Richard Cordray, director of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Got a beef about a credit reporting company? Trying to get a credit file corrected? Until recently, you were left to the mercy of individual credit reporting bureaus. Now, you can approach and file a complaint with a watchdog agency in the guise of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to obtain satisfaction.
The stakes are high if you need credit; it's important that your credit report reflects accurate information. It's sent to creditors and loan rates are based on information from your file. You could be paying too much in finance charges based on faulty reporting. So now's the time to fix the bad information.
"The largest credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans," the CFPB reports. "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."
Here's how to go about fixing your credit record:
For consumers who believe that there is incorrect information on their credit reports or who have an issue with an investigation, before filing with the CFPB, they should first file a dispute and get a response from the consumer reporting agency itself.
There are important consumer rights guaranteed by federal consumer financial law that may be best preserved by first going through the credit reporting company’s complaint process. Once that process is complete, if the consumer is dissatisfied with the resolution or if the consumer reporting agency does not respond, the CFPB is available to assist."
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 identity protection services.
- The CFPB also takes complaints on credit card companies, mortgages, bank accounts and services, consumer loans, and private student loans.
To file a credit reporting complaint, consumers can:
File online at www.consumerfinance.gov/Complaint
- Call the toll-free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372)
- Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392
- Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244
Consumers can receive free copies of their credit reports every 12 months from . This is the only authorized source that provides free disclosures from the three major national credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
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