With so much riding on consumer credit reports, you would think every effort would be made to ensure that the information on them is accurate, or at least easily corrected when a mistake is identified. You might think this, but you would be wrong. Current laws place the burden on consumers to identify mistakes and take action to correct them, rather than on creditors or consumer reporting agencies to ensure the accuracy of the information they are reporting. Recent efforts have been made to amend laws that currently favor creditors over consumers, but don’t hold your breath.
Proposed Legislation Aims to Help Consumers
In February of 2019, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters introduced a bill intended to relieve consumers of some of the overly punitive and burdensome effects of negative credit reports. Her bill proposes the following changes:
- Reduce how long negative information stays on a credit report from the current seven years to four years.
- Require credit reporting agencies to remove account information within 45 days of a debt being paid off or settled.
- Make credit checks for job applicants permissible only when a credit report is required by federal, state, or local law or as part of a security clearance.
- Shift the burden of removing mistakes on credit reports away from consumers and onto the credit bureaus and financial firms that provide them.
- Provide a new right for consumers to appeal decisions made about disputed information.
While this bill is still in draft form and would be unlikely ever to get passed in the current political climate, it does shed light on some of the problems consumers have when a data breach, identity theft, or irresponsible creditor effects their credit report and their credit score.
How a California Consumer Attorney Can Help
It will obviously be years before legislation catches up with the very real problem of credit reporting errors. If you are struggling to get false information off your credit report, the Cardoza Law Corporation may be able to help. Fill out our contact form and let us know what’s going on. We will get back with you shortly with the help you need!