Ingram v. Waypoint Resource Group, LLC
When a consumer reporting agency forwards a consumer’s dispute to the company that furnished the disputed information, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the furnisher to conduct an investigation. The Bureau, joined by the Federal Trade Commission, filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit arguing that there is no exception to this requirement for disputes that are frivolous or lack adequate support. This is because, first, the text of the statute is unambiguous: furnishers are required to investigate all disputes forwarded by consumer reporting agencies. If Congress had intended to create an exception for frivolous disputes, it knew how to do so and, indeed, did so expressly in other parts of the FCRA. Second, a central tenet of the FCRA is that consumers are entitled to notice of the outcome of their disputes and an opportunity to cure. Allowing furnishers to reject purportedly frivolous disputes risks opening a loophole to this rule, whereby consumers may never be advised of the outcome of their disputes and will not be provided the information necessary to cure any deficiencies. As a result, inaccuracies in credit reports may go uncorrected. Third, the FCRA envisions consumer reporting agencies serving as the gatekeepers charged with filtering frivolous disputes in the first instance before forwarding them to furnishers. There is thus no need to read an atextual exception into the FCRA when the statutory scheme already includes a mechanism to protect furnishers from investigating frivolous disputes.