Companies that furnish information to consumer credit report providers are now responsible to investigate consumer disputes and complaints against their firms, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The CFPB released this week a directive concerning all “furnishers,” as the reporting firms are known, including credit unions.
Consumers may file a dispute with a consumer reporting company about a credit report item. The reporting company, in turn, must inform the furnisher that the consumer has filed a dispute and forward all relevant information it has about the dispute to the furnisher. The furnisher then must review the information, conduct an investigation and respond to the reporting furnisher.
The electronic system “e-OSCAR” is used by the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax Information Services LLC, TransUnion LLC and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. – to send information relating to consumer disputes to furnishers. CFPB noted in December that the system did not provide a means for credit reporting companies to forward to furnishers any documents submitted by consumers.
The “e-OSCAR” system has since been upgraded so that the three companies can now send furnishers any relevant dispute documents. The CFPB is continuing to expand the system’s capacity of the system. Furnishers are expected to fulfill their legal obligations by receiving information and investigating disputes, providing investigative results and correcting inaccurate information.
“Credit reports play a critical role in the lives of consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Given the importance of these reports, consumers need to know that their documents are being reviewed when they dispute what they believe is a mistake on a report.”