The three big CRAs — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — do not interact with information furnishers directly as a result of consumer disputes. They use a system called E-Oscar In some areas of the country, however, there is a fourth CRA, CSC Credit Services, which is responsible for information found within Equifax. For example, in Texas, if a consumer tries to dispute information with Equifax directly, it will not affect their credit report. They must go through CSC.
(This notice doesn't have to be sent as a separate notice, but may be placed on a consumer's monthly statement. If sent as part as the monthly statement, it needs to be conspicuous, but need not be in bold type. Required wording (developed by the US Federal Treasury Department):
Notice before negative information is reported: We may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your account may be reflected in your credit report.
Notice after negative information is reported: We have told a credit bureau about a late payment, missed payment or other default on your account. This information may be reflected in your credit report.)
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ("FACTA") of 2003 has allowed easier access to consumers wishing to view their reports and dispute items.
Under § 616 of the Act, a consumer may recover either actual damages or a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $1000 plus punitive damages and reasonable attorney's fees and costs for willful noncompliance with the Act. Under § 617 of the Act, recovery for a negligent violation is of actual damages, plus attorney's fees. Under § 618, a consumer may file suit in state or federal court to enforce the Act, and the statute of limitations is the earlier of 2 years from discovery and 5 years from the violation. (.)
While putative database companies like Lexis, Westlaw, ChoicePoint, and eFunds (owner of ChexSystems) do not create credit reports, they may gather the same types of information and as a result may subject some of their actions to FCRA.
An entity that meets the definitional requirement for a "consumer reporting agency" (CRA) in Section 603(f) of the FCRA is covered by the law even if the only information it collects, maintains, and disseminates is obtained from "public record" sources.
Section 603(f) defines a "consumer reporting agency" as any person "which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information ... for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties ...". In turn, Section 603(d) defines a "consumer report" as the communication of "any information" by a CRA that bears on a consumer's "credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living" that is "used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part" for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing eligibility for credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, employment purposes, or any other purpose authorized under Section 604.
If the commercial service you describe regularly provides information for the purposes set forth in the definition of consumer report in Section 603(d), the agency is a consumer reporting agency and the information it collects from public record sources and maintains in its computerized files is subject to the FCRA. excerpt of an 1999 FTC advisory opinion
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