The Federal Trade Commission has issued a fourth interim report to Congress describing progress the agency has made on a national study examining the accuracy of credit reports. Congress directed the FTC to conduct a study of credit report accuracy and provide interim reports every two years, starting in 2004 and continuing through 2012, with a final report in 2014.
According to the FTC’s December 2010 report, the study will be the first to directly engage the three main groups in the credit reporting process: consumers, national consumer reporting agencies, and furnishers of information to the reporting agencies. Approximately 1,000 consumers, randomly selected throughout the nation, will review their credit reports from all three national credit bureaus with an expert, who will help identify potential errors on their reports. Participants will be encouraged to dispute errors that could affect their credit standing, and credit reports with alleged errors will be sent to Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) for rescoring. The study will estimate the proportion of consumers who would find one or more material errors in their credit reports, and it will reveal the main types of errors, their frequency, and their impact on a consumer’s credit standing. Overall, the study will categorize errors by type and seriousness in terms of potential consumer harm.
The report indicates that the FTC study is currently underway; as of the date of the report, 295 consumers had begun participation in the study. The data collection phase of the study should be finished by October 2011, and the Commission’s next interim report to Congress – due in December 2012 – will provide a full analysis of the collected data.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report to Congress was 5-0.