Credit report bullying, phony medical bill collectors continue to plague military, veterans, families, report asserts

Problems with coercive credit reporting and false medical bill collections – including billing inaccuracies and aggressive debt collector tactics to recover allegedly unpaid medical bills – are cited by military service members, their families, and veterans, according to a report issued Monday by the federal consumer financial protection agency.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said its Office of Servicemember Affairs 2021 Annual Report also cites complaints from servicemembers, families, and veterans of failures by credit reporting companies in helping to resolve inaccuracies and other credit reporting issues.

Last year, the agency said, it received more than 42,000 complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and military families. “The most common types of complaints – more than 60% – were about credit reporting and debt collection,” the bureau also said.

The complaints fall into three general areas, according to the agency. They are:

  • Concerns about faulty credit reporting;
  • Nationwide credit reporting companies fail to appropriately respond;
  • Medical billing errors and inaccuracies drive complaints about credit reporting and debt collection.

“Collecting debts that are not actually owed can violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and furnishing information about debts that are not owed can violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” the bureau asserted. “Additionally, federal law requires the nationwide credit reporting companies to conduct a review of certain complaints sent to them by the CFPB and to report their determinations and actions to the CFPB. The nationwide credit reporting companies’ failure to timely and accurately respond to complaints takes a particular toll on servicemembers, veterans, and military families.”

The CFPB said it will use supervision and enforcement authorities to meet its statutory objectives. That includes ensuring that military members and their families “receive quality responses to their complaints and do not suffer from unfair debt collection or credit reporting practices,” the bureau said.

CFPB report, Office of Servicemember Affairs Annual Report, January – December 2021