Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have agreed to improve their approach to fixing mistakes on credit reports and address consumer disputes more effectively under a $6 million settlement with 31 state attorneys.
The credit bureaus pledged to more closely scrutinize companies that furnish them with data and to curb the marketing of credit monitoring products to consumers who dispute information on their reports. It expands upon a March 9 agreement between New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the companies.
The companies agreed to add protections for consumers who have disputes, wait 180 days before placing medical debt in reports, refrain from adding fines and tickets to reports, and educate consumers unhappy with dispute resolutions about their options. Consumers can obtain one extra free credit report in a 12-month period if they have disputes.
The settlement followed a probe begun by Ohio Attorney General Mike De-Wine in 2012, amid concern that consumers were having trouble fixing flawed reports, potentially impeding their ability to buy homes or cars, or get jobs.
Stuart Pratt, president of the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade group representing the credit bureaus, said that apart from the payments the latest accord “essentially adopts” the Schneiderman plan.
Pratt said it was reached with a goal of moving forward on that plan, and “in the interest of concluding the dialogue” with the other attorneys general.