The (Un)Fair Credit Reporting Act
43 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2016 Last revised: 16 Mar 2016
Date Written: February 2, 2016
Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act over forty years ago intending to benefit consumers and the credit industry through increased accuracy in credit reporting. Accuracy in consumer credit reporting is fundamental to an individual’s access to credit at fair rates as well as other services and opportunities. It is also instrumental to efficient functioning f the credit markets. Congress tried to achieve accuracy in consumer credit reporting by imposing substantive duties on the companies that participate in credit reporting to maintain accurate information and by implementing a framework consumers can use to try to correct errors on their consumer credit reports. Congress has gradually amended the FCRA to the detriment of consumers, allowing the interests of the credit industry to trump the statute’s accuracy norm. Among the statute’s weaknesses is an enforcement regime that has inadequately regulated industry at the federal and state level and failed provide consumers access to justice at an individual level. The failure of FCRA enforcement has received insufficient attention from legislators, regulators, and scholars. This Article examines the failure of FCRA enforcement and proposes a structural overhaul of its hybrid public-private enforcement regime to more effectively promote the FCRA’s primary purpose, accuracy in consumer credit reporting.
Keywords: fair credit, credit reporting, consumer credit, FCRA
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