FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT, 15 U.S.C. § 1691 ET SEQ. (“FCRA”)

This version of the FCRA is complete as of January 7, 2002. It includes the amendments to the FCRA set forth in the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-208, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Title II, Subtitle D, Chapter 1), Section 311 of the Intelligence Authorization for Fiscal Year 1998 (Public Law 105-107), the Consumer Reporting Employment Clarification Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-347), Section 506 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (Public Law 106-102), and Sections 358(g) and 505(c) of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) (Public Law 107-56).

§ 601 Short title
§ 602 Congressional findings and statement of purpose
§ 603 Definitions; rules of construction
§ 604 Permissible purposes of consumer reports
§ 605 Requirements relating to information contained in consumer reports
§ 606 Disclosure of investigative consumer reports
§ 607 Compliance procedures
§ 608 Disclosures to governmental agencies
§ 609 Disclosures to consumers
§ 610 Conditions and form of disclosure to consumers
§ 611 Procedure in case of disputed accuracy
§ 612 Charges for certain disclosures
§ 613 Public record information for employment purposes
§ 614 Restrictions on investigative consumer reports
§ 615 Requirements on users of consumer reports
§ 616 Civil liability for willful noncompliance
§ 617 Civil liability for negligent noncompliance
§ 618 Jurisdiction of courts; limitation of actions
§ 619 Obtaining information under false pretenses
§ 620 Unauthorized disclosures by officers or employees
§ 621 Administrative enforcement
§ 622 Information on overdue child support obligations
§ 623 Responsibilities of furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies
§ 624 Relation to State laws
§ 625 Disclosures to FBI for counterintelligence purposes
§ 626 Disclosures to governmental agencies for counterterrorism

§ 601. Short title
This title may be cited as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
§ 602. Congressional findings and statement of purpose [15 U.S.C. § 1681]
(a) Accuracy and fairness of credit reporting. The Congress makes the following
findings:
(1) The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting.
Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and
unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is
essential to the continued functioning of the banking system.
(2) An elaborate mechanism has been developed for investigating and evaluating the
credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, and general
reputation of consumers.
(3) Consumer reporting agencies have assumed a vital role in assembling and
evaluating consumer credit and other information on consumers.
(4) There is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave
responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right
to privacy.
(b) Reasonable procedures. It is the purpose of this title to require that consumer
reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce
for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which
is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy,
relevancy, and proper utilization of such information in accordance with the
requirements of this title.
§ 603. Definitions; rules of construction [15 U.S.C. § 1681a]
(a) Definitions and rules of construction set forth in this section are applicable for the
purposes of this title.
(b) The term “person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate,
cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or other
entity.
(c) The term “consumer” means an individual.
(d) Consumer report.
(1) In general. The term “consumer report” means any written, oral, or other
communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a
consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general
reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected
to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor
in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for
(A) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household
purposes;
(B) employment purposes; or
(C) any other purpose authorized under section 604 [§ 1681b].
(2) Exclusions. The term “consumer report” does not include
(A) any
(i) report containing information solely as to transactions or
experiences between the consumer and the person making the
report;
(ii) communication of that information among persons related by common
ownership or affiliated by corporate control; or
(iii) communication of other information among persons related by
common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if it is clearly
and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer that the information
may be communicated among such persons and the consumer is
given the opportunity, before the time that the information is
initially communicated, to direct that such information not be
communicated among such persons;
(B) any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or
indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device;
(C) any report in which a person who has been requested by a third party to
make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer
conveys his or her decision with respect to such request, if the third party
advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the
request was made, and such person makes the disclosures to the
consumer required under section 615 [§ 1681m]; or
(D) a communication described in subsection (o).
(e) The term “investigative consumer report” means a consumer report or portion thereof
in which information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal
characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with
neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with
whom he is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of
information. However, such information shall not include specific factual information
on a consumer’s credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or
from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from
a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.
(f) The term “consumer reporting agency” means any person which, for monetary fees,
dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the
practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information
on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and
which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing
or furnishing consumer reports.
(g) The term “file,” when used in connection with information on any consumer, means
all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer
reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.
(h) The term “employment purposes” when used in connection with a consumer report
means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment,
promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.
(i) The term “medical information” means information or records obtained, with the
consent of the individual to whom it relates, from licensed physicians or medical
practitioners, hospitals, clinics, or other medical or medically related facilities.
(j) Definitions relating to child support obligations.
(1) Overdue support. The term “overdue support” has the meaning given to such
term in section 666(e) of title 42 [Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 666(e)].
(2) State or local child support enforcement agency. The term “State or local child
support enforcement agency” means a State or local agency which administers a
State or local program for establishing and enforcing child support obligations.
(k) Adverse action.
(1) Actions included. The term “adverse action”
(A) has the same meaning as in section 701(d)(6) of the Equal Credit
Opportunity Act; and
(B) means
(i) a denial or cancellation of, an increase in any charge for, or a
reduction or other adverse or unfavorable change in the terms of
coverage or amount of, any insurance, existing or applied for, in
connection with the underwriting of insurance;
(ii) a denial of employment or any other decision for employment
purposes that adversely affects any current or prospective employee;
(iii) a denial or cancellation of, an increase in any charge for, or any
other adverse or unfavorable change in the terms of, any license or
benefit described in section 604(a)(3)(D) [§ 1681b]; and
(iv) an action taken or determination that is
(I) made in connection with an application that was made by,
or a transaction that was initiated by, any consumer, or in
connection with a review of an account under section
604(a)(3)(F)(ii)[§ 1681b]; and
(II) adverse to the interests of the consumer.
(2) Applicable findings, decisions, commentary, and orders. For purposes of any
determination of whether an action is an adverse action under paragraph (1)(A),
all appropriate final findings, decisions, commentary, and orders issued under
section 701(d)(6) of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by the Board of Governors
of the Federal Reserve System or any court shall apply.
(l) Firm offer of credit or insurance. The term “firm offer of credit or insurance” means
any offer of credit or insurance to a consumer that will be honored if the consumer
is determined, based on information in a consumer report on the consumer, to meet
the specific criteria used to select the consumer for the offer, except that the offer
may be further conditioned on one or more of the following:
(1) The consumer being determined, based on information in the consumer’s
application for the credit or insurance, to meet specific criteria bearing on credit
worthiness or insurability, as applicable, that are established
(A) before selection of the consumer for the offer; and
(B) for the purpose of determining whether to extend credit or insurance
pursuant to the offer.
(2) Verification
(A) that the consumer continues to meet the specific criteria used to select the
consumer for the offer, by using information in a consumer report on the
consumer, information in the consumer’s application for the credit or
insurance, or other information bearing on the credit worthiness or
insurability of the consumer; or
(B) of the information in the consumer’s application for the credit or
insurance, to determine that the consumer meets the specific criteria
bearing on credit worthiness or insurability.
(3) The consumer furnishing any collateral that is a requirement for the extension of
the credit or insurance that was
(A) established before selection of the consumer for the offer of credit or
insurance; and
(B) disclosed to the consumer in the offer of credit or insurance.
(m) Credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer. The
term”credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer” does
not include the use of a consumer report by a person with which the consumer
has an account or insurance policy, for purposes of
(1) reviewing the account or insurance policy; or
(2) collecting the account.
(n) State. The term “State” means any State, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the
District of Columbia, and any territory or possession of the United States.
(o) Excluded communications. A communication is described in this subsection if it is
a communication
(1) that, but for subsection (d)(2)(D), would be an investigative consumer report;
(2) that is made to a prospective employer for the purpose of
(A) procuring an employee for the employer; or
(B) procuring an opportunity for a natural person to work for the employer;
(3) that is made by a person who regularly performs such procurement;
(4) that is not used by any person for any purpose other than a purpose described in
subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2); and
(5) with respect to which
(A) the consumer who is the subject of the communication
(i) consents orally or in writing to the nature and scope of the
communication, before the collection of any information for the
purpose of making the communication;
(ii) consents orally or in writing to the making of the communication to a
prospective employer, before the making of the communication; and
(iii) in the case of consent under clause (i) or (ii) given orally, is
provided written confirmation of that consent by the person making
the communication, not later than 3 business days after the receipt
of the consent by that person;
(B) the person who makes the communication does not, for the purpose of
making the communication, make any inquiry that if made by a
prospective employer of the consumer who is the subject of the
communication would violate any applicable Federal or State equal
employment opportunity law or regulation; and
(C) the person who makes the communication
(i) discloses in writing to the consumer who is the subject of the
communication, not later than 5 business days after receiving any
request from the consumer for such disclosure, the nature and
substance of all information in the consumer’s file at the time of
the request, except that the sources of any information that is
acquired solely for use in making the communication and is
actually used for no other purpose, need not be disclosed other
than under appropriate discovery procedures in any court of
competent jurisdiction in which an action is brought; and
(ii) notifies the consumer who is the subject of the communication, in
writing, of the consumer’s right to request the information described in
clause (i).
(p) Consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a
nationwide basis. The term “consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains
files on consumers on a nationwide basis” means a consumer reporting agency that
regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating, and maintaining, for the
purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties bearing on a consumer’s
credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, each of the following regarding
consumers residing nationwide:
(1) Public record information.
(2) Credit account information from persons who furnish that information regularly
and in the ordinary course of business.
§ 604. Permissible purposes of consumer reports [15 U.S.C. § 1681b]
(a) In general. Subject to subsection (c), any consumer reporting agency may furnish a
consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:
(1) In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or
a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.
(2) In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.
(3) To a person which it has reason to believe
(A) intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction
involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and
involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account
of, the consumer; or
(B) intends to use the information for employment purposes; or
(C) intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of
insurance involving the consumer; or
(D) intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the
consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a
governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant’s
financial responsibility or status; or
(E) intends to use the information, as a potential investor or servicer, or
current insurer, in connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the
credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation; or
(F) otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information
(i) in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the
consumer; or
(ii) to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to
meet the terms of the account.
