The CFPB has addressed the issue of deleting information from a consumer’s credit file in response to a dispute rather than conducting an investigation of the dispute. In 2014 the CFPB issued Bulletin 2014-01, wherein the regulator stressed the need to conduct an investigation as required under the FCRA and its corresponding regulations (Regulation V), rather than deleting the information without investigating the dispute.
In the Bulletin, the CFPB stated that “investigations of disputes are important because they provide a critical check on the accuracy of furnished items. Not only do they prompt a furnisher to reconsider information that a consumer has identified as incorrect, investigations can also help a furnisher identify problems with respect to the general accuracy of the information that it furnishes to CRAs. That is, when the furnisher conducts an investigation, it may learn of a systemic problem, thereby benefiting not only the consumer who raised the dispute, but also other similarly situated consumers who did not submit disputes. In addition, if a furnisher does not conduct investigations, consumers can be harmed because the furnisher may not carry out additional steps that the FCRA calls for with respect to a dispute. These include the obligation of a furnisher to provide notice of information found to be inaccurate to all consumer reporting agencies to which it reported.”
The CFPB further stated that “a consumer submits a dispute to a CRA regarding an account in a consumer report and the CRA provides the furnisher of that account with notice of that dispute, the furnisher should investigate the dispute, and, if appropriate, direct the CRA to correct or delete the disputed information. Similarly, if the consumer submits a direct dispute notice to the furnisher, the furnisher generally should conduct an investigation of the dispute and then, based on the results of the investigation, provide appropriate instructions to the CRA.”
The CFPB also stated in Bulletin 2014-01 that if it determines that a furnisher has engaged in any acts or practices that violate the FCRA or other Federal consumer financial laws and regulations, it will take appropriate supervisory and enforcement actions to address violations. To view the 2014 guidance bulletin please click here . For further information on the CFPB and disputes from CRAs, please see ACA SearchPoint documents #3057 Overview of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, #1526 Data Furnisher Responsibilities under the FCRA, and #1522 Direct Disputes from Consumers to Furnishers under the FCRA.