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Boston MA-- As of July 1, the nation’s Big 3 credit bureaus remove often-inaccurate public record judgements and tax liens from credit reports. The actions are estimated to result in credit score increases of 20-40 points for 12 million consumers.
“We commend our Attorney General Maura Healey for joining a bi-partisan 31-state enforcement action that led directly to this change by the credit bureaus,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “The credit bureaus never act to improve their sloppy ways unless pushed hard and the attorneys general pushed them hard.”
The 31-state enforcement action was settled in early 2015 and, among other provisions, requires the so-called Big 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) to do a much better job matching negative information to particular consumers before including it in their credit reports, which are used to make credit, insurance and employment decisions. Consequently, the bureaus are removing the public records, which often do not contain enough information to do a reasonable match. A 2013 Federal Trade Commission report found that 25% of all reports contain major errors and 5% of consumers had an error severe enough to cause them to pay more for or be denied credit.
Cummings also noted recent efforts by the CFPB to protect consumers from credit bureau mistakes and that this June a jury had imposed a record $60 million penalty on Transunion for mixing the names of a class of 8,000 ordinary consumers up with criminals appearing on a Treasury Department list of of terrorists and drug traffickers.
“For consumers to be protected in the marketplace, we need strong federal laws, a strong federal cop like the CFPB, state attorneys general also on the consumer beat, and finally, consumer lawyers to help consumers enforce the law themselves,” concluded Cummings.
MASSPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at www.masspirg.org.
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