Consumer Reporting Agencies

You may not know it, but there are companies collecting and compiling more than just credit information about you. Companies known as “Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies” are compiling and collecting information about your employment and educational background, insurance payment history and claims, bounced checks, evictions, rental payment history, medical conditions and prescription drug use. These companies sell this information in the form of consumer reports to certain businesses that then use the information to assess prospective employees or tenants, to determine the validity of checks before accepting them or to screen an insurance applicant’s request for insurance or medical benefits.

You should know, therefore, that the consumer reporting industry is not just limited to the traditional “big three” companies, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. These are credit reporting companies who collect and compile information about how you use credit and manage you bills. They issue credit reports to lenders and other businesses to assess applications for credit made by consumers.

In comparison, specialty consumer reporting agencies play a similar role in providing information, known as consumer reports, about prospective employees, tenants, check writers, insurance applicants and medical benefits applicants. These consumer reports play a critical role in every day life. They may determine whether a person gets a particular job, qualifies for an apartment, has a continued ability to write or cash checks, or receives applied for utilities or medical benefits or insurance.

You should be aware that these specialty consumer reporting agencies and the businesses who provide them information are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This means that consumers may obtain a free annual copy of their information on file with the consumer reporting company. It also means that consumers have a right to dispute any inaccurate or outdated information that may be subject to a consumer report issued by a specialty consumer reporting agency.   The failure of the consumer reporting agency or its furnisher of information to conduct a reasonable investigation of any such dispute gives rise to a consumer’s claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Please contact Jim Pietz at 412-281-8400 for more information about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Or for a free consultation, please click here:  Contact Us.

The names of some of the Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies are not well known, but they include such companies as Certegy Check Services, Chex Systems, Telecheck, Insurance Information Exhchange, C.L.U.E., Inc., Innovis, L2C, MIB, Inc., Milliman IntellisScript, Accurate Background, American DataBank.

For a more in depth understanding of consumer reports and specialty consumer reporting agencies, please follow this link at the website of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s website:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/1813/what-are-specialty-consumer-reporting-agencies-and-what-kind-information-do-they-collect.html.

You should also read the latest issue of Consumer Action News, Fall 2014 by following this link:

http://www.consumer-action.org/news/articles/specialty_credit_report_issue_fall_2014.

For another excellent discussion of specialty consumer reports, please follow this link to the website of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

https://www.privacyrights.org/other-consumer-reports-what-you-should-know-about-specialty-reports.

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