Since an estimated one in four Americans has an error on their consumer report, it is not surprising that the top consumer complaint lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) relates to credit report issues.
Between 2021 and 2022, the number of complaints about credit reporting skyrocketed. According to the CFPB Annual Report, the agency received upwards of 869,000 complaints about consumer reporting by the Big Three. This is up 250,000 complaints from the 619,000 complaints received the year before.
Who are the “Big Three” you may be wondering? They are the three largest nationwide consumer reporting agencies (NCRAs), aka credit bureaus —Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
So, what’s a consumer to do? I recommend keeping tabs on your consumer report by obtaining a free copy of your consumer report from each of the Big Three each year. If you want to get really creative, you can rotate between the three, obtaining one every four months. But note, it is not uncommon that one bureau’s report may have errors while another does not. Moreover, you should keep in mind that there are other consumer reporting agencies besides the Big Three (more about them in another blog). Any time you are denied credit or receive any adverse decision arising where your credit report was used, you are entitled to a free copy of your report from any consumer reporting agency that relied on.
Now you may be asking yourself how you are supposed to know which agency’s report the business or entity relied on? Good question, reader! Federal law requires that anytime a lender, employer, insurance company, or any entity that used your consumer report to make a decision about you send you a letter telling you what consumer report(s) they relied on. This is commonly referred to as an adverse action letter.
And if you find inaccurate or incomplete information on any type of consumer report, I suggest you obtain a copy of your report from each of the Big Three at that time as well. I also suggest you reach out to a consumer attorney experienced in this area of the law. Most attorneys will consult with you without any cost or obligation.