Ten years ago, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) issued Automated Injustice: How a Mechanized Dispute System Frustrates Consumers Seeking to Fix Errors in their Credit Reports, the landmark report on the serious dysfunctions in the American credit reporting system. Since then, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began exercising supervision authority over the Big Three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), and started the difficult task of compelling them to reform their procedures and practices. A coalition of more than 30 state Attorneys General reached a breakthrough settlement with the credit bureaus in 2015, requiring an array of reforms.
Despite these very laudable achievements, the credit bureaus and the companies that supply them with information still have serious problems in ensuring the accuracy of credit reports, affecting millions of American consumers. The dispute process required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that was intended to fix these problems remains ineffective and biased.
This report provides a 10-year update to NCLC’s 2009 Automated Injustice report. It uses stories from lawsuits and the CFPB Complaint Database to illustrate that American consumers still suffer from credit reporting abuse.