CFPB issues guidance on background checks, credit file disclosure

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today issued two advisory opinions for consumer reporting companies to address what it said were inaccurate background check reports and “sloppy” credit file sharing practices.

The first advisory opinion on background checks states that the reports must be complete, accurate and free of information that is duplicative, outdated, expunged, sealed or otherwise legally restricted from public access, according to the agency. For example, a criminal charge that does not result in a conviction generally cannot be reported by a consumer reporting company beyond the seven-year period that starts at the time of the charge.

The second advisory opinion on credit file disclosure states that people are entitled to receive all information contained in their consumer file at the time they request it, along with the source or sources of the information contained within, including both the original and any intermediary or vendor source. Among other things, the opinion states that consumers only need to make a request for their report and provide proper identification—they do not need to use specific language or industry jargon to be provided their complete file.