(4) In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement
agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an
agency), if the person making the request certifies to the consumer reporting
agency that
(A) the consumer report is needed for the purpose of establishing an
individual’s capacity to make child support payments or determining the
appropriate level of such payments;
(B) the paternity of the consumer for the child to which the obligation relates has
been established or acknowledged by the consumer in accordance with State
laws under which the obligation arises (if required by those laws);
(C) the person has provided at least 10 days’ prior notice to the consumer
whose report is requested, by certified or registered mail to the last known
address of the consumer, that the report will be requested; and
(D) the consumer report will be kept confidential, will be used solely for a
purpose described in subparagraph (A), and will not be used in
connection with any other civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding, or
for any other purpose.
(5) To an agency administering a State plan under Section 454 of the Social Security
Act (42 U.S.C. § 654) for use to set an initial or modified child support award.
(b) Conditions for furnishing and using consumer reports for employment purposes.
(1) Certification from user. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer
report for employment purposes only if
(A) the person who obtains such report from the agency certifies to the agency
that
(i) the person has complied with paragraph (2) with respect to the
consumer report, and the person will comply with paragraph (3)
with respect to the consumer report if paragraph (3) becomes
applicable; and
(ii) information from the consumer report will not be used in violation of
any applicable Federal or State equal employment opportunity law or
regulation; and
(B) the consumer reporting agency provides with the report, or has previously
provided, a summary of the consumer’s rights under this title, as
prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3)
[§ 1681g].
(2) Disclosure to consumer.
(A) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a person may not
procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for
employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless–
(i) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the
consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be
procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that
a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and
(ii) the consumer has authorized in writing (which authorization may
be made on the document referred to in clause (i)) the procurement
of the report by that person.
(B) Application by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means. If a
consumer described in subparagraph (C) applies for employment by mail,
telephone, computer, or other similar means, at any time before a
consumer report is procured or caused to be procured in connection with
that application–
(i) the person who procures the consumer report on the consumer for
employment purposes shall provide to the consumer, by oral,
written, or electronic means, notice that a consumer report may be
obtained for employment purposes, and a summary of the
consumer’s rights under section 615(a)(3); and
(ii) the consumer shall have consented, orally, in writing, or
electronically to the procurement of the report by that person.
(C) Scope. Subparagraph (B) shall apply to a person procuring a consumer
report on a consumer in connection with the consumer’s application for
employment only if–
(i) the consumer is applying for a position over which the Secretary of
Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and
maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section
31502 of title 49, or a position subject to safety regulation by a
State transportation agency; and
(ii) as of the time at which the person procures the report or causes the
report to be procured the only interaction between the consumer and
the person in connection with that employment application has been
by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means.
(3) Conditions on use for adverse actions.
(A) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in using a consumer
report for employment purposes, before taking any adverse action based in
whole or in part on the report, the person intending to take such adverse
action shall provide to the consumer to whom the report relates–
(i) a copy of the report; and
(ii) a description in writing of the rights of the consumer under this
title, as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section
609(c)(3).
(B) Application by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means.
(i) If a consumer described in subparagraph (C) applies for
employment by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means,
and if a person who has procured a consumer report on the
consumer for employment purposes takes adverse action on the
employment application based in whole or in part on the report,
then the person must provide to the consumer to whom the report
relates, in lieu of the notices required under subparagraph (A) of
this section and under section 615(a), within 3 business days of
taking such action, an oral, written or electronic notification–
(I) that adverse action has been taken based in whole or in
part on a consumer report received from a consumer
reporting agency;
(II) of the name, address and telephone number of the
consumer reporting agency that furnished the consumer
report (including a toll-free telephone number
established by the agency if the agency compiles and
maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis);
(III) that the consumer reporting agency did not make the
decision to take the adverse action and is unable to
provide to the consumer the specific reasons why the
adverse action was taken; and
(IV) that the consumer may, upon providing proper
identification, request a free copy of a report and may
dispute with the consumer reporting agency the accuracy
or completeness of any information in a report.
(ii) If, under clause (B)(i)(IV), the consumer requests a copy of a
consumer report from the person who procured the report, then,
within 3 business days of receiving the consumer’s request, together
with proper identification, the person must send or provide to the
consumer a copy of a report and a copy of the consumer’s rights as
prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3).
(C) Scope. Subparagraph (B) shall apply to a person procuring a consumer
report on a consumer in connection with the consumer’s application for
employment only if–
(i) the consumer is applying for a position over which the Secretary of
Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and
maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section
31502 of title 49, or a position subject to safety regulation by a
State transportation agency; and
(ii) as of the time at which the person procures the report or causes
the report to be procured the only interaction between the
consumer and the person in connection with that employment
application has been by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar
means.
(4) Exception for national security investigations.
(A) In general. In the case of an agency or department of the United States Government
which seeks to obtain and use a consumer report for employment purposes,
paragraph (3) shall not apply to any adverse action by such agency or department
which is based in part on such consumer report, if the head of such agency or
department makes a written finding that–
(i) the consumer report is relevant to a national security investigation of such
agency or department;
(ii) the investigation is within the jurisdiction of such agency or department;
(iii) there is reason to believe that compliance with paragraph (3) will–
(I) endanger the life or physical safety of any person;
(II) result in flight from prosecution;
(III) result in the destruction of, or tampering with, evidence relevant to
the investigation;
(IV) result in the intimidation of a potential witness relevant to the
investigation;
(V) result in the compromise of classified information; or
(VI) otherwise seriously jeopardize or unduly delay the investigation or
another official proceeding.
(B) Notification of consumer upon conclusion of investigation. Upon the conclusion of a
national security investigation described in subparagraph (A), or upon the
determination that the exception under subparagraph (A) is no longer required for
the reasons set forth in such subparagraph, the official exercising the authority in such
subparagraph shall provide to the consumer who is the subject of the consumer
report with regard to which such finding was made–
(i) a copy of such consumer report with any classified information redacted as
necessary;
(ii) notice of any adverse action which is based, in part, on the consumer report;
and
(iii) the identification with reasonable specificity of the nature of the investigation
for which the consumer report was sought.
(C) Delegation by head of agency or department. For purposes of subparagraphs (A) and
(B), the head of any agency or department of the United States Government may
delegate his or her authorities under this paragraph to an official of such agency or
department who has personnel security responsibilities and is a member of the
Senior Executive Service or equivalent civilian or military rank.
(D) Report to the congress. Not later than January 31 of each year, the head of each
agency and department of the United States Government that exercised authority
under this paragraph during the preceding year shall submit a report to the Congress
on the number of times the department or agency exercised such authority during the
year.
(E) Definitions. For purposes of this paragraph, the following definitions shall apply:
(i) Classified information. The term `classified information’ means information
that is protected from unauthorized disclosure under Executive Order No.
12958 or successor orders.
(ii) National security investigation. The term `national security investigation’
means any official inquiry by an agency or department of the United States
Government to determine the eligibility of a consumer to receive access or
continued access to classified information or to determine whether classified
information has been lost or compromised.
(c) Furnishing reports in connection with credit or insurance transactions that are not
initiated by the consumer.
(1) In general. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report relating
to any consumer pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) of subsection (a)(3) in
connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the
consumer only if
(A) the consumer authorizes the agency to provide such report to such person; or
(B) (i) the transaction consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance;
(ii) the consumer reporting agency has complied with subsection (e); and
(iii) there is not in effect an election by the consumer, made in
accordance with subsection (e), to have the consumer’s name and
address excluded from lists of names provided by the agency
pursuant to this paragraph.
(2) Limits on information received under paragraph (1)(B). A person may receive
pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) only
(A) the name and address of a consumer;
(B) an identifier that is not unique to the consumer and that is used by the
person solely for the purpose of verifying the identity of the consumer; and
(C) other information pertaining to a consumer that does not identify the
relationship or experience of the consumer with respect to a particular
creditor or other entity.
(3) Information regarding inquiries. Except as provided in section 609(a)(5)
[§ 1681g], a consumer reporting agency shall not furnish to any person a record
of inquiries in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not
initiated by a consumer.
(d) Reserved.
(e) Election of consumer to be excluded from lists.
(1) In general. A consumer may elect to have the consumer’s name and address
excluded from any list provided by a consumer reporting agency under subsection
(c)(1)(B) in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated
by the consumer, by notifying the agency in accordance with paragraph (2) that
the consumer does not consent to any use of a consumer report relating to the
consumer in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not
initiated by the consumer.
(2) Manner of notification. A consumer shall notify a consumer reporting agency
under paragraph (1)
(A) through the notification system maintained by the agency under paragraph
(5); or
(B) by submitting to the agency a signed notice of election form issued by the
agency for purposes of this subparagraph.
(3) Response of agency after notification through system. Upon receipt of notification
of the election of a consumer under paragraph (1) through the notification system
maintained by the agency under paragraph (5), a consumer reporting agency shall
(A) inform the consumer that the election is effective only for the 2-year period
following the election if the consumer does not submit to the agency a
signed notice of election form issued by the agency for purposes of
paragraph (2)(B); and
(B) provide to the consumer a notice of election form, if requested by the
consumer, not later than 5 business days after receipt of the notification of
the election through the system established under paragraph (5), in the
case of a request made at the time the consumer provides notification
through the system.
(4) Effectiveness of election. An election of a consumer under paragraph (1)
(A) shall be effective with respect to a consumer reporting agency beginning 5
business days after the date on which the consumer notifies the agency in
accordance with paragraph (2);
(B) shall be effective with respect to a consumer reporting agency
(i) subject to subparagraph (C), during the 2-year period beginning 5
business days after the date on which the consumer notifies the
agency of the election, in the case of an election for which a
consumer notifies the agency only in accordance with paragraph
(2)(A); or
(ii) until the consumer notifies the agency under subparagraph (C), in the
case of an election for which a consumer notifies the agency in
accordance with paragraph (2)(B);
(C) shall not be effective after the date on which the consumer notifies the
agency, through the notification system established by the agency under
paragraph (5), that the election is no longer effective; and
(D) shall be effective with respect to each affiliate of the agency.
