January 26, 2021 — Amicus Brief

NCLC’s amicus brief was joined by Maine Equal Justice in support of the State of Maine. The brief argues the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) text and structure, as well as its legislative history, clearly indicate that Congress did not intend to enact a sweeping prohibition against all state regulation of the contents of a consumer report. The policies underlying Maine’s Economic Abuse and Medical Debt Provisions are consistent with the goals of the FCRA, including accurate consumer reporting, and supplement already-existing provisions of federal law or codify existing practices agreed to by the credit reporting industry. Maine passed the Economic Abuse Provision to alleviate the damage to credit caused by economic abuse. It does not contradict the FCRA, but rather supplements and streamlines procedures already available to survivors of economic abuse. Because Maine law now also prohibits collection of debts caused by economic abuse, prohibiting the reporting of these debts reflects the credit status of survivors more accurately. The net effect is the removal of negative credit information when medical debt has been paid or settled in full and the appearance of positive credit data when medical debt is in repayment. These changes will in turn lead to higher credit scores that accurately reflect the financial status of a consumer.