All furnishers subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s jurisdiction must comply with all applicable regulations, including regulations promulgated after this notice was prescribed in 2004. Information about applicable regulations currently in effect can be found at the Commission’s Web site, www.ftc.gov/credit. Furnishers who are not subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction should consult with their regulators to find any relevant regulations.
NOTICE TO FURNISHERS OF INFORMATION:
OBLIGATIONS OF FURNISHERS UNDER THE FCRA
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681y, imposes
responsibilities on all persons who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). These responsibilities are found in Section 623 of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681s-2. State law may impose additional requirements on furnishers. All furnishers of information to CRAs should become familiar with the applicable laws and may want to consult with their counsel to ensure that they are in compliance. The text of the FCRA is set forth in full at the Website of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): www.ftc.gov/credit. A list of the sections of the FCRA cross referenced to the U.S. Code is at the end of this document.
Section 623 imposes the following duties upon furnishers:
The banking and credit union regulators and the FTC will promulgate guidelines and regulations dealing with the accuracy of information provided to CRAs by furnishers. The regulations and guidelines issued by the FTC will be available at www.ftc.gov/credit when they are issued. Section 623(e).
General Prohibition on Reporting Inaccurate Information
The FCRA prohibits information furnishers from providing information to a CRA that they know or have reasonable cause to believe is inaccurate. However, the furnisher is not subject to this general prohibition if it clearly and conspicuously specifies an address to which consumers may write to notify the furnisher that certain information is inaccurate. Sections 623(a)(1)(A) and (a)(1)(C).
Duty to Correct and Update Information
If at any time a person who regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes information to one or more CRAs determines that the information provided is not complete or accurate, the furnisher must promptly provide complete and accurate information to the CRA. In addition, the furnisher must notify all CRAs that received the information of any corrections, and must thereafter report only the complete and accurate information. Section 623(a)(2).
Duties After Notice of Dispute from Consumer
If a consumer notifies a furnisher, at an address specified for the furnisher for such notices, that specific information is inaccurate, and the information is, in fact, inaccurate, the furnisher must thereafter report the correct information to CRAs. Section 623(a)(1)(B).
If a consumer notifies a furnisher that the consumer disputes the completeness or accuracy of any information reported by the furnisher, the furnisher may not subsequently report that information to a CRA without providing notice of the dispute. Section 623(a)(3).
The federal banking and credit union regulators and the FTC will issue regulations that will identify when an information furnisher must investigate a dispute made directly to the furnisher by a consumer. Once these regulations are issued, furnishers must comply with them and complete an investigation within 30 days (or 45 days, if the consumer later provides relevant additional information) unless the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant or comes from a ìcredit repair organization.î The FTC regulations will be available at www.ftc.gov/credit. Section 623(a)(8).
Duties After Notice of Dispute from Consumer Reporting Agency
If a CRA notifies a furnisher that a consumer disputes the completeness or accuracy of information provided by the furnisher, the furnisher has a duty to follow certain procedures.
The furnisher must:
Conduct an investigation and review all relevant information provided by the CRA, including information given to the CRA by the consumer. Sections 623(b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B).
Report the results to the CRA that referred the dispute, and, if the investigation establishes that the information was, in fact, incomplete or inaccurate, report the results to all CRAs to which the furnisher provided the information that compile and maintain files on a nationwide basis. Section 623(b)(1)(C) and (b)(1)(D).
Complete the above steps within 30 days from the date the CRA receives the dispute (or 45 days, if the consumer later provides relevant additional information to the CRA). Section 623(b)(2).
Promptly modify or delete the information, or block its reporting. Section 623(b)(1)(E).
Duty to Report Voluntary Closing of Credit Accounts
If a consumer voluntarily closes a credit account, any person who regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes information to one or more CRAs must report this fact when it provides information to CRAs for the time period in which the account was closed. Section 623(a)(4).