(5) Notification system.
(A) In general. Each consumer reporting agency that, under subsection
(c)(1)(B), furnishes a consumer report in connection with a credit or
insurance transaction that is not initiated by a consumer, shall
(i) establish and maintain a notification system, including a toll-free
telephone number, which permits any consumer whose consumer
report is maintained by the agency to notify the agency, with
appropriate identification, of the consumer’s election to have the
consumer’s name and address excluded from any such list of
names and addresses provided by the agency for such a transaction;
and
(ii) publish by not later than 365 days after the date of enactment of the
Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996, and not less than
annually thereafter, in a publication of general circulation in the area
served by the agency
(I) a notification that information in consumer files maintained
by the agency may be used in connection with such
transactions; and
(II) the address and toll-free telephone number for consumers to
use to notify the agency of the consumer’s election under
clause (I).
(B) Establishment and maintenance as compliance. Establishment and
maintenance of a notification system (including a toll-free telephone
number) and publication by a consumer reporting agency on the agency’s
own behalf and on behalf of any of its affiliates in accordance with this
1 The reporting periods have been lengthened for certain adverse information pertaining to U.S. Government
insured or guaranteed student loans, or pertaining to national direct student loans. See sections 430A(f) and
463(c)(3) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 1080a(f) and 20 U.S.C. 1087cc(c)(3), respectively.
paragraph is deemed to be compliance with this paragraph by each of
those affiliates.
(6) Notification system by agencies that operate nationwide. Each consumer
reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide
basis shall establish and maintain a notification system for purposes of paragraph
(5) jointly with other such consumer reporting agencies.
(f) Certain use or obtaining of information prohibited. A person shall not use or obtain
a consumer report for any purpose unless
(1) the consumer report is obtained for a purpose for which the consumer report is
authorized to be furnished under this section; and
(2) the purpose is certified in accordance with section 607 [§ 1681e] by a
prospective user of the report through a general or specific certification.
(g) Furnishing reports containing medical information. A consumer reporting agency
shall not furnish for employment purposes, or in connection with a credit or
insurance transaction, a consumer report that contains medical information about a
consumer, unless the consumer consents to the furnishing of the report.
§ 605. Requirements relating to information contained in consumer reports [15 U.S.C.
§ 1681c]
(a) Information excluded from consumer reports. Except as authorized under
subsection (b) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer
report containing any of the following items of information:
(1) Cases under title 11 [United States Code] or under the Bankruptcy Act that,
from the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the
case may be, antedate the report by more than 10 years.
(2) Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest that from date of entry, antedate
the report by more than seven years or until the governing statute of limitations
has expired, whichever is the longer period.
(3) Paid tax liens which, from date of payment, antedate the report by more than
seven years.
(4) Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which antedate the
report by more than seven years.1
2 Should read “paragraphs (4) and (5)….” Prior Section 605(a)(6) was amended and re-designated as
Section 605(a)(5) in November 1998.
(5) Any other adverse item of information, other than records of convictions of crimes
which antedates the report by more than seven years.1
(b) Exempted cases. The provisions of subsection (a) of this section are not applicable
in the case of any consumer credit report to be used in connection with
(1) a credit transaction involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a
principal amount of $150,000 or more;
(2) the underwriting of life insurance involving, or which may reasonably be expected
to involve, a face amount of $150,000 or more; or
(3) the employment of any individual at an annual salary which equals, or which
may reasonably be expected to equal $75,000, or more.
(c) Running of reporting period.
(1) In general. The 7-year period referred to in paragraphs (4) and (6)2 of subsection
(a) shall begin, with respect to any delinquent account that is placed for collection
(internally or by referral to a third party, whichever is earlier), charged to profit
and loss, or subjected to any similar action, upon the expiration of the 180-day
period beginning on the date of the commencement of the delinquency which
immediately preceded the collection activity, charge to profit and loss, or similar
action.
(2) Effective date. Paragraph (1) shall apply only to items of information added to
the file of a consumer on or after the date that is 455 days after the date of
enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996.
(d) Information required to be disclosed. Any consumer reporting agency that furnishes
a consumer report that contains information regarding any case involving the
consumer that arises under title 11, United States Code, shall include in the report
an identification of the chapter of such title 11 under which such case arises if
provided by the source of the information. If any case arising or filed under title 11,
United States Code, is withdrawn by the consumer before a final judgment, the
consumer reporting agency shall include in the report that such case or filing was
withdrawn upon receipt of documentation certifying such withdrawal.
(e) Indication of closure of account by consumer. If a consumer reporting agency is
notified pursuant to section 623(a)(4) [§ 1681s-2] that a credit account of a
consumer was voluntarily closed by the consumer, the agency shall indicate that fact
in any consumer report that includes information related to the account.
(f) Indication of dispute by consumer. If a consumer reporting agency is notified
pursuant to section 623(a)(3) [§ 1681s-2] that information regarding a consumer who
was furnished to the agency is disputed by the consumer, the agency shall indicate
that fact in each consumer report that includes the disputed information.
§ 606. Disclosure of investigative consumer reports [15 U.S.C. § 1681d]
(a) Disclosure of fact of preparation. A person may not procure or cause to be prepared
an investigative consumer report on any consumer unless
(1) it is clearly and accurately disclosed to the consumer that an investigative
consumer report including information as to his character, general reputation,
personal characteristics and mode of living, whichever are applicable, may be
made, and such disclosure
(A) is made in a writing mailed, or otherwise delivered, to the consumer, not
later than three days after the date on which the report was first requested,
and
(B) includes a statement informing the consumer of his right to request the
additional disclosures provided for under subsection (b) of this section
and the written summary of the rights of the consumer prepared pursuant
to section 609(c) [§ 1681g]; and
(2) the person certifies or has certified to the consumer reporting agency that
(A) the person has made the disclosures to the consumer required by
paragraph (1); and
(B) the person will comply with subsection (b).
(b) Disclosure on request of nature and scope of investigation. Any person who
procures or causes to be prepared an investigative consumer report on any consumer
shall, upon written request made by the consumer within a reasonable period of
time after the receipt by him of the disclosure required by subsection (a)(1) of this
section, make a complete and accurate disclosure of the nature and scope of the
investigation requested. This disclosure shall be made in a writing mailed, or
otherwise delivered, to the consumer not later than five days after the date on which
the request for such disclosure was received from the consumer or such report was
first requested, whichever is the later.
(c) Limitation on liability upon showing of reasonable procedures for compliance with
provisions. No person may be held liable for any violation of subsection (a) or (b) of
this section if he shows by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the
violation he maintained reasonable procedures to assure compliance with subsection
(a) or (b) of this section.
(d) Prohibitions.
(1) Certification. A consumer reporting agency shall not prepare or furnish
investigative consumer report unless the agency has received a certification under
subsection (a)(2) from the person who requested the report.
(2) Inquiries. A consumer reporting agency shall not make an inquiry for the
purpose of preparing an investigative consumer report on a consumer for
employment purposes if the making of the inquiry by an employer or prospective
employer of the consumer would violate any applicable Federal or State equal
employment opportunity law or regulation.
(3) Certain public record information. Except as otherwise provided in section
613 [§ 1681k], a consumer reporting agency shall not furnish an investigative
consumer report that includes information that is a matter of public record
and that relates to an arrest, indictment, conviction, civil judicial action, tax
lien, or outstanding judgment, unless the agency has verified the accuracy of
the information during the 30-day period ending on the date on which the
report is furnished.
(4) Certain adverse information. A consumer reporting agency shall not prepare
or furnish an investigative consumer report on a consumer that contains
information that is adverse to the interest of the consumer and that is
obtained through a personal interview with a neighbor, friend, or associate of
the consumer or with another person with whom the consumer is acquainted
or who has knowledge of such item of information, unless
(A) the agency has followed reasonable procedures to obtain confirmation
of the information, from an additional source that has independent
and direct knowledge of the information; or
(B) the person interviewed is the best possible source of the information.
§ 607. Compliance procedures [15 U.S.C. § 1681e]
(a) Identity and purposes of credit users. Every consumer reporting agency shall
maintain reasonable procedures designed to avoid violations of section 605 [§ 1681c]
and to limit the furnishing of consumer reports to the purposes listed under section
604 [§ 1681b] of this title. These procedures shall require that prospective users of
the information identify themselves, certify the purposes for which the information is
sought, and certify that the information will be used for no other purpose. Every
consumer reporting agency shall make a reasonable effort to verify the identity of a
new prospective user and the uses certified by such prospective user prior to
furnishing such user a consumer report. No consumer reporting agency may furnish
a consumer report to any person if it has reasonable grounds for believing that the
consumer report will not be used for a purpose listed in section 604 [§ 1681b] of
this title.
(b) Accuracy of report. Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer
report it shall follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of
the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates.
(c) Disclosure of consumer reports by users allowed. A consumer reporting agency may
not prohibit a user of a consumer report furnished by the agency on a consumer
from disclosing the contents of the report to the consumer, if adverse action against
the consumer has been taken by the user based in whole or in part on the report.
(d) Notice to users and furnishers of information.
(1) Notice requirement. A consumer reporting agency shall provide to any person
(A) who regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes
information to the agency with respect to any consumer; or
(B) to whom a consumer report is provided by the agency;
a notice of such person’s responsibilities under this title.
(2) Content of notice. The Federal Trade Commission shall prescribe the content of
notices under paragraph (1), and a consumer reporting agency shall be in
compliance with this subsection if it provides a notice under paragraph (1) that is
substantially similar to the Federal Trade Commission prescription under this
paragraph.
(e) Procurement of consumer report for resale.
(1) Disclosure. A person may not procure a consumer report for purposes of
reselling the report (or any information in the report) unless the person discloses
to the consumer reporting agency that originally furnishes the report
(A) the identity of the end-user of the report (or information); and
(B) each permissible purpose under section 604 [§ 1681b] for which the
report is furnished to the end-user of the report (or information).
