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CFPB now taking complaints about consumer reports

November 2, 2012

The (relatively) new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency that has more or less taken over the administration of the Fair Credit Reporting Act from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The CFPB is supposed to be a sort of consumer watchdog that keeps Joe and Jane Sixpack from being taken advantage of in the financial markets.

Consistent with both its mission and its transfer of power from the FTC, the CFPB is now offering consumers a free service:  it will accept consumer complaints and, for free, attempt to work with the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to resolve them.

Like many of the CFPB’s new undertakings, there are a lot of details to be fleshed out.  To give just one example, it appears that this service is NOT like the service that the EEOC provides in discrimination complaints.  A person who believes he or she has been discriminated against MUST go through the EEOC before filing a complaint in court.  But here, it looks like a consumer who is unhappy with a CRA can EITHER ask the CFPB for help OR just go ahead and sue the CRA.  This still raises the question of whether it behooves consumers to seek help from the CFPB first and only then file a suit in court.  If a consumer does that, does the fact that the CRA failed to respond to the CFPB help the consumer’s case?

As always, time will tell.  But it’s worth noting that the CFPB is open for business in this area.

Categories: Uncategorized
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