New bill aims to improve consumer credit repair / Public News Service

A bill just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to give consumers a boost as they combat inaccuracies in their credit reports.

House Resolution 7919 would remove a loophole in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that allows credit grantors and debt collectors to ignore correspondence sent on a consumer’s behalf by a credit repair company or community organization non-profit.

Michael Claunch, a lobbyist who represents customers in the credit repair industry, said consumers should be able to get help navigating a complex system.

“Removing this opt-out provision is an important first step to increasing transparency and increasing responsiveness to consumers who need help in this area,” Claunch said.

Opponents are expected to argue that their current practices are legal and that the change would create an unnecessary burden on their domain.

Andre Chapple, pastor of Faith Church LA which runs financial education workshops, said bad credit can interfere with parents’ ability to find jobs or move their children to a safer area.

“People who want to leave unsafe neighborhoods but contain inaccuracies and outdated material that lower their credit score are being denied,” Chapple observed. “It just makes it harder for those who are already struggling. And it’s hard enough. Let’s do something different.”

Esteban Nunez, chief strategy consultant for the Anti-Recidivist Coalition, said people trying to rebuild their lives after spending time behind bars are particularly vulnerable if they have bad credit or no credit history.

“We are compounding layer after layer after layer of barriers,” Nunez asserted. “It’s incredibly difficult for people to find housing and jobs because they have no credit.”

A recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report found that 98% of the time, the big three credit reporting agencies fail to provide relief to people who complain about errors in their credit reports.

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