1.3.8 Consumer Reporting Agencies
Consumer reporting agencies are businesses that maintain files of information relevant to consumers’ creditworthiness, employability, and insurability and disseminate that information to businesses dealing with consumers. A delinquent debt on a consumer’s credit report lowers the consumer’s credit rating making it harder to get worthwhile credit. A consumer with a delinquent debt listed on their credit report, and wanting credit to buy a car, get an affordable credit card, or buy a house, has a strong incentive to pay off the delinquent debt and get lower fees and interest on future credit. Employers may turn away job applicants based on delinquent debt, another big incentive to pay off a debt. Credit reports are a central cog of the American credit and debt collection industry.
The National Consumer Law Center’s treatise, Fair Credit Reporting,231 is the authoritative source for the law applying to consumer reporting agencies. There is a summary of credit reporting law as it applies to debt collection at § 14.6, infra. Section 7.11, infra, addresses 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(8), which often applies to debt collectors who use credit reporting to collect debts.
231 (9th ed. 2017), updated at www.nclc.org/library.