In the aftermath of Wells Fargo's fraudulent conduct that led to newly opened credit and bank accounts without customers' permission, NACA joined other consumer, civil rights, and advocacy groups to urge credit reporrting companies to provide free annual reports to the affected consumers in the language in which they are proficient. According to media reports and other sources, many of the consumers affected by the Wells Fargo scandal are immigrants and limited English proficient (LEP). They need the ability to access and review credit/specialty reports in the language in which they are proficient.
NACA joins consumer, civil rights, labor, and community organizations on a letter in support of the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The bill would single-handedly enact a sea change to make the American credit reporting system more accurate and fair for consumers.
This legislation will address the growing problem of medical debt on consumers’ credit reports. The number of American adults under the age of 65 carrying medical debt jumped from 21 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2007. According to the Commonwealth Fund, nearly 78 million working age adults accrued medical debt in 2007. That same year, twenty-eight million Americans were contacted by a collection agency for unpaid medical bills. Many consumers are not even aware that medical bills are found on their credit reports as a “debt in collection.” Unfortunately, one negative medical collection mark can drop a consumer's credit score, potentially costing that consumer thousands of dollars in higher interest rates on home and automobile loans, credit cards and other revolving lines of credit. Moreover, even after consumers have paid off delinquent medical debt, the negative information stays on their credit record for seven years.
There is consensus that the FTC’s pilot studies about credit report accuracy failed on several fronts. This is not surprising given the involvement of contractors with little background in Fair Information Practices principles and the dubious methodology they employed. Thus, it is crucial that the FTC “get it right” this time and fulfill the goals Congress set forth in the FACT Act. Please understand: We do not underestimate the challenges involved.