The Federal Trade Commission has issued an interim report to Congress under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which requires the FTC to study the accuracy and completeness of information in consumers’ credit reports and to consider methods for improving the accuracy and completeness of such information. The requirement includes five interim reports (every two years from December 2004) and a final report in 2014. The current report (attached) is the third interim report.
The previous interim report to Congress (December 2006) reviewed the results of an initial pilot study designed for testing a potential methodology for a nationwide survey, and it proposed a second pilot study to address certain problems uncovered in the first study. In both pilot studies, randomly selected consumers reviewed their credit reports with an expert to identify potential errors, and then disputed potential errors that the expert believed could have a material effect on their credit standing. The current report explains the methodological improvements tested in this second pilot study. As a next step, in 2009 FTC staff plans to submit a proposal, subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget, for a nationwide study assessing credit report accuracy.
The Commission’s goal is to conduct a nationwide survey of credit reports that is based on a nationally representative sample, uses a reliable method for identifying errors and omissions, and categorizes errors by type and seriousness in terms of potential consumer harm. The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report to Congress was 4-0.
(FTC File No. P044804)