Beginning September 30, 1997 new regulations concerning credit reports goes into effect providing consumers with protection from inaccurate information. As the law already allowed consumers to see their credit reports, it now provides a systematic way for them to get redress over concerns to have inaccurate information removed from their reports under a deadline for credit bureaus to respond.

Under the rules, to be issued by the Federal Trade Commission under legislation passed a year ago, credit bureaus must:

  • Respond to consumer complaints about inaccurate information within days.
  • Provide a toll-free consumer service number, staffed with live personnel.
  • Tell consumers, on request, who has asked for copies of their credit history within the past year.
  • Get the subject's permission before giving a report to an employer, or before releasing a report containing medical information.

The new law also allows consumers to sue not only credit bureaus over false information but also companies that provide the information to the bureaus, such as banks and mortgage companies.

The act governs credit bureaus that sell information about consumers -- where they live and work, how they pay their bills, and whether they have been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy -- and those who furnish that data.



-- Posted the week of October 1, 1997

Source: The Wall Street Journal September 29, 1997 pg. B2