(2) Responsibilities of procurers for resale. A person who procures a consumer
report for purposes of reselling the report (or any information in the report) shall
(A) establish and comply with reasonable procedures designed to ensure that
the report (or information) is resold by the person only for a purpose for
which the report may be furnished under section 604 [§ 1681b],
including by requiring that each person to which the report (or
information) is resold and that resells or provides the report (or
information) to any other person
(i) identifies each end user of the resold report (or information);
(ii) certifies each purpose for which the report (or information) will be
used; and
(iii) certifies that the report (or information) will be used for no other
purpose; and
(B) before reselling the report, make reasonable efforts to verify the
identifications and certifications made under subparagraph (A).
(3) Resale of consumer report to a federal agency or department. Notwithstanding
paragraph (1) or (2), a person who procures a consumer report for purposes of reselling
the report (or any information in the report) shall not disclose the identity of the
end-user of the report under paragraph (1) or (2) if–
(A) the end user is an agency or department of the United States Government which
procures the report from the person for purposes of determining the eligibility of
the consumer concerned to receive access or continued access to classified
information (as defined in section 604(b)(4)(E)(i)); and
(B) the agency or department certifies in writing to the person reselling the report
that nondisclosure is necessary to protect classified information or the safety of
persons employed by or contracting with, or undergoing investigation for work or
contracting with the agency or department.
§ 608. Disclosures to governmental agencies [15 U.S.C. § 1681f]
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 604 [§ 1681b] of this title, a consumer
reporting agency may furnish identifying information respecting any consumer, limited to
his name, address, former addresses, places of employment, or former places of
employment, to a governmental agency.
§ 609. Disclosures to consumers [15 U.S.C. § 1681g]
(a) Information on file; sources; report recipients. Every consumer reporting agency shall,
upon request, and subject to 610(a)(1) [§ 1681h], clearly and accurately disclose to
the consumer:
(1) All information in the consumer’s file at the time of the request, except that
nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require a consumer reporting
agency to disclose to a consumer any information concerning credit scores or any
other risk scores or predictors relating to the consumer.
(2) The sources of the information; except that the sources of information acquired
solely for use in preparing an investigative consumer report and actually used for
no other purpose need not be disclosed: Provided, That in the event an action is
brought under this title, such sources shall be available to the plaintiff under
appropriate discovery procedures in the court in which the action is brought.
(3)(A) Identification of each person (including each end-user identified under section
607(e)(1) [§ 1681e]) that procured a consumer report
(i) for employment purposes, during the 2-year period preceding the date
on which the request is made; or
(ii) for any other purpose, during the 1-year period preceding the date on
which the request is made.
(B) An identification of a person under subparagraph (A) shall include
(i) the name of the person or, if applicable, the trade name (written in
full) under which such person conducts business; and
(ii) upon request of the consumer, the address and telephone number
of the person.
(C) Subparagraph (A) does not apply if–
(i) the end user is an agency or department of the United States
Government that procures the report from the person for purposes of
determining the eligibility of the consumer to whom the report relates to
receive access or continued access to classified information (as defined in
section 604(b)(4)(E)(i)); and
(ii) the head of the agency or department makes a written finding as prescribed
under section 604(b)(4)(A).
(4) The dates, original payees, and amounts of any checks upon which is based any
adverse characterization of the consumer, included in the file at the time of the
disclosure.
(5) A record of all inquiries received by the agency during the 1-year period
preceding the request that identified the consumer in connection with a credit or
insurance transaction that was not initiated by the consumer.
(b) Exempt information. The requirements of subsection (a) of this section respecting the
disclosure of sources of information and the recipients of consumer reports do not
apply to information received or consumer reports furnished prior to the effective
date of this title except to the extent that the matter involved is contained in the files
of the consumer reporting agency on that date.
(c) Summary of rights required to be included with disclosure.
(1) Summary of rights. A consumer reporting agency shall provide to a consumer,
with each written disclosure by the agency to the consumer under this section
(A) a written summary of all of the rights that the consumer has under this
title; and
(B) in the case of a consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains
files on consumers on a nationwide basis, a toll-free telephone number
established by the agency, at which personnel are accessible to consumers
during normal business hours.
(2) Specific items required to be included. The summary of rights required
under paragraph (1) shall include
(A) a brief description of this title and all rights of consumers under this title;
(B) an explanation of how the consumer may exercise the rights of the
consumer under this title;
(C) a list of all Federal agencies responsible for enforcing any provision of this
title and the address and any appropriate phone number of each such
agency, in a form that will assist the consumer in selecting the appropriate
agency;
(D) a statement that the consumer may have additional rights under State
law and that the consumer may wish to contact a State or local
consumer protection agency or a State attorney general to learn of those
rights; and
(E) a statement that a consumer reporting agency is not required to remove
accurate derogatory information from a consumer’s file, unless the
information is outdated under section 605 [§ 1681c] or cannot be
verified.
(3) Form of summary of rights. For purposes of this subsection and any
disclosure by a consumer reporting agency required under this title with
respect to consumers’ rights, the Federal Trade Commission (after
consultation with each Federal agency referred to in section 621(b) [§ 1681s])
shall prescribe the form and content of any such disclosure of the rights of
consumers required under this title. A consumer reporting agency shall be in
compliance with this subsection if it provides disclosures under paragraph (1)
that are substantially similar to the Federal Trade Commission prescription
under this paragraph.
(4) Effectiveness. No disclosures shall be required under this subsection until the
date on which the Federal Trade Commission prescribes the form and content of
such disclosures under paragraph (3).
§ 610. Conditions and form of disclosure to consumers [15 U.S.C. § 1681h]
(a) In general.
(1) Proper identification. A consumer reporting agency shall require, as a
condition of making the disclosures required under section 609 [§ 1681g],
that the consumer furnish proper identification.
(2) Disclosure in writing. Except as provided in subsection (b), the disclosures
required to be made under section 609 [§ 1681g] shall be provided under
that section in writing.
(b) Other forms of disclosure.
(1) In general. If authorized by a consumer, a consumer reporting agency may make
the disclosures required under 609 [§ 1681g]
(A) other than in writing; and
(B) in such form as may be
(i) specified by the consumer in accordance with paragraph (2); and
(ii) available from the agency.
(2) Form. A consumer may specify pursuant to paragraph (1) that disclosures under
section 609 [§ 1681g] shall be made
(A) in person, upon the appearance of the consumer at the place of
business of the consumer reporting agency where disclosures are
regularly provided, during normal business hours, and on reasonable
notice;
(B) by telephone, if the consumer has made a written request for
disclosure by telephone;
(C) by electronic means, if available from the agency; or
(D) by any other reasonable means that is available from the agency.
(c) Trained personnel. Any consumer reporting agency shall provide trained personnel to
explain to the consumer any information furnished to him pursuant to section 609
[§ 1681g] of this title.
(d) Persons accompanying consumer. The consumer shall be permitted to be
accompanied by one other person of his choosing, who shall furnish reasonable
identification. A consumer reporting agency may require the consumer to furnish a
written statement granting permission to the consumer reporting agency to discuss
the consumer’s file in such person’s presence.
(e) Limitation of liability. Except as provided in sections 616 and 617 [§§ 1681n and
1681o] of this title, no consumer may bring any action or proceeding in the nature of
defamation, invasion of privacy, or negligence with respect to the reporting of
information against any consumer reporting agency, any user of information, or any
person who furnishes information to a consumer reporting agency, based on
information disclosed pursuant to section 609, 610, or 615 [§§ 1681g, 1681h, or
1681m] of this title or based on information disclosed by a user of a consumer
report to or for a consumer against whom the user has taken adverse action, based in
whole or in part on the report, except as to false information furnished with malice
or willful intent to injure such consumer.
§ 611. Procedure in case of disputed accuracy [15 U.S.C. § 1681i]
(a) Reinvestigations of disputed information.
(1) Reinvestigation required.
(A) In general. If the completeness or accuracy of any item of information
contained in a consumer’s file at a consumer reporting agency is disputed
by the consumer and the consumer notifies the agency directly of such
dispute, the agency shall reinvestigate free of charge and record the current
status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file in
accordance with paragraph (5), before the end of the 30-day period
beginning on the date on which the agency receives the notice of the
dispute from the consumer.
(B) Extension of period to reinvestigate. Except as provided in subparagraph
(C), the 30-day period described in subparagraph (A) may be extended for
not more than 15 additional days if the consumer reporting agency
receives information from the consumer during that 30-day period that is
relevant to the reinvestigation.
(C) Limitations on extension of period to reinvestigate. Subparagraph (B) shall
not apply to any reinvestigation in which, during the 30-day period
described in subparagraph (A), the information that is the subject of the
reinvestigation is found to be inaccurate or incomplete or the consumer
reporting agency determines that the information cannot be verified.
(2) Prompt notice of dispute to furnisher of information.
(A) In general. Before the expiration of the 5-business-day period
beginning on the date on which a consumer reporting agency receives
notice of a dispute from any consumer in accordance with paragraph
(1), the agency shall provide notification of the dispute to any person
who provided any item of information in dispute, at the address and
in the manner established with the person. The notice shall include all
relevant information regarding the dispute that the agency has received
from the consumer.
(B) Provision of other information from consumer. The consumer
reporting agency shall promptly provide to the person who provided
the information in dispute all relevant information regarding the
dispute that is received by the agency from the consumer after the
period referred to in subparagraph (A) and before the end of the
period referred to in paragraph (1)(A).
(3) Determination that dispute is frivolous or irrelevant.
(A) In general. Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a consumer reporting
agency may terminate a reinvestigation of information disputed by a
consumer under that paragraph if the agency reasonably determines
that the dispute by the consumer is frivolous or irrelevant, including
by reason of a failure by a consumer to provide sufficient information
to investigate the disputed information.
