The Fair Credit Reporting Act and Dispute Letters

Madeleine Jones
September 19, 2013

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) provides consumers the right to an accurate and up to date credit report.  If a consumer finds inaccurate, or out-dated, information in their credit report they have the right to “dispute” that information with the credit reporting agencies.  Upon receiving a dispute letter from a consumer, credit reporting agencies are required to provide the entity that provided the information (the “furnisher of information”) to the credit reporting agencies with “all relevant information” regarding the disputed information.  The furnisher of information is then required to conduct an investigation into the disputed information.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently issued a bulletin generally discussing the requirement of furnishers of information to review “all relevant information” when reviewing disputed information.[1]  Specifically, the CFPB reiterated furnishers of information were not only to review “all relevant information” forwarded to them by a credit reporting agency, but also that furnishers were required to review their own information with respect to the disputed information.  The requirement of furnishers of information reviewing information provided by the consumer as well as their own information is an important protection for consumers.  This protection is important because it necessarily requires furnishers of information to make a determination as to the legitimacy of the dispute from two sources of information – i.e. the consumer and their own information.  This requirement may even make a third source of information necessary. If the disputed information provided by the consumer is contradicted by the furnisher of information’s records, then theoretically, the furnisher of information will have to make a determination as to the accuracy of the disputed information from a third source.  Regardless of how many sources of information are needed to verify information, the CFPB’s bulletin effectively elaborates on the duties of furnishers of information to conduct investigations into information disputed by consumers.

If you have inaccurate information on your credit report, contact Cogburn Law Offices for assistance on correcting the information in your credit report.  You may qualify for assistance at no cost to you. We can help.