FACTA: Free Credit Reports

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FACTA: Free Credit Reports

Postby Administrator » Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:44 pm

Free Credit Reports

Agencies must provide consumers with a free annual credit report. Consumers now have a right to a free annual credit report from nationwide and nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. On an annual basis consumers may obtain a free credit report from each of the nationwide agency within 15 days, after making the request by telephone, Internet or mail. The 15 day period is calculated from the date the credit reporting agency receives the request, a period that is rather lengthy considering that the credit reporting agencies can make the reports available immediately to businesses. This right is in addition to what already exists under the FCRA regarding free reports (e.g., unemployed, adverse action is taken or if a consumer receives public benefits).

The FTC must, within one year, establish a centralized source for consumers to obtain these reports from each of the three nationwide repositories –– sort of one-stop shopping for credit reports. The nationwide credit reporting agency does not have to respond to a request unless the consumer uses the special centralized source established by the FTC to make the request. FACTA also provides consumers with the right to obtain one free report annually from “nationwide specialty credit reporting agencies” (e.g., landlord-tenant, employment, insurance), a newly defined category of agencies. The FTC must also establish regulations pertaining to this process within six months. The regulations become effective six to nine months after becoming final.

States are preempted from regulating this newly required conduct. Agencies must provide free reports to fraud victims. An independent provision of FACTA allows a consumer who requests a one-call fraud alert to obtain a free copy of the consumer’s report from each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies. A consumer who requests an extended fraud alert by providing an agency with an identity theft report may obtain two free copies of the consumer’s report over the subsequent 12 months. States are preempted from regulating this conduct as well.[/u][/b]

Return to “FCRA Statute And Amendments: 15 U.S.C. 1681, et. seq.”

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