(B) Notice of determination. Upon making any determination in
accordance with subparagraph (A) that a dispute is frivolous or
irrelevant, a consumer reporting agency shall notify the consumer of
such determination not later than 5 business days after making such
determination, by mail or, if authorized by the consumer for that
purpose, by any other means available to the agency.
(C) Contents of notice. A notice under subparagraph (B) shall include
(i) the reasons for the determination under subparagraph (A); and
(ii) identification of any information required to investigate the
disputed information, which may consist of a standardized form
describing the general nature of such information.
(4) Consideration of consumer information. In conducting any reinvestigation under
paragraph (1) with respect to disputed information in the file of any consumer,
the consumer reporting agency shall review and consider all relevant information
submitted by the consumer in the period described in paragraph (1)(A) with
respect to such disputed information.
(5) Treatment of inaccurate or unverifiable information.
(A) In general. If, after any reinvestigation under paragraph (1) of any
information disputed by a consumer, an item of the information is found
to be inaccurate or incomplete or cannot be verified, the consumer
reporting agency shall promptly delete that item of information from the
consumer’s file or modify that item of information, as appropriate, based
on the results of the reinvestigation.
(B) Requirements relating to reinsertion of previously deleted material.
(i) Certification of accuracy of information. If any information is
deleted from a consumer’s file pursuant to subparagraph (A),
the information may not be reinserted in the file by the
consumer reporting agency unless the person who furnishes the
information certifies that the information is complete and
accurate.
(ii) Notice to consumer. If any information that has been deleted from
a consumer’s file pursuant to subparagraph (A) is reinserted in the
file, the consumer reporting agency shall notify the consumer of the
reinsertion in writing not later than 5 business days after the
reinsertion or, if authorized by the consumer for that purpose, by
any other means available to the agency.
(iii) Additional information. As part of, or in addition to, the notice
under clause (ii), a consumer reporting agency shall provide to a
consumer in writing not later than 5 business days after the date of
the reinsertion
(I) a statement that the disputed information has been
reinserted;
(II) the business name and address of any furnisher of
information contacted and the telephone number of such
furnisher, if reasonably available, or of any furnisher of
information that contacted the consumer reporting
agency, in connection with the reinsertion of such
information; and
(III) a notice that the consumer has the right to add a
statement to the consumer’s file disputing the accuracy
or completeness of the disputed information.
C) Procedures to prevent reappearance. A consumer reporting agency shall
maintain reasonable procedures designed to prevent the reappearance in a
consumer’s file, and in consumer reports on the consumer, of information
that is deleted pursuant to this paragraph (other than information that is
reinserted in accordance with subparagraph (B)(i)).
D) Automated reinvestigation system. Any consumer reporting agency that
compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis shall
implement an automated system through which furnishers of information to
that consumer reporting agency may report the results of a reinvestigation that
finds incomplete or inaccurate information in a consumer’s file to other such
consumer reporting agencies.
(6) Notice of results of reinvestigation.
(A) In general. A consumer reporting agency shall provide written notice to a
consumer of the results of a reinvestigation under this subsection not later
than 5 business days after the completion of the reinvestigation, by mail
or, if authorized by the consumer for that purpose, by other means
available to the agency.
(B) Contents. As part of, or in addition to, the notice under subparagraph
(A), a consumer reporting agency shall provide to a consumer in
writing before the expiration of the 5-day period referred to in
subparagraph (A)
(i) a statement that the reinvestigation is completed;
(ii) a consumer report that is based upon the consumer’s file as that
file is revised as a result of the reinvestigation;
(iii) a notice that, if requested by the consumer, a description of the
procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of
the information shall be provided to the consumer by the
agency, including the business name and address of any
furnisher of information contacted in connection with such
information and the telephone number of such furnisher, if
reasonably available;
(iv) a notice that the consumer has the right to add a statement to
the consumer’s file disputing the accuracy or completeness of
the information; and
(v) a notice that the consumer has the right to request under
subsection (d) that the consumer reporting agency furnish
notifications under that subsection.
(7) Description of reinvestigation procedure. A consumer reporting agency shall
provide to a consumer a description referred to in paragraph (6)(B)(iii) by not
later than 15 days after receiving a request from the consumer for that
description.
(8) Expedited dispute resolution. If a dispute regarding an item of information
in a consumer’s file at a consumer reporting agency is resolved in accordance
with paragraph (5)(A) by the deletion of the disputed information by not later
than 3 business days after the date on which the agency receives notice of the
dispute from the consumer in accordance with paragraph (1)(A), then the
agency shall not be required to comply with paragraphs (2), (6), and (7) with
respect to that dispute if the agency
(A) provides prompt notice of the deletion to the consumer by telephone;
3 The Federal Trade Commission increased the maximum allowable charge to $9.00, effective January 1,
(continued…)
(B) includes in that notice, or in a written notice that accompanies a
confirmation and consumer report provided in accordance with
subparagraph (C), a statement of the consumer’s right to request under
subsection (d) that the agency furnish notifications under that
subsection; and
(C) provides written confirmation of the deletion and a copy of a consumer
report on the consumer that is based on the consumer’s file after the
deletion, not later than 5 business days after making the deletion.
(b) Statement of dispute. If the reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute, the
consumer may file a brief statement setting forth the nature of the dispute. The
consumer reporting agency may limit such statements to not more than one hundred
words if it provides the consumer with assistance in writing a clear summary of the
dispute.
(c) Notification of consumer dispute in subsequent consumer reports. Whenever a
statement of a dispute is filed, unless there is reasonable grounds to believe that it is
frivolous or irrelevant, the consumer reporting agency shall, in any subsequent
consumer report containing the information in question, clearly note that it is
disputed by the consumer and provide either the consumer’s statement or a clear and
accurate codification or summary thereof.
(d) Notification of deletion of disputed information. Following any deletion of
information which is found to be inaccurate or whose accuracy can no longer be
verified or any notation as to disputed information, the consumer reporting agency
shall, at the request of the consumer, furnish notification that the item has been
deleted or the statement, codification or summary pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of
this section to any person specifically designated by the consumer who has within
two years prior thereto received a consumer report for employment purposes, or
within six months prior thereto received a consumer report for any other purpose,
which contained the deleted or disputed information.
§ 612. Charges for certain disclosures [15 U.S.C. § 1681j]
(a) Reasonable charges allowed for certain disclosures.
(1) In general. Except as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d), a consumer
reporting agency may impose a reasonable charge on a consumer
(A) for making a disclosure to the consumer pursuant to section 609
[§ 1681g], which charge
(i) shall not exceed $8;3 and
3(…continued)
2002. 66 Fed. Reg. 63545 (Dec. 7, 2001).
(ii) shall be indicated to the consumer before making the disclosure;
and
(B) for furnishing, pursuant to 611(d) [§ 1681i], following a
reinvestigation under section 611(a) [§ 1681i], a statement,
codification, or summary to a person designated by the consumer
under that section after the 30-day period beginning on the date of
notification of the consumer under paragraph (6) or (8) of section
611(a) [§ 1681i] with respect to the reinvestigation, which charge
(i) shall not exceed the charge that the agency would impose on
each designated recipient for a consumer report; and
(ii) shall be indicated to the consumer before furnishing such
information.
(2) Modification of amount. The Federal Trade Commission shall increase the
amount referred to in paragraph (1)(A)(I) on January 1 of each year, based
proportionally on changes in the Consumer Price Index, with fractional changes
rounded to the nearest fifty cents.
(b) Free disclosure after adverse notice to consumer. Each consumer reporting agency
that maintains a file on a consumer shall make all disclosures pursuant to section
609 [§ 1681g] without charge to the consumer if, not later than 60 days after receipt
by such consumer of a notification pursuant to section 615 [§ 1681m], or of a
notification from a debt collection agency affiliated with that consumer reporting
agency stating that the consumer’s credit rating may be or has been adversely affected,
the consumer makes a request under section 609 [§ 1681g].
(c) Free disclosure under certain other circumstances. Upon the request of the
consumer, a consumer reporting agency shall make all disclosures pursuant to
section 609 [§ 1681g] once during any 12-month period without charge to that
consumer if the consumer certifies in writing that the consumer
(1) is unemployed and intends to apply for employment in the 60-day period
beginning on the date on which the certification is made;
(2) is a recipient of public welfare assistance; or
(3) has reason to believe that the file on the consumer at the agency contains
inaccurate information due to fraud.
(d) Other charges prohibited. A consumer reporting agency shall not impose any charge
on a consumer for providing any notification required by this title or making any
disclosure required by this title, except as authorized by subsection (a).
§ 613. Public record information for employment purposes [15 U.S.C. § 1681k]
(a) In general. A consumer reporting agency which furnishes a consumer report for
employment purposes and which for that purpose compiles and reports items of
information on consumers which are matters of public record and are likely to have
an adverse effect upon a consumer’s ability to obtain employment shall
(1) at the time such public record information is reported to the user of such
consumer report, notify the consumer of the fact that public record information is
being reported by the consumer reporting agency, together with the name and
address of the person to whom such information is being reported; or
(2) maintain strict procedures designed to insure that whenever public record
information which is likely to have an adverse effect on a consumer’s ability to
obtain employment is reported it is complete and up to date. For purposes of
this paragraph, items of public record relating to arrests, indictments, convictions,
suits, tax liens, and outstanding judgments shall be considered up to date if the
current public record status of the item at the time of the report is reported.
(b) Exemption for national security investigations. Subsection (a) does not apply in the case
of an agency or department of the United States Government that seeks to obtain and
use a consumer report for employment purposes, if the head of the agency or
department makes a written finding as prescribed under section 604(b)(4)(A).
§ 614. Restrictions on investigative consumer reports [15 U.S.C. § 1681l]
Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares an investigative consumer report, no
adverse information in the consumer report (other than information which is a matter of
public record) may be included in a subsequent consumer report unless such adverse
information has been verified in the process of making such subsequent consumer report,
or the adverse information was received within the three-month period preceding the date
the subsequent report is furnished.
