You have the right to know what nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies are saying about you. And you’re entitled to one free report each year, just like with the traditional nationwide consumer reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. What’s more, nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies have to make it easy for you to get a copy of any file they keep on you – at a minimum, by providing a toll-free number for you to call and order your report. This is an important right, because if you don’t know what’s in those files, you can’t dispute any inaccuracies.
That’s exactly what we said to nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies in a bulletin we sent out today. Under federal law, they must give you an easy way to get a free copy of your report every 12 months.
So what exactly are nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies and how do they affect you?
These are companies that collect information on a nationwide basis about medical records or payments, residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history, or insurance claims. Like the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), they gather and report information about you to creditors, landlords, insurance companies, employers, and others.
You can order reports – including your annual free reports – from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at annualcreditreport.com – and we recommend that you check your report with each company at least once per year. But you will have to order the specialty consumer reports individually from each reporting company.
To help you access specialty and other consumer reports, we created a list of approximately 40 companies, with the companies’ websites and toll-free telephone numbers. The type of information collected may vary by the company and its specialty industry.
The list includes both the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies and a longer list of other companies that have identified themselves as consumer reporting companies or provide consumers access to their consumer reports. Not all companies are required to provide a free copy of your annual report, although under federal law all consumer reporting companies must provide you with a copy of your report for a reasonable fee. Please consult the list for further details.
You may not need to check with every single specialty company on the list. Different companies collect information about different things: your medical records or payments, residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history, or insurance claims. Many may not even have any information about you. But you may want to check with some or all of these companies:
- If you were a victim of identity theft or think someone may have fraudulently cashed checks using your bank account.
- Before applying for insurance.
- Before applying for a lease.
- If you’ve applied for a new job and your potential new employer asks for your written authorization to get a report.
Tip: Look for and fix mistakes. Errors in your consumer reports, or fraud caused by identity theft, can make borrowing more expensive, or prevent you from getting credit, insurance, a lease, or a new job.
You’ll also want to make sure the information is up to date.
SUBMIT A COMPLAINT
You can now submit complaints about consumer reporting agencies to us.
If you believe that there’s incorrect information on your consumer report, start by filing a dispute with the consumer reporting company and getting a response directly from the credit reporting company itself. You can also file a dispute with the company that furnished the information to the consumer reporting company.
After you file a complaint with the consumer reporting company, if you are dissatisfied with the resolution, file a complaint with us.
Ask CFPB for more information about credit reports and credit reporting companies.