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Errors on U.S. Consumer Credit Reports Getting Tougher Oversight

Credit-report errors may be easier for consumers to resolve under new government oversight of the three major credit-reporting firms, Experian Plc, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion Corp., the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a report released today.

“Given our supervisory role over many of the providers and distributors of credit-report information, we can play a positive role in resolving accuracy issues and other risks to consumers within the system,” bureau director Richard Cordray said in a conference call. “And given our enforcement authorities, we can make sure that consumer financial laws are being followed.”

The consumer agency, created by the Dodd-Frank law of 2010, said in the report that the three credit bureaus could do more to resolve errors on consumer’s credit reports. False information, such as debt defaults, can result in consumers losing access to credit or facing higher interest rates. A third of consumer disputes on credit reports deal with collections, the report said.

Credit-reporting companies resolve an average of 15 percent of items that consumers dispute internally, the bureau’s report concluded. The remaining 85 percent are passed on to so-called furnishers, which include banks, card issuers and other companies with information on a borrower’s behavior.

“The documentation consumers mail in to support their cases may not be getting passed on to the data furnishers for them to properly investigate and report back to the credit reporting agency,” Cordray said.

The CFPB adopted a rule on direct supervision of credit bureaus in July, and officially began overseeing the companies on Sept. 30. In October it began taking individual complaints from consumers about credit-reporting companies.

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