Credit reporting firms should fix practices amid consumer complaints- U.S. watchdog

Illustration shows a smartphone with displayed Experian logo

By Hannah Lang

(Reuters) – The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Tuesday recommended that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion change how they respond to consumers after logging almost half a million complaints in a year combined.

Gripes about the U.S. credit reporting agencies have long topped the list of public complaints in the CFPB’s database, which debuted in 2012 to boost transparency on consumer issues.

The watchdog recommended that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion consider how to improve the accuracy of credit reports by giving consumers more control over their data, according to a CFPB report based on 488,000 complaints it received from October 2021 through September 2022.

The regulator also said credit reporting firms should examine whether their automated processes make it harder for consumers who spend excessive amounts of time correcting errors on their reports.

The CFPB is required by law to submit a yearly report about the complaints consumers submit concerning the nationwide credit bureaus.

“We will be exploring new rules to ensure that they are following the law, rather than cutting corners to fuel their profit model,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement.

TransUnion, Experian and Equifax did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CFPB also found that credit reporting agencies gave more relief to consumers who complained last year than in earlier periods. Most consumers now also receive more substantive responses to their complaints, the agency said.

(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Lananh Nguyen and Aurora Ellis)