On October 22, 2012 CFPB announced that they have begun accepting consumer complaints about credit reporting, giving consumers individual-level complaint assistance for the first time at the federal level.
“Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers. They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged.”
Consumer reporting agencies, which include what are popularly called credit bureaus or credit reporting companies, are private businesses that track a consumer’s credit history and other consumer transactions. The credit reports they generate – and the three-digit credit scores that are based on those reports – play an increasingly important role in the lives of American consumers.
The largest credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing.
A consumer can come to the CFPB if he or she, for example, has issues with:
- Incorrect information on a credit report;
- A consumer reporting agency’s investigation;
- The improper use of a credit report;
- Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
- Problems with credit monitoring or identify protection services.
Today’s announcement extends the kinds of complaints the CFPB already handles. The CFPB began taking credit card complaints when it launched on July 21, 2011. Since then, it has expanded to take complaints on mortgages, bank accounts and services, consumer loans, and private student loans.