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States tell credit agencies they will enforce safeguards

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined his counterparts in 21 other states to send a letter to the nation’s three consumer reporting agencies, letting them know the attorneys general will not hesitate to enforce safeguards set in place to ensure consumers’ credit is properly protected and their credit reports are fairly and accurately reported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Experian Information Solutions, Equifax Information Services and TransUnion, the attorneys general outlined their commitment to enforcing the consumer credit protections outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed last month, as well as in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, despite the federal government’s failure to commit to enforcing these protections.

The letter emphasizes that the coalition will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance during the COVID-19 crisis and will hold the CRAs accountable for failure to meet their obligations.

“As Nevadans continue to struggle from the economic fallout of this public health crisis, protecting their credit is critical,” Ford said. “It is more important than ever that credit reporting agencies protect consumers against incorrect information in their credit reports that could prevent them from conducting activities they would be able to do before the pandemic began, like renting or buying a home and purchasing a car.”

In March, Congress enacted the CARES Act to extend relief to struggling consumers and amend the FCRA to enable consumers to obtain CARES Act relief without incurring lasting harm to their credit scores. To prevent such harm, the CARES Act requires furnishers to report a credit obligation as “current” if the obligation was current prior to the grant of a CARES Act accommodation.

The FCRA also protects consumers by requiring CRAs to promptly investigate when consumers dispute the accuracy of information on their credit report. But, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued guidance that suggests it will not enforce certain requirements of the FCRA during the COVID-19 crisis.

The attorneys general warned the three CRAs that while the federal government refuses to protect consumers, each state will enforce the requirements of the FCRA and agreements between CRAs and states to conduct meaningful and timely investigations of consumer disputes of credit information.

Today’s letter follows a letter the attorneys general sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on April 13, urging the agency to rescind its announcement that it would not enforce certain provisions of the CARES Act and the FCRA during the pandemic.

In addition to Nevada, other states that participated in the letter include California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin as well as the District of Columbia.

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