Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC, the top three personal credit information data providers in the US, have agreed to a major overhaul in their business practices.
Under a deal to be announced Monday with New York state, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have pledged to be more proactive in resolving disputes over information contained in credit reports, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The firms, which collect and disseminate credit information on more than 200 million Americans, will change the way they handle errors and list unpaid medical bills, the report said.
The changes, which will kick in over the next six to 39 months, represent the broadest industry overhaul in more than a decade, according to the Journal.
Under the new system, the credit-reporting firms will be required to use trained employees to review the documentation consumers submit when they believe there is an error in their files.
If a creditor says its information is correct, an employee at the credit-reporting firm must still look into it and resolve the dispute.
Also, the credit-reporting firms will have to wait 180 days before adding any medical-debt information to consumers’ credit reports. During that grace period, consumers will also have time to clear up discrepancies and catch up with other unpaid bills.
When medical debts are paid by an insurance company, regardless of the time frame, they will have to be removed from the credit report soon after.
The agreement comes after New York state began an investigation in 2012 into the firms’ practices after receiving several complaints from consumers.
The latest deal “is a good sign that the reporting agencies are finally willing to step up their game and respond to the needs of hardworking consumers and their families,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was quoted as saying.
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