the perfunctory, biased travesty of justice that is the credit bureaus’ dispute system back in 2009, in Automated Injustice: How a Mechanized Dispute System Frustrates Consumers Seeking to Fix Errors in Their Credit Reports. Ten years later, in our report Automated Injustice Redux, we noted that, despite the best efforts of the…