Summary: H.R.3596 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (07/23/1992)

Title I: Amendments to Fair Credit Reporting Act - Consumer Reporting Reform Act of 1992 - Amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to modify the permissible purposes of consumer credit reports. Mandates certain disclosures in connection with employment-related reports.

Allows a report in connection with a transaction not initiated by the consumer only if authorized by the consumer or if: (1) there is a firm offer of credit; and (2) the consumer has not elected to be excluded from lists provided for such purposes. Limits the information which may be supplied. Prohibits a consumer reporting agency (CRA) from furnishing a record of inquiries solely resulting from such transactions. Allows a consumer to so elect and requires related notice to the consumer. Requires each CRA to maintain a toll-free telephone number for notification to CRAs of such election. Allows CRAs which compile nationwide information to jointly maintain a notification system. Prohibits furnishing a report for a direct marketing transaction not initiated by the consumer if the furnishing bears on the status of any account of the consumer, because of the criteria used to decide to furnish the report.

Makes overdue payment report obsolescence periods dependent on the length of time overdue. Increases the dollar amount limits above which otherwise obsolete information may, in certain circumstances, be reported. Requires: (1) report bankruptcy information to include the chapter involved; (2) accounts closed by the consumer to be so noted; and (3) reporting overdue child support. Prohibits: (1) information over ten years old; (2) reporting, without consent, medical information on the consumer; and (3) reporting certain payment failure relating to a period during which the consumer was receiving or eligible for unemployment compensation.

Prohibits a CRA from prohibiting disclosure of a report to the consumer. Requires a CRA to notify regular information furnishers regarding their responsibilities. Regulates report resale.

Requires, on request, disclosure to the consumer of all information (currently, the nature and substance of all information) in the consumer's file. Modifies requirements regarding: (1) disclosure regarding report recipients and inquiries, mandating inclusion with the disclosures of a summary of the consumer's rights; and (2) forms for various disclosures.

Modifies procedures and requirements regarding disputed information.

Regulates charges for certain disclosures. Prohibits charges for providing certain notices.

Revises the duties of report users who take adverse actions, including requiring notice to the consumer regarding the consumer's rights and information on any credit worthiness predictor used. Imposes duties on users in transactions not initiated by the consumer, including that: (1) information from the consumer's report was used; (2) if a firm offer of credit is made, that credit may not be extended if the consumer does not meet the selection criteria; and (3) the consumer has a right to prohibit disclosure of information in the consumer's file in connection with such a transaction.

Imposes civil liability on any person (currently, on any CRA or information user) who willfully or negligently fails to comply with requirements of the Act. Sets a minimum civil fine for a willful failure by a natural person.

Sets forth the duties of furnishers of information, including: