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Credit Reporting Agencies Vow To Improve

The agreement between the three main credit agencies and the attorneys general of 31 states will pave the way for the continued rollout of the National Consumer Assistance Plan, an executive representing the three credit ratings agency said Wednesday (May 20).

As had been widely reported, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion agreed to a settlement with 31 state attorneys general to pay $6 million and change certain practices related to disputes and data collection over the next three years. Several of the business practice changes echo terms of the assistance plan, which was rolled out in March by the agencies.

Among the settlement terms mandated include: limits to the info that can be added to a report, such as fines, or debt tied to medical treatments. The agencies must also improve consumer education and resolve disputes more quickly, especially in cases involving identity theft.

In response to the credit reporting announcement, Stuart Pratt, the president and CEO of the Consumer Data Association, which represents the three credit agencies, said the settlement paves the way for continued initiatives between the agencies and the legal arena.

“In the interest of concluding the dialogue with the group of state attorneys general and with the goal of moving forward with the National Consumer Assistance Plan, we have agreed to the settlement announced today. The three nationwide credit reporting agencies have been in compliance with federal and state law, but as we showed in launching the National Consumer Assistance Plan, we do not hesitate to make improvements beyond what the law requires when doing so will benefit consumers," he said.

The plan, the executive said, “will enhance credit report accuracy, increase transparency, and provide meaningful benefits to consumers. Those benefits, which will be rolled out nationwide, stand as an example of what can be achieved when private industry and government officials work together.”

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