Bureau alleges, in new analysis, 3 big credit bureaus failed to fully respond to consumers over credit report errors

The three big credit bureaus “failed to fully respond to consumers with errors,” a report released Wednesday by the federal consumer financial protection agency charged.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said its report, which represented a new analysis, showed that in 2021 Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion together reported relief in response to less than 2% of covered complaints, down from nearly 25% of covered complaints in 2019.

The report looks at errors in credit reports as recounted by consumers to the credit reporting agencies. According to CFPB, consumers submitted more than 700,000 complaints to the bureau regarding Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion from January 2020 through September 2021. Those complaints, the bureau said, represented more than 50% of all complaints received by the agency for that period.

“Consumers submit more complaints about inaccurate information on their credit and consumer reports than about any other problem,” CFPB said. “Consumers most frequently assert that the inaccurate information belongs to someone else, and consumers often describe being victims of identity theft.”

The bureau said its analysis found the three companies often failed to provide substantive responses, especially when they alleged the complaints were sent in by third parties. However, consumers can authorize third-party representatives to submit complaints on their behalf, the CFPB noted.

The CFPB said key findings of its report are:

  • Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion relied heavily on template complaint responses instead of providing meaningful and thorough responses to consumers, despite having up to 60 calendar days to respond.
  • Beginning in early 2020, Experian and TransUnion stopped providing substantive responses to consumers’ complaints if they suspected that a third party was involved in submitting a complaint.
  • In many instances, Equifax and TransUnion promised to investigate but failed to provide the outcomes of their investigations to the CFPB and instead stated that they would forward the complaints to their “dispute channel.”

CFPB Releases Report Detailing Consumer Complaint Response Deficiencies of the Big Three Credit Bureaus