Attorney General Ford, 21 States Fight to Protect Consumer Credit during COVID Pandemic

April 29, 2020

Carson City, NV Amid the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford sent a letter to the nation’s three Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) that they he will not hesitate to enforce safeguards set in place to ensure consumers’ credit is properly protected and their credit reports are fairly and accurately reported. AG Ford is joined by a coalition of 21 attorneys general in this letter.

In a letter to Experian Information Solutions, Inc.; Equifax Information Services, LLC; and TransUnion LCC, the attorneys general outline their commitment to enforcing the consumer credit protections outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed last month, as well as in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), despite the federal government’s failureto commit to enforcing these protections. The letter emphasizes that the coalition will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance during the COVID-19 crisis and will hold the CRAs accountable for failure to meet their obligations.

“As Nevadans continue to struggle from the economic fallout of this public health crisis, protecting their credit is critical,” said AG Ford. “It is more important than ever that credit reporting agencies protect consumers against incorrect information in their credit reports that could prevent them from conducting activities they would be able to do before the pandemic began, like renting or buying a home and purchasing a car.” 

In March 2020, Congress enacted the CARES Act to extend relief to struggling consumers and amend the FCRA to enable consumers to obtain CARES Act relief without incurring lasting harm to their credit scores. To prevent such harm, the CARES Act requires furnishers to report a credit obligation as “current” if the obligation was current prior to the grant of a CARES Act accommodation. The FCRA also protects consumers by requiring CRAs to promptly investigate when consumers dispute the accuracy of information on their credit report. But, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Trump Administration’s leadership recently issued guidance that suggests it will not enforce certain requirements of the FCRA during the COVID-19 crisis.

The attorneys general warn the three CRAs that while the federal government refuses to protect consumers, each state will enforce the requirements of the FCRA and agreements between CRAs and states to conduct meaningful and timely investigations of consumer disputes of credit information. 

Today’s letter follows a letter the coalition sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on April 13, urging the agency to rescind its announcement that it would not enforce certain provisions of the CARES Act and the FCRA.

In addition to Nevada, other states that participated in the letter include: California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.