Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs released its annual report identifying trends among consumer complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The report highlights credit and consumer reporting issues and medical billing and collection issues as some of the most common types of complaints received by the Office of Servicemember Affairs.
Credit or Consumer Reporting
The CFPB received its highest volume of complaints related to incorrect information on individual credit reports. These complaints involved data furnishers, consumer reporting companies, or sometimes both. Nationwide consumer reporting companies such as Equifax, Experian, and Transunion made up more than 60 percent of these complaints. The types of issues servicemembers face include the appearance of an unknown debt on the servicemember’s report, identify theft, and only learning of a debt after receiving a copy of the servicemember’s credit report. Medical debt is another source of incorrect information found on servicemembers’ credit reports.
When these errors were found on credit reports, servicemember reported having issues removing the incorrect information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides servicemembers and consumers the right to cure incorrect information by raising a dispute. If a dispute is raised by a servicemember based on the incompleteness or inaccuracy of the servicemember’s information, the reporting agency is under a legal obligation to investigate. The report documents issues servicemembers have run into when trying to cure incorrect information during the dispute process with credit reporting agency. On one occasion, a servicemember reported to the CFPB a credit reporting agency failed to complete an investigation and kept the investigation open even after the investigation window had expired. Credit unions may have obligations in this area as well, as Regulation V requires credit unions to investigate “direct disputes” members file about data a credit union furnishes. This NAFCU compliance blog discusses a credit union’s obligations to investigate disputes.
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