Friday, March 23, 2012

Section 1681 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Enactment of the Fair Credit Reporting Act brought consistency to the business of consumer credit reporting. Significant portions of the act and its subsequent amendments deal with consumer protection and the guarding of citizens' rights involving the escalating crime of identity theft. FCRA's in-depth treatment of consumer privacy issues effectively safeguards a person's credit report from unauthorized examination. The text and amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act exist as a part of U.S. Code, Title 15, Subchapter III, Sections 1681 through 1681x.

FCRA History

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act, enacted on Oct. 26, 1970, became effective on April 25, 1970. The FCRA was considered and passed by the House of Representatives on May 25, 1970, and considered and passed in the Senate on Sept. 18, 1970. Minor amendments tweaked the credit legislation over the years until a major revision, signed by President George W. Bush on Dec. 4, 2003, implemented the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act as a part of the FCRA.


    The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act authorized federal preemption of language contained in the original legislation, precluding individual states from adopting separate laws governing credit reporting, and initialized laws allowing consumers free access to a copy of their credit report. FACT also made significant changes to FCRA, addressing increasing consumer protection anxieties, focusing primarily on identity theft.

Other Protection

    Besides the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, other consumer protection laws permeate the U.S. Code. Chapter 41, Subchapter I, Sections 1601 through 1667f, deal with consumer credit cost disclosures; Subchapter II, Sections 1671 through 1677, address restrictions on the garnishment process; Subchapter II-A, Sections 1679 through 1679j, announce rules and regulations regarding credit repair organizations; Subchapter IV, Sections 1691 through 1691f, quantify equal credit opportunities; Subchapter V, Sections 1692 through 1692p, regulate debt collection practices; and Subchapter VI, Sections 1693 through 1693r, set parameters for electronic fund transfers.


    Besides protecting a consumer's identity with strict penalties for identity theft, 2003's Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act directed the big three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, to implement procedures whereby consumers could take advantage of the directive to allow free access to their individual credit reports. As a result, consumers may call 877-322-8228 to arrange for a copy of their credit report; request their credit report by accessing on the Internet; or by mailing a request for their credit report to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the Fair Credit Reporting Act and interprets its content, says consumers should not contact the three consumer reporting companies individually as they all provide the free annual credit report only through the aforementioned website, telephone number and common address.


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