Duty to Report Dates of Delinquencies
If a furnisher reports information concerning a delinquent account placed for collection, charged to profit or loss, or subject to any similar action, the furnisher must, within 90 days after reporting the information, provide the CRA with the month and the year of the commencement of the delinquency that immediately preceded the action, so that the agency will know how long to keep the information in the consumer’s file. Section 623(a)(5). Any person, such as a debt collector, that has acquired or is responsible for collecting delinquent accounts and that reports information to CRAs may comply with the requirements of Section 623(a)(5) (until there is a consumer dispute) by reporting the same delinquency date previously reported by the creditor. If the creditor did not report this date, they may comply with the FCRA by establishing reasonable procedures to obtain and report delinquency dates, or, if a delinquency date cannot be reasonably obtained, by following reasonable procedures to ensure that the date reported precedes the date when the account was placed for collection, charged to profit or loss, or subjected to any similar action. Section 623(a)(5).
Duties of Financial Institutions When Reporting Negative Information
Financial institutions that furnish information to nationwide consumer reporting agencies, as defined in Section 603(p), must notify consumers in writing if they may furnish or have furnished negative information to a CRA. Section 623(a)(7). The Federal Reserve Board has prescribed model disclosures, 12 CFR Part 222, App. B.
Duties When Furnishing Medical Information
A furnisher whose primary business is providing medical services, products, or devices (and such furnisher’s agents or assignees) is a medical information furnisher for the purposes of the FCRA and must notify all CRAs to which it reports of this fact. Section 623(a)(9). This notice will enable CRAs to comply with their duties under Section 604(g) when reporting medical information.
Duties When ID Theft Occurs
All furnishers must have in place reasonable procedures to respond to notifications from CRAs that information furnished is the result of identity theft, and to prevent refurnishing the information in the future. A furnisher may not furnish information that a consumer has identified as resulting from identity theft unless the furnisher subsequently knows or is informed by the consumer that the information is correct. Section 623(a)(6). If a furnisher learns that it has furnished inaccurate information due to identity theft, it must notify each consumer reporting agency of the correct information and must thereafter report only complete and accurate information. Section 623(a)(2). When any furnisher of information is notified pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 605B that a debt has resulted from identity theft, the furnisher may not sell, transfer, or place for collection the debt except in certain limited circumstances. Section 615(f).
The FTC’s Web site, www.ftc.gov/credit, has more information about the FCRA, including publications for businesses and the full text of the FCRA.
Citations for FCRA sections in the U.S. Code, 15 U.S.C. ß 1681 et seq.:
Section 602 15 U.S.C. 1681 Section 615 15 U.S.C. 1681m
Section 603 15 U.S.C. 1681a Section 616 15 U.S.C. 1681n
Section 604 15 U.S.C. 1681b Section 617 15 U.S.C. 1681o
Section 605 15 U.S.C. 1681c Section 618 15 U.S.C. 1681p
Section 605A 15 U.S.C. 1681cA Section 619 15 U.S.C. 1681q
Section 605B 15 U.S.C. 1681cB Section 620 15 U.S.C. 1681r
Section 606 15 U.S.C. 1681d Section 621 15 U.S.C. 1681s
Section 607 15 U.S.C. 1681e Section 622 15 U.S.C. 1681s-1
Section 608 15 U.S.C. 1681f Section 623 15 U.S.C. 1681s-2
Section 609 15 U.S.C. 1681g Section 624 15 U.S.C. 1681t
Section 610 15 U.S.C. 1681h Section 625 15 U.S.C. 1681u
Section 611 15 U.S.C. 1681i Section 626 15 U.S.C. 1681v
Section 612 15 U.S.C. 1681j Section 627 15 U.S.C. 1681w
Section 613 15 U.S.C. 1681k Section 628 15 U.S.C. 1681x
Section 614 15 U.S.C. 1681l Section 629 15 U.S.C. 1681y