§ 615. Requirements on users of consumer reports [15 U.S.C. § 1681m]
(a) Duties of users taking adverse actions on the basis of information contained in
consumer reports. If any person takes any adverse action with respect to any
consumer that is based in whole or in part on any information contained in a
consumer report, the person shall
(1) provide oral, written, or electronic notice of the adverse action to the
consumer;
(2) provide to the consumer orally, in writing, or electronically
(A) the name, address, and telephone number of the consumer reporting
agency (including a toll-free telephone number established by the
agency if the agency compiles and maintains files on consumers on a
nationwide basis) that furnished the report to the person; and
(B) a statement that the consumer reporting agency did not make the
decision to take the adverse action and is unable to provide the
consumer the specific reasons why the adverse action was taken; and
(3) provide to the consumer an oral, written, or electronic notice of the consumer’s
right
(A) to obtain, under section 612 [§ 1681j], a free copy of a consumer
report on the consumer from the consumer reporting agency referred to
in paragraph (2), which notice shall include an indication of the
60-day period under that section for obtaining such a copy; and
(B) to dispute, under section 611 [§ 1681i], with a consumer reporting
agency the accuracy or completeness of any information in a consumer
report furnished by the agency.
(b) Adverse action based on information obtained from third parties other than
consumer reporting agencies.
(1) In general. Whenever credit for personal, family, or household purposes
involving a consumer is denied or the charge for such credit is increased either
wholly or partly because of information obtained from a person other than a
consumer reporting agency bearing upon the consumer’s credit worthiness, credit
standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or
mode of living, the user of such information shall, within a reasonable period of
time, upon the consumer’s written request for the reasons for such adverse action
received within sixty days after learning of such adverse action, disclose the
nature of the information to the consumer. The user of such information shall
clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer his right to make such written
request at the time such adverse action is communicated to the consumer.
(2) Duties of person taking certain actions based on information provided by
affiliate.
(A) Duties, generally. If a person takes an action described in subparagraph
(B) with respect to a consumer, based in whole or in part on information
described in subparagraph (C), the person shall
(i) notify the consumer of the action, including a statement that the
consumer may obtain the information in accordance with clause
(ii); and
(ii) upon a written request from the consumer received within 60 days
after transmittal of the notice required by clause (I), disclose to the
consumer the nature of the information upon which the action is
based by not later than 30 days after receipt of the request.
(B) Action described. An action referred to in subparagraph (A) is an adverse
action described in section 603(k)(1)(A) [§ 1681a], taken in connection
with a transaction initiated by the consumer, or any adverse action
described in clause (i) or (ii) of section 603(k)(1)(B) [§ 1681a].
(C) Information described. Information referred to in subparagraph (A)
(i) except as provided in clause (ii), is information that
(I) is furnished to the person taking the action by a person
related by common ownership or affiliated by common
corporate control to the person taking the action; and
(II) bears on the credit worthiness, credit standing, credit
capacity, character, general reputation, personal
characteristics, or mode of living of the consumer; and
(ii) does not include
(I) information solely as to transactions or experiences between
the consumer and the person furnishing the information; or
(II) information in a consumer report.
(c) Reasonable procedures to assure compliance. No person shall be held liable for any
violation of this section if he shows by a preponderance of the evidence that at the
time of the alleged violation he maintained reasonable procedures to assure
compliance with the provisions of this section.
(d) Duties of users making written credit or insurance solicitations on the basis of
information contained in consumer files.
(1) In general. Any person who uses a consumer report on any consumer in
connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the
consumer, that is provided to that person under section 604(c)(1)(B)
[§ 1681b], shall provide with each written solicitation made to the consumer
regarding the transaction a clear and conspicuous statement that
(A) information contained in the consumer’s consumer report was used in
connection with the transaction;
(B) the consumer received the offer of credit or insurance because the
consumer satisfied the criteria for credit worthiness or insurability under
which the consumer was selected for the offer;
(C) if applicable, the credit or insurance may not be extended if, after the
consumer responds to the offer, the consumer does not meet the
criteria used to select the consumer for the offer or any applicable
criteria bearing on credit worthiness or insurability or does not furnish
any required collateral;
(D) the consumer has a right to prohibit information contained in the
consumer’s file with any consumer reporting agency from being used
in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not
initiated by the consumer; and
(E) the consumer may exercise the right referred to in subparagraph (D) by
notifying a notification system established under section 604(e)
[§ 1681b].
(2) Disclosure of address and telephone number. A statement under paragraph (1)
shall include the address and toll-free telephone number of the appropriate
notification system established under section 604(e) [§ 1681b].
(3) Maintaining criteria on file. A person who makes an offer of credit or
insurance to a consumer under a credit or insurance transaction described in
paragraph (1) shall maintain on file the criteria used to select the consumer
to receive the offer, all criteria bearing on credit worthiness or insurability, as
applicable, that are the basis for determining whether or not to extend credit
or insurance pursuant to the offer, and any requirement for the furnishing of
collateral as a condition of the extension of credit or insurance, until the
expiration of the 3-year period beginning on the date on which the offer is
made to the consumer.
(4) Authority of federal agencies regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices not
affected. This section is not intended to affect the authority of any Federal or
State agency to enforce a prohibition against unfair or deceptive acts or
practices, including the making of false or misleading statements in
connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the
consumer.
§ 616. Civil liability for willful noncompliance [15 U.S.C. § 1681n]
(a) In general. Any person who willfully fails to comply with any requirement imposed
under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in an amount
equal to the sum of
(1)(A) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or
damages of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000; or
(B) in the case of liability of a natural person for obtaining a consumer
report under false pretenses or knowingly without a permissible
purpose, actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the
failure or $1,000, whichever is greater;
(2) such amount of punitive damages as the court may allow; and
(3) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the
costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the
court.
(b) Civil liability for knowing noncompliance. Any person who obtains a consumer
report from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses or knowingly without
a permissible purpose shall be liable to the consumer reporting agency for actual
damages sustained by the consumer reporting agency or $1,000, whichever is greater.
(c) Attorney’s fees. Upon a finding by the court that an unsuccessful pleading, motion,
or other paper filed in connection with an action under this section was filed in bad
faith or for purposes of harassment, the court shall award to the prevailing party
attorney’s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the
pleading, motion, or other paper.
§ 617. Civil liability for negligent noncompliance [15 U.S.C. § 1681o]
(a) In general. Any person who is negligent in failing to comply with any requirement
imposed under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in
an amount equal to the sum of
(1) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure;
(2) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the
costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the
court.
(b) Attorney’s fees. On a finding by the court that an unsuccessful pleading, motion, or
other paper filed in connection with an action under this section was filed in bad
faith or for purposes of harassment, the court shall award to the prevailing party
attorney’s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the
pleading, motion, or other paper.
§ 618. Jurisdiction of courts; limitation of actions [15 U.S.C. § 1681p]
An action to enforce any liability created under this title may be brought in any
appropriate United States district court without regard to the amount in controversy, or in
any other court of competent jurisdiction, within two years from the date on which the
liability arises, except that where a defendant has materially and willfully misrepresented any
information required under this title to be disclosed to an individual and the information so
misrepresented is material to the establishment of the defendant’s liability to that individual
under this title, the action may be brought at any time within two years after discovery by
the individual of the misrepresentation.
§ 619. Obtaining information under false pretenses [15 U.S.C. § 1681q]
Any person who knowingly and willfully obtains information on a consumer from a
consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined under title 18, United States
Code, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
§ 620. Unauthorized disclosures by officers or employees [15 U.S.C. § 1681r]
Any officer or employee of a consumer reporting agency who knowingly and willfully
provides information concerning an individual from the agency’s files to a person not
authorized to receive that information shall be fined under title 18, United States Code,
imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
§ 621. Administrative enforcement [15 U.S.C. § 1681s]
(a) (1) Enforcement by Federal Trade Commission. Compliance with the requirements
imposed under this title shall be enforced under the Federal Trade Commission
Act [15 U.S.C. §§ 41 et seq.] by the Federal Trade Commission with respect to
consumer reporting agencies and all other persons subject thereto, except to the
extent that enforcement of the requirements imposed under this title is
specifically committed to some other government agency under subsection (b)
hereof. For the purpose of the exercise by the Federal Trade Commission of its
functions and powers under the Federal Trade Commission Act, a violation of
any requirement or prohibition imposed under this title shall constitute an unfair
or deceptive act or practice in commerce in violation of section 5(a) of the Federal
Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C. § 45(a)] and shall be subject to enforcement
by the Federal Trade Commission under section 5(b) thereof [15 U.S.C. § 45(b)]
with respect to any consumer reporting agency or person subject to enforcement
by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to this subsection, irrespective of
whether that person is engaged in commerce or meets any other jurisdictional
tests in the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Federal Trade Commission
shall have such procedural, investigative, and enforcement powers, including the
power to issue procedural rules in enforcing compliance with the requirements
imposed under this title and to require the filing of reports, the production of
documents, and the appearance of witnesses as though the applicable terms and
conditions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were part of this title. Any
person violating any of the provisions of this title shall be subject to the penalties
and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade
Commission Act as though the applicable terms and provisions thereof were part
of this title.
(2)(A) In the event of a knowing violation, which constitutes a pattern or practice of
violations of this title, the Commission may commence a civil action to
recover a civil penalty in a district court of the United States against any
person that violates this title. In such action, such person shall be liable for a
civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation.
(B) In determining the amount of a civil penalty under subparagraph (A),
the court shall take into account the degree of culpability, any history
of prior such conduct, ability to pay, effect on ability to continue to do
business, and such other matters as justice may require.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (2), a court may not impose any civil penalty on a
person for a violation of section 623(a)(1) [§ 1681s-2] unless the person has been
enjoined from committing the violation, or ordered not to commit the violation,
in an action or proceeding brought by or on behalf of the Federal Trade
Commission, and has violated the injunction or order, and the court may not
impose any civil penalty for any violation occurring before the date of the violation
of the injunction or order.
