If you're trying to figure out how your financial information ends up in a credit report, you should know how information is furnished to consumer or credit reporting agencies (CRA). Furnishers of information are businesses and groups that sell you items on credit or make loans to you. They report the transactions and any delinquent payments to CRAs who compile credit reports.
How information is sent to CRAs, correcting credit reports and how investigations are conducted are all regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Incomplete or Inaccuract Information
One of the main functions of the FCRA covers what information can and can't be sent to a CRA. Specifically, information that would cause a reasonable person to doubt the accuracy of the information would be a violation of the Act. If you've properly reported to a creditor that specific information is inaccurate, that furnisher cannot supply the information to a CRA.
Once a "furnisher of information" sends transactions to the CRA and then discovers that the information is incorrect or incomplete, they are required to:
- Promptly notify the agency that the information is not complete or accurate
- Provide the agency with any necessary corrections to that information
At any time you can open an investigation into an item listed on your credit report than you consider to inaccurate or incomplete.
If you dispute information, the furnisher can't give it to any CRA without providing notice that the information is being disputed by you. Also, if you close a credit account, the furnisher must notify the CRA that you voluntarily closed the account. If a person furnishes information to a CRA regarding a delinquent account placed for collection, within 90 days, detailed information about the delinquency dates must be reported as well.
Furnishers of information also have duties in connection with information related to identity theft.
Any financial institution furnishing negative information about credit extended to you must provide a notice of this in writing. This notice must be provided to you no later than 30 days after the negative information is sent to the CRA.
You can open an investigation into inaccurate or incomplete information directly with the creditor or business supplying this information for the report.
To open a dispute you must:
- Send a notice to the business with the incorrect information
- Identify the specific information being disputed
- Explain the basis for the dispute
- Include all supporting documentation required by the furnisher to substantiate your claim
The business or creditor must:
- Investigate the disputed information
- Review all relevant information
- Complete the investigation and report the results to you
If the investigation finds that the information reported was inaccurate, the furnisher must:
- Promptly notify each CRA that has the inaccurate information
- Provide corrected information to the agency