Acting on consumer complaints, six states have filed suit against TRW, one of the largest providers of credit reports, which affect nearly every American's ability to borrow. The suits, representing New York, Texas, California, Michigan, Idaho, and Alabama, charge the Cleveland-based credit-reporting agency with misleading consumers, disregarding their privacy, and failing to assure the accuracy of reports. TRW insists that its practices are legal, and it has already requested that the suits be thrown out. The company is also fighting a $290,000 federal court award granted to a Wyoming consumer who claims that TRW deliberately put errors in his credit report.
The legal fireworks are a blow to the credit-reporting industry, which is under fire from consumer groups. Congress, meanwhile, is preparing legislation to strengthen and update the 20-year-old Fair Credit Reporting Act.