On May 20, 2015, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with attorneys general of thirty other states (“the State AGs”), announced a $6,000,000 settlement with three major credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”). According to the announcement and the Settlement Agreement, the settlement is a culmination of a multistate investigation that the State AGs initiated in 2012 in response to concerns and disputes from consumers that the CRAs did not maintain reasonable procedures to (i) assure accuracy of consumer reports or credit reports; (ii) conduct reinvestigation of consumer disputes; and (iii) prevent the reappearance in consumer reports or credit reports of information that was supposed to be deleted or suppressed as a result of reinvestigation findings. The State AGs also said consumers complained that the CRAs “enaged in improper disclosure or marketing practices relating to the sale of direct-to-consumer products to consumers during credit report dispute phone calls.” The State AGs claim that the CRAs conduct violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the States’ consumer protection laws relating to unfair and deceptive business acts and practices. In addition to the $6,000,000 payment to the States, the Settlement Agreement requires that the agencies adopt certain practices, including higher standards for data furnihsers, limits on direct-to-consumer marketing, added protections for consumers who dispute credit reporting information, limitations on what type of information can be added to a consumer’s credit report, and improved consumer educational content. The CRAs denied wrongdoing of any kind and asserted they complied with all federal and state laws.
Blog Enforcement Watch May 22, 2015