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U.S. Consumer Bureau Warns Reporting Firms on Free Data

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned six specialty reporting companies that they may be violating federal rules on providing easy access to consumer records.

Kent Markus, the assistant director of enforcement at the bureau, said the firms, which weren’t named in the announcement today, may be breaking a rule of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that requires them to provide consumers a “streamlined” way to access their free reports.

Nationwide specialty reporting companies are a subset of the broader group of firms led by Experian Plc, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion Corp. The specialty players are typically much smaller, and include closely held firms and units of larger ones, such as CoreLogic Inc., whose business Teletrack is used by some short-term lenders. Other firms collect data on rental history and check writing.

“Nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies can have great influence over a consumer’s tenancy, insurance premiums, or even employment,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB director, said in an e-mailed statement. “Today, the CFPB is reminding these companies that they must follow the law and provide consumers with easy access to their free annual report. If we have reason to believe that companies are not following the law, we will take action.”

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