Consumers’ Credit Reports Remain Substantially Inaccurate, According to Federal Lawmakers

4 out of 5 credit reports contain an error, and a quarter of those errors cause serious problems, according to today’s news from Washington. Yet the 2003 law that was supposed to make it easier for consumers to guard against identity theft and to freely access their credit reports is still not final.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act’s 2003 amendments were supposed to make it easier for consumers to access and correct mistakes in their credit reports. But House Financial Services Committee members today criticized the FTC and the Federal Reserve for not implementing final rules from the 2003 law, according to Congress Daily. The FTC has still not implemented two of the 2003 provisions that gave consumers free access to their credit reports and permitted them to put a fraud alert on their file if there was a possibility of identity theft.

The Washington Post reported that as many as “79 percent of credit reports may contain an error, and 25 percent of errors lead to a denial of credit, according to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.” New York Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D) “said at the hearing that the failure to implement the legislation has condemned consumers to ‘voice-mail hell’ as they try to navigate an opaque system.” The FTC and the Federal Reserve “cited the complicated nature of the regulations and massive bureaucratic hurdles as causing delayed enforcement of the mandates.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, testified yesterday that “credit reporting companies continue to respond to disputes with only ‘perfunctory’ automated systems that tend to repeat errors rather than repair them.”.

This is a distressing–and depressing–snapshot of our government at work. Or not.


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