The New York State Attorney General, Erick Schneiderman, has just announced an agreement with the top three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Known as the National Consumer Assistance Plan, the agreement is set to be rolled out over the next 39 months. The changes contained in the plan have the potential to solve some of the irritating credit reporting problems faced by consumers. Let’s take a look at what is in the agreement:
- Medical expenses will not be reported as delinquent until after a 180 day waiting period. This will allow for the time required by insurance companies to process the medical claim. In a December post, we reported that many medical creditors “park” or report medical debts to the credit bureaus very quickly as a pressure tactic to get you to pay faster…even before your insurance company has processed the claim. This change should eliminate that problem entirely.
- The CRAs must make sweeping changes to the dispute resolution process. Currently, if you dispute something on your credit report, the creditor has the final say. If the creditor says you owe on a past due debt, you have no further recourse. With the changes just announced, the Credit reporting agencies must investigate your claim further.
- The Credit Reporting Agencies must increase the visibility of annual credit report.com. The New York AG determined that many consumers are not aware that they can obtain a free credit report from each of the big credit bureaus every year. The agreement also adds a second free credit report when the consumer’s credit is changed due to the dispute process or in cases of identity theft or fraud.
- Debt that did not originate from an agreement to pay or from a contract will not be entered onto your credit report at all. This means past due fines can no longer be included in your credit report.
The changes in the agreement will go a long ways toward leveling the field between consumers and creditors. However, the importance of regularly reviewing your credit report still stands. Reading your credit report gives you the opportunity to catch and dispute errors and helps to protect you from identity theft and fraud. You can review your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you need assistance reading and understanding your credit report, Apprisen can help. Call 1-800-355-2227 or visit Apprisen online.