Credit Reporting + Data Brokers

On June 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) released a proposed rule amending Regulation V, which implements the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), concerning medical debt. The proposed rule would remove a regulatory exception that currently allows creditors to obtain and use information on medical debts for credit eligibility determinations. Additionally, the proposed rule would generally prohibit consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from furnishing consumer reports containing medical debt information to creditors. Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until August 12, 2024. The Bureau aims to finalize the rule by early 2025.

On May 16, the Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 2933. The bill amends the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act making it unlawful for a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to create a consumer report containing any adverse information that the CRA knows or should know relates to medical debt incurred by the consumer or a collection action against the consumer to collect medical debt. The bill would also make it unlawful for a CRA to maintain a file on any consumer containing information relating to medical debt. The bill is currently awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) filed a complaint against SoLo Funds, Inc., a fintech company operating a small-dollar, short-term lending platform. The CFPB alleges that SoLo Funds engaged in deceptive practices related to the total cost of loans, servicing, and collection of void and uncollectible loans in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and engaged in providing consumer reports governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) but failed to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of those consumer reports.

In Holden v. Holiday Inn Club Vacations Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a consolidated district court ruling granting summary judgment for the defendant furnisher in two Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) actions centering on whether the consumers’ disputes with the furnisher were actionable. While the Eleventh Circuit declined to impose a bright-line rule that only FCRA claims based on factual disputes are actionable, it affirmed the district courts’ summary judgment ruling, finding that for consumer disputes to be actionable against furnishers, the alleged inaccuracy must be “objectively and readily verifiable.”

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed the decision of a California district court finding that the furnisher conducted a reasonable investigation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it updated its credit reporting to more accurately reflect the plaintiffs’ payment history.

A U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri recently granted a defendant’s summary judgment motion in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) case, holding that the plaintiff lacked standing because she did not show an injury in fact traceable to the defendant’s alleged consumer reporting.

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) submitted letters to senators in Connecticut and California supporting their proposals to prohibit medical debt reporting.

In March, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss a claim that the defendant violated § 1692e(8) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when it failed to report a debt as disputed. Specifically, the court determined it could disregard the allegations in the complaint that the plaintiff had disputed the debt during a telephone call, because the defendant attached the transcript of the call to the motion to dismiss that contradicted the plaintiff’s allegations.

In a recent speech at the National Consumer Law Center/National Association of Consumer Advocates Spring Training, Seth Frotman, General Counsel of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau), focused on medical billing and collections and tenant screening and debt, emphasizing the CFPB’s enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in these areas.