The Integrity News
Vol. XII No. 2
January 8, 2003
"objective risk management services"
January 8, 2003
The FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection,
has just (1/2/03) obtained a 20 year
Consent Order against a company for violating
Sec. 615 of the FCRA because they did not
provide Adverse Action Notices.
That company will have to make every
detail of its internal operations open to FTC
inspection for the next 5 years, and pay
a substantial fine per incident for any
additional FCRA violations.
COMPLYING WITH THE FCRA
IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
We are all consumers. The FCRA protects ALL
consumers. The FCRA is the Federal governing
law whenever "consideration is given" (that is,
payment of any kind is made), in exchange for
personal records or information about a Consumer.
So, unless there are specific State laws prohibiting
your access, you can go to a source in person
(courthouse, DMV Bureau, etc.) and retrieve a
public record about a Consumer, for your own use.
However, you cannot PAY someone, in person, on
the Internet, via fax, or whatever, for a record
about a Consumer, without the prior written
Authorization of that Consumer. In fact, you can
not ask a Consumer for their written Authorization
until after you give that Consumer a Disclosure
Statement which tells them that you may possibly
be checking their records, and the Consumer
acknowledges that they have received that
Disclosure Statement along with a copy of their
Consumer's Rights Under the FCRA.
Therefore, public records are "public" only when you go to
the effort of going to the source and getting them
yourself, for your own use. When you pay someone
to retrieve records for you, they are NOT public,
and you therefore must have the subject Consumer's
prior written Authorization to request them.
Further, the record that you pay for must itself
be furnished to you in accordance with the FCRA.
That means that it must be obtained for a
"permissible purpose". Also, among other things,
it must verified AT THE SOURCE (courthouse,
DMV Bureau, etc.) as of the date of the report,
if the information in it may result in your taking
any adverse action concerning the Consumer.
Therefore, even if you have a Consumer's prior
written Authorization to obtain a report, it must
be "freshly retrieved" (verified that day at the
source). That is why it is illegal to use stored
data from gigantic databases to look for things
that **may** cause you to make an adverse action
decision about a Consumer.
And if the report does comply with the FCRA,
and you do take an adverse action, then you
MUST provide an Adverse Action Notice to the
Consumer along with (1) a copy of any report(s)
that helped you, in whole or in part, to reach that
adverse action decision, and (2) another copy of
the Consumer's Rights under the FCRA.
There is a lot more to FCRA compliance than just
the brief topics above, but that is why it is so
important when we tell you that reports from
The Integrity Center are 100% FCRA compliant.
Feel free to call us about any aspect of FCRA
compliance. (972) 484-6140