b'Although the FCRA generally requires furnishersand Florida violated the FTC Act, the Credit Repair and credit reporting agencies to investigate disputesOrganizations Act (CROA), the Telemarketing and within 30 days of receipt, the CFPB announcedConsumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, and other that [i]n evaluating compliance with the FCRA asfederal statutes by falsely claiming, through internet a result of the pandemic, the CFPB will considerwebsites, telemarketing, and unsolicited emails and a consumer reporting agencys or furnisherstext messages, that they could improve consumers individual circumstances and does not intend to citecredit scores by removing all negative information and in an examination or bring an enforcement actionhard inquiries from credit reports. The defendants also against a consumer reporting agency or furnisherallegedly took fees in advance of providing debt relief making good faith efforts to investigate disputes asservices, failed to provide required disclosures, and quickly as possible, even if dispute investigationsmade unauthorized withdrawals from consumers bank take longer than the statutory timeframe. The policyaccounts. Under the settlement, the defendants agreed statement did not elaborate on what the Bureauto a ban from the credit repair services industry, and meant by the terms does not intend to cite, goodpayment of an over $13 million judgment, most of which faith efforts or as quickly as possible.was suspended for inability to pay. Two months later, in its June 2020 compliance aid,CFPB and Massachusetts Attorney General Sue the CFPB clarified that the [April Policy] Statement didCommonwealth Equity Group, LLC over False not say that the CFPB would give furnishers or creditPromises and Monthly and Up-Front Feesreporting agencies an unlimited time beyond theIn May, the CFPB and Massachusetts Attorney General statutory deadlines to investigate disputes before thefiled a complaint against Commonwealth Equity Group, CFPB would take supervisory or enforcement action.LLC, a Massachusetts-based credit repair company, The CFPB added that furnishers still remain responsiblealleging that the company had engaged in deceptive for conducting reasonable investigations of consumeracts or practices under the CFPA and Massachusetts disputes in a timely fashion. The CFPB continued tostate law, as well as abusive telemarketing acts and emphasize that it would not employ a one-size-fits-allpractices under the TSR. The CFPB and Massachusetts approach to evaluating furnishers and credit reportingAttorney General alleged that the company agencies during the pandemic: the Bureau believesmisrepresented to consumers through its website, it is appropriate to evaluate individually the efforts andonline advertising, and in its customer agreements, that circumstances of each furnisher and consumer reportingit would be able to substantially increase consumers agency in determining if it made good faith efforts tocredit scores and remove negative entries on investigate disputes as quickly as possible. consumers credit reports when, in fact, the company was often unable to do achieve those promised results. 2020 Highlights The company also allegedly charged up-front and monthly fees prior to achieving promised results. Finally, the complaint alleges that the company misrepresented FTC Settles with Several Credit Repair Companiesits services by falsely claiming that the company had a over Fees and Misrepresentations large number of certified credit experts, and assisted In January, the FTC settled with several individuals andeach client individually to secure credit freedom.companies that allegedly operated a multi-state creditThe complaint seeks injunctive relief, civil money repair scam. The FTC alleged that affiliated individualpenalties, consumer redress, and enforcement costs.and companies in Wyoming, Colorado, New Jersey, 41'