More on the FTC Study of the Credit Reporting Industry

We have posted here and here on the new FTC study showing that Americans' credit reports are often inaccurate in harmful ways. Now, read the study itself -- all 370 pages of it. And take a look at this article on the study by Todd Ruger. There, Ira Rheingold, the head of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, says that there's a need for federal agency enforcement of the laws already on the books. He suggests that private litigation won't solve the underlying problems because the credit reporting industry--which is an oligopoly dominated by three big companies--view that litigation as just another operational cost:

The credit industry has challenged the study's finding. But consumer advocates said the story is nothing new. Ira Rheingold, executive director of The National Association of Consumer Advocates in Washington, said anti-consumer practices at credit reporting groups have been going on for more than a decade, and that the credit bureaus have decided facing possible litigation from consumers is just the cost of doing business. The laws regarding credit reporting agencies are "pretty clear"—and so is the need is for enforcement, Rheingold said, either from the FTC or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "They're not going to change their ways unless they're forced to change their ways," Rheingold said. "The question is: Can we make them comply with the law? Clearly, private litigation hasn't worked sufficiently."