(b) Enforcement by other agencies. Compliance with the requirements imposed under
this title with respect to consumer reporting agencies, persons who use consumer
reports from such agencies, persons who furnish information to such agencies, and
users of information that are subject to subsection (d) of section 615 [§ 1681m]
shall be enforced under
(1) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act [12 U.S.C. § 1818], in the case
of
(A) national banks, and Federal branches and Federal agencies of foreign
banks, by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
(B) member banks of the Federal Reserve System (other than national banks),
branches and agencies of foreign banks (other than Federal branches,
Federal agencies, and insured State branches of foreign banks), commercial
lending companies owned or controlled by foreign banks, and
organizations operating under section 25 or 25(a) [25A] of the Federal
Reserve Act [12 U.S.C. §§ 601 et seq., §§ 611 et seq], by the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and
(C) banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (other than
members of the Federal Reserve System) and insured State branches of
foreign banks, by the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation;
(2) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act [12 U.S.C. § 1818], by the
Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, in the case of a savings association
the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
(3) the Federal Credit Union Act [12 U.S.C. §§ 1751 et seq.], by the Administrator
of the National Credit Union Administration [National Credit Union
Administration Board] with respect to any Federal credit union;
(4) subtitle IV of title 49 [49 U.S.C. §§ 10101 et seq.], by the Secretary of
Transportation, with respect to all carriers subject to the jurisdiction of the
Surface Transportation Board;
(5) the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 [49 U.S.C. Appx §§ 1301 et seq.], by the
Secretary of Transportation with respect to any air carrier or foreign air carrier
subject to that Act [49 U.S.C. Appx §§ 1301 et seq.]; and
(6) the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921 [7 U.S.C. §§ 181 et seq.] (except as
provided in section 406 of that Act [7 U.S.C. §§ 226 and 227]), by the
Secretary of Agriculture with respect to any activities subject to that Act.
The terms used in paragraph (1) that are not defined in this title or otherwise defined in
section 3(s) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. §1813(s)) shall have the
meaning given to them in section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C.
§ 3101).
(c) State action for violations.
(1) Authority of states. In addition to such other remedies as are provided under
State law, if the chief law enforcement officer of a State, or an official or
agency designated by a State, has reason to believe that any person has
violated or is violating this title, the State
(A) may bring an action to enjoin such violation in any appropriate United
States district court or in any other court of competent jurisdiction;
(B) subject to paragraph (5), may bring an action on behalf of the residents of
the State to recover
(i) damages for which the person is liable to such residents under
sections 616 and 617 [§§ 1681n and 1681o] as a result of the
violation;
(ii) in the case of a violation of section 623(a) [§ 1681s-2], damages for
which the person would, but for section 623(c) [§ 1681s-2], be
liable to such residents as a result of the violation; or
(iii) damages of not more than $1,000 for each willful or negligent
violation; and
(C) in the case of any successful action under subparagraph (A) or (B), shall
be awarded the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees as
determined by the court.
(2) Rights of federal regulators. The State shall serve prior written notice of any
action under paragraph (1) upon the Federal Trade Commission or the
appropriate Federal regulator determined under subsection (b) and provide the
Commission or appropriate Federal regulator with a copy of its complaint,
except in any case in which such prior notice is not feasible, in which case
the State shall serve such notice immediately upon instituting such action.
The Federal Trade Commission or appropriate Federal regulator shall have
the right
(A) to intervene in the action;
(B) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters arising therein;
(C) to remove the action to the appropriate United States district court; and
(D) to file petitions for appeal.
(3) Investigatory powers. For purposes of bringing any action under this subsection,
nothing in this subsection shall prevent the chief law enforcement officer, or an
official or agency designated by a State, from exercising the powers conferred on
the chief law enforcement officer or such official by the laws of such State to
conduct investigations or to administer oaths or affirmations or to compel the
attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.
(4) Limitation on state action while federal action pending. If the Federal Trade
Commission or the appropriate Federal regulator has instituted a civil action
or an administrative action under section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance
Act for a violation of this title, no State may, during the pendency of such
action, bring an action under this section against any defendant named in the
complaint of the Commission or the appropriate Federal regulator for any
violation of this title that is alleged in that complaint.
(5) Limitations on state actions for violation of section 623(a)(1) [§ 1681s-2].
(A) Violation of injunction required. A State may not bring an action against
a person under paragraph (1)(B) for a violation of section 623(a)(1)
[§ 1681s-2], unless
(i) the person has been enjoined from committing the violation, in
an action brought by the State under paragraph (1)(A); and
(ii) the person has violated the injunction.
(B) Limitation on damages recoverable. In an action against a person
under paragraph (1)(B) for a violation of section 623(a)(1) [§ 1681s-2],
a State may not recover any damages incurred before the date of the
violation of an injunction on which the action is based.
(d) Enforcement under other authority. For the purpose of the exercise by any agency
referred to in subsection (b) of this section of its powers under any Act referred to in
that subsection, a violation of any requirement imposed under this title shall be
deemed to be a violation of a requirement imposed under that Act. In addition to its
powers under any provision of law specifically referred to in subsection (b) of this
section, each of the agencies referred to in that subsection may exercise, for the
purpose of enforcing compliance with any requirement imposed under this title any
other authority conferred on it by law.
(e) Regulatory authority
(1) The Federal banking agencies referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b) shall
jointly prescribe such regulations as necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act with
respect to any persons identified under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b), and the
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall have authority to prescribe
regulations consistent with such joint regulations with respect to bank holding companies
and affiliates (other than depository institutions and consumer reporting agencies) of
such holding companies.
(2) The Board of the National Credit Union Administration shall prescribe such
regulations as necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act with respect to any
persons identified under paragraph (3) of subsection (b).
§ 622. Information on overdue child support obligations [15 U.S.C. § 1681s-1]
Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a consumer reporting agency shall
include in any consumer report furnished by the agency in accordance with section 604
[§ 1681b] of this title, any information on the failure of the consumer to pay overdue
support which
(1) is provided
(A) to the consumer reporting agency by a State or local child support
enforcement agency; or
(B) to the consumer reporting agency and verified by any local, State, or
Federal government agency; and
(2) antedates the report by 7 years or less.
§ 623. Responsibilities of furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies [15 U.S.C.
§ 1681s-2]
(a) Duty of furnishers of information to provide accurate information.
(1) Prohibition.
(A) Reporting information with actual knowledge of errors. A person shall
not furnish any information relating to a consumer to any consumer
reporting agency if the person knows or consciously avoids knowing
that the information is inaccurate.
(B) Reporting information after notice and confirmation of errors. A person
shall not furnish information relating to a consumer to any consumer
reporting agency if
(i) the person has been notified by the consumer, at the address
specified by the person for such notices, that specific
information is inaccurate; and
(ii) the information is, in fact, inaccurate.
(C) No address requirement. A person who clearly and conspicuously
specifies to the consumer an address for notices referred to in
subparagraph (B) shall not be subject to subparagraph (A); however,
nothing in subparagraph (B) shall require a person to specify such an
address.
(2) Duty to correct and update information. A person who
(A) regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes information
to one or more consumer reporting agencies about the person’s
transactions or experiences with any consumer; and
(B) has furnished to a consumer reporting agency information that the
person determines is not complete or accurate,
shall promptly notify the consumer reporting agency of that determination and
provide to the agency any corrections to that information, or any additional
information, that is necessary to make the information provided by the person to
the agency complete and accurate, and shall not thereafter furnish to the agency
any of the information that remains not complete or accurate.
(3) Duty to provide notice of dispute. If the completeness or accuracy of any
information furnished by any person to any consumer reporting agency is
disputed to such person by a consumer, the person may not furnish the
information to any consumer reporting agency without notice that such
information is disputed by the consumer.
(4) Duty to provide notice of closed accounts. A person who regularly and in the
ordinary course of business furnishes information to a consumer reporting
agency regarding a consumer who has a credit account with that person shall
notify the agency of the voluntary closure of the account by the consumer, in
information regularly furnished for the period in which the account is closed.
(5) Duty to provide notice of delinquency of accounts. A person who furnishes
information to a consumer reporting agency regarding a delinquent account being
placed for collection, charged to profit or loss, or subjected to any similar action
shall, not later than 90 days after furnishing the information, notify the agency of
the month and year of the commencement of the delinquency that immediately
preceded the action.
(b) Duties of furnishers of information upon notice of dispute.
(1) In general. After receiving notice pursuant to section 611(a)(2) [§ 1681i] of a
dispute with regard to the completeness or accuracy of any information
provided by a person to a consumer reporting agency, the person shall
(A) conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information;
(B) review all relevant information provided by the consumer reporting
agency pursuant to section 611(a)(2) [§ 1681i];
(C) report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting agency;
and
(D) if the investigation finds that the information is incomplete or
inaccurate, report those results to all other consumer reporting agencies
to which the person furnished the information and that compile and
maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis.
(2) Deadline. A person shall complete all investigations, reviews, and reports
required under paragraph (1) regarding information provided by the person to a
consumer reporting agency, before the expiration of the period under section
611(a)(1) [§ 1681i] within which the consumer reporting agency is required to
complete actions required by that section regarding that information.
(c) Limitation on liability. Sections 616 and 617 [§§ 1681n and 1681o] do not apply
to any failure to comply with subsection (a), except as provided in section
621(c)(1)(B) [§ 1681s].
(d) Limitation on enforcement. Subsection (a) shall be enforced exclusively under
section 621 [§ 1681s] by the Federal agencies and officials and the State officials
identified in that section.
§ 624. Relation to State laws [15 U.S.C. § 1681t]
(a) In general. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), this title does not annul,
alter, affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this title from
complying with the laws of any State with respect to the collection, distribution, or
use of any information on consumers, except to the extent that those laws are
inconsistent with any provision of this title, and then only to the extent of the
inconsistency.
