The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report to Congress under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which requires the FTC to study the accuracy and completeness of information in consumers’ credit reports and to consider methods for improving the accuracy and completeness of such information. The requirement includes five interim reports (every two years from December 2004) and a final report in 2014. The current report (attached) is the second interim report.
The first report outlined a pilot study for testing a potential methodology for a nationwide survey. In the pilot study, randomly selected consumers reviewed their credit reports with an expert to identify potential errors, and then disputed potential errors that the expert believed could have a non-trivial effect on their credit standing. Based upon the results, the FTC is formulating a follow-up pilot study in order to help improve the design for a nationwide survey that can accurately assess the credit reporting process.
The Commission’s goal is to achieve a nationwide survey of credit reports that focuses on consumers and their experiences in identifying and disputing errors, is based on a nationally representative sample, uses a reliable method for identifying errors and omissions, and categorizes errors by type and seriousness in terms of potential consumer harm. The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report to Congress was 5-0.
Copies of the Commission’s report are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Peter J. Vander Nat,
Bureau of Economics