We've posted ( here, here, and here) several times on the new FTC study on the credit reporting industry showing that millions of Americans' credit reports are wrong, many seriously wrong. Now, take a look at this piece by David Lazarus. It provides a couple examples of how faulty credit reports harm consumers. He also suggests a reform:
Under the [Fair Credit Reporting Act], which was amended in 1996 with additional privacy safeguards, consumers were given the right to find out what's in their files and to dispute any inaccurate information. The act also limited access to a credit file to those with a "permissible purpose," such as lenders, other credit issuers or insurers. It's clear, though, that not enough has been done to level the playing field. Although consumers have a right to a free copy of their credit file annually from each of the big agencies — available at AnnualCreditReport.com — those files can be unclear or difficult to understand. Worse, because each agency uses its own system, consumers have to monitor all three to ensure that their files are accurate. If a problem is found, you have to jump through each company's hoops to make changes — a time-consuming and often frustrating process. Here's my proposal: Create an online clearinghouse, run by the federal government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that would allow people to fix all their files at one time.