(b) General exceptions. No requirement or prohibition may be imposed under the laws
of any State
(1) with respect to any subject matter regulated under
(A) subsection (c) or (e) of section 604 [§ 1681b], relating to the
prescreening of consumer reports;
(B) section 611 [§ 1681i], relating to the time by which a consumer
reporting agency must take any action, including the provision of
notification to a consumer or other person, in any procedure related to
the disputed accuracy of information in a consumer’s file, except that
this subparagraph shall not apply to any State law in effect on the date
of enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996;
(C) subsections (a) and (b) of section 615 [§ 1681m], relating to the duties of
a person who takes any adverse action with respect to a consumer;
(D) section 615(d) [§ 1681m], relating to the duties of persons who use a
consumer report of a consumer in connection with any credit or
insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer and that
consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance;
(E) section 605 [§ 1681c], relating to information contained in consumer
reports, except that this subparagraph shall not apply to any State law
in effect on the date of enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting
Reform Act of 1996; or
(F) section 623 [§ 1681s-2], relating to the responsibilities of persons who
furnish information to consumer reporting agencies, except that this
paragraph shall not apply
(i) with respect to section 54A(a) of chapter 93 of the
Massachusetts Annotated Laws (as in effect on the date of
enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of
1996); or
(ii) with respect to section 1785.25(a) of the California Civil Code (as
in effect on the date of enactment of the Consumer Credit
Reporting Reform Act of 1996);
(2) with respect to the exchange of information among persons affiliated by common
ownership or common corporate control, except that this paragraph shall not
apply with respect to subsection (a) or (c)(1) of section 2480e of title 9, Vermont
Statutes Annotated (as in effect on the date of enactment of the Consumer Credit
Reporting Reform Act of 1996); or
(3) with respect to the form and content of any disclosure required to be made
under section 609(c) [§ 1681g].
(c) Definition of firm offer of credit or insurance. Notwithstanding any definition of the
term “firm offer of credit or insurance” (or any equivalent term) under the laws of any
State, the definition of that term contained in section 603(l) [§ 1681a] shall be
construed to apply in the enforcement and interpretation of the laws of any State
governing consumer reports.
(d) Limitations. Subsections (b) and (c)
(1) do not affect any settlement, agreement, or consent judgment between any State
Attorney General and any consumer reporting agency in effect on the date of
enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996; and
(2) do not apply to any provision of State law (including any provision of a State
constitution) that
(A) is enacted after January 1, 2004;
(B) states explicitly that the provision is intended to supplement this title; and
(C) gives greater protection to consumers than is provided under this title.
§ 625. Disclosures to FBI for counterintelligence purposes [15 U.S.C. § 1681u]
(a) Identity of financial institutions. Notwithstanding section 604 [§ 1681b] or any
other provision of this title, a consumer reporting agency shall furnish to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation the names and addresses of all financial institutions (as that
term is defined in section 1101 of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 [12
U.S.C. § 3401]) at which a consumer maintains or has maintained an account, to
the extent that information is in the files of the agency, when presented with a
written request for that information, signed by the Director of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, or the Director’s designee in a position not lower than Deputy Assistant
Director at Bureau headquarters or a Special Agent in Charge of a Bureau field office
designated by the Director, which certifies compliance with this section. The Director
or the Director’s designee may make such a certification only if the Director or the
Director’s designee has determined in writing, that such information is sought for the
conduct of an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or
clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such an investigation of a United
States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the
first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(b) Identifying information. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 604 [§ 1681b] or
any other provision of this title, a consumer reporting agency shall furnish identifying
information respecting a consumer, limited to name, address, former addresses,
places of employment, or former places of employment, to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation when presented with a written request, signed by the Director or the
Director’s designee, which certifies compliance with this subsection. The Director or
the Director’s designee in a position not lower than Deputy Assistant Director at
Bureau headquarters or a Special Agent in Charge of a Bureau field office designated
by the Director may make such a certification only if the Director or the Director’s
designee has determined in writing that such information is sought for the conduct
of an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine
intelligence activities, provided that such an investigation of a United States person is
not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to
the Constitution of the United States.
(c) Court order for disclosure of consumer reports. Notwithstanding section 604
[§ 1681b] or any other provision of this title, if requested in writing by the Director
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a designee of the Director in a position not
lower than Deputy Assistant Director at Bureau headquarters or a Special Agent in
Charge of a Bureau field office designated by the Director, a court may issue an order
ex parte directing a consumer reporting agency to furnish a consumer report to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, upon a showing in camera that the consumer report
is sought for the conduct of an authorized investigation to protect against international
terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such an investigation of a
United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by
the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The terms of an order issued under this subsection shall not disclose that the order
is issued for purposes of a counterintelligence investigation.
(d) Confidentiality. No consumer reporting agency or officer, employee, or agent of a
consumer reporting agency shall disclose to any person, other than those officers,
employees, or agents of a consumer reporting agency necessary to fulfill the
requirement to disclose information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under this
section, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained the identity
of financial institutions or a consumer report respecting any consumer under
subsection (a), (b), or (c), and no consumer reporting agency or officer, employee, or
agent of a consumer reporting agency shall include in any consumer report any
information that would indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought
or obtained such information or a consumer report.
(e) Payment of fees. The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall, subject to the availability
of appropriations, pay to the consumer reporting agency assembling or providing
report or information in accordance with procedures established under this section a
fee for reimbursement for such costs as are reasonably necessary and which have
been directly incurred in searching, reproducing, or transporting books, papers,
records, or other data required or requested to be produced under this section.
(f) Limit on dissemination. The Federal Bureau of Investigation may not disseminate
information obtained pursuant to this section outside of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, except to other Federal agencies as may be necessary for the approval or
conduct of a foreign counterintelligence investigation, or, where the information
concerns a person subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to appropriate
investigative authorities within the military department concerned as may be
necessary for the conduct of a joint foreign counterintelligence investigation.
(g) Rules of construction. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit
information from being furnished by the Federal Bureau of Investigation pursuant to
a subpoena or court order, in connection with a judicial or administrative proceeding
to enforce the provisions of this Act. Nothing in this section shall be construed to
authorize or permit the withholding of information from the Congress.
(h) Reports to Congress. On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall fully
inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on
Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Select
Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs of the Senate concerning all requests made pursuant to subsections (a), (b),
and (c).
(i) Damages. Any agency or department of the United States obtaining or disclosing any
consumer reports, records, or information contained therein in violation of this
section is liable to the consumer to whom such consumer reports, records, or
information relate in an amount equal to the sum of
(1) $100, without regard to the volume of consumer reports, records, or information
involved;
(2) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the disclosure;
(3) if the violation is found to have been willful or intentional, such punitive
damages as a court may allow; and
(4) in the case of any successful action to enforce liability under this subsection, the
costs of the action, together with reasonable attorney fees, as determined by the
court.
(j) Disciplinary actions for violations. If a court determines that any agency or
department of the United States has violated any provision of this section and the
court finds that the circumstances surrounding the violation raise questions of
whether or not an officer or employee of the agency or department acted willfully or
intentionally with respect to the violation, the agency or department shall promptly
initiate a proceeding to determine whether or not disciplinary action is warranted
against the officer or employee who was responsible for the violation.
(k) Good-faith exception. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, any
consumer reporting agency or agent or employee thereof making disclosure of
consumer reports or identifying information pursuant to this subsection in good-faith
reliance upon a certification of the Federal Bureau of Investigation pursuant to
provisions of this section shall not be liable to any person for such disclosure under
this title, the constitution of any State, or any law or regulation of any State or any
political subdivision of any State.
(l) Limitation of remedies. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the
remedies and sanctions set forth in this section shall be the only judicial remedies
and sanctions for violation of this section.
(m) Injunctive relief. In addition to any other remedy contained in this section,
injunctive relief shall be available to require compliance with the procedures of
this section. In the event of any successful action under this subsection, costs
together with reasonable attorney fees, as determined by the court, may be
recovered.
§ 626. Disclosures to governmental agencies for counterterrorism purposes [15 U.S.C. §1681v]
(a) Disclosure. Notwithstanding section 604 or any other provision of this title, a
consumer reporting agency shall furnish a consumer report of a consumer and all
other information in a consumer’s file to a government agency authorized to conduct
investigations of, or intelligence or counterintelligence activities or analysis related to,
international terrorism when presented with a written certification by such
government agency that such information is necessary for the agency’s conduct or
such investigation, activity or analysis.
(b) Form of certification. The certification described in subsection (a) shall be signed by
a supervisory official designated by the head of a Federal agency or an officer of a
Federal agency whose appointment to office is required to be made by the President,
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
(c) Confidentiality. No consumer reporting agency, or officer, employee, or agent of
such consumer reporting agency, shall disclose to any person, or specify in any
consumer report, that a government agency has sought or obtained access to
information under subsection (a).
(d) Rule of construction. Nothing in section 625 shall be construed to limit the
authority of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under this section.
(e) Safe harbor. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, any consumer reporting
agency or agent or employee thereof making disclosure of consumer reports or
other information pursuant to this section in good-faith reliance upon a certification
of a governmental agency pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not be liable
to any person for such disclosure under this subchapter, the constitution of any
State, or any law or regulation of any State or any political subdivision of any State.
Legislative History
House Reports: No. 91-975 (Comm. on Banking and Currency) and
No. 91-1587 (Comm. of Conference)
Senate Reports: No. 91-1139 accompanying S. 3678 (Comm. on Banking and Currency)
Congressional Record, Vol. 116 (1970)
May 25, considered and passed House.
Sept. 18, considered and passed Senate, amended.
Oct. 9, Senate agreed to conference report.
Oct. 13, House agreed to conference report.
Enactment: Public Law No. 91-508 (October 26, 1970):
98-443 (October 4, 1984)
101-73 (August 9, 1989)
102-242 (December 19, 1991)
102-537 (October 27, 1992)
102-550 (October 28, 1992)
103-325 (September 23, 1994)
104-88 (December 29, 1995)
104-93 (January 6, 1996)
104-193 (August 22, 1996)
104-208 (September 30, 1996)
105-107 (November 20, 1997)
107-56 (October 26, 2001)

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