In 2015, Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office entered into a multistate settlement with the three national credit reporting agencies, Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., and TransUnion LLC. This settlement seeks to improve the accuracy of data contained in consumers’ credit reports and provide other significant protections.
Key provisions of the settlement agreement include:
Higher standards for entities that supply data to credit reporting agencies
- The credit reporting agencies must maintain information about problematic data furnishers, including creditors and debt collection agencies, and provide a list of those suppliers to the states upon request.
- The credit reporting agencies and data furnishers must use a better, more detailed system to share data with each other.
Added protections for consumers who dispute credit reporting information
- The credit reporting agencies must implement an escalated process for handling complicated disputes, such as those involving identity theft, fraud, or mixed files.
- When consumers initiate disputes, the credit reporting agencies must send any supporting documents that the consumers provide to the data furnishers.
- Consumers may obtain one additional free credit report in a 12-month period if they dispute information on their credit report and a change is made as a result of the dispute.
Limits to certain information that can be added to a consumer’s credit report
- The credit reporting agencies are generally prohibited from adding information about fines and tickets to credit reports.
- The credit reporting agencies cannot place medical debt on a credit report until 180 days after the account is reported to the credit reporting agency, which gives consumers time to work out issues with their insurance companies.
Limits to direct-to-consumer marketing
- The credit reporting agencies cannot market credit monitoring services to a consumer during a dispute phone call until the dispute portion of the call has ended and must tell the consumer that purchasing a product is not a requirement for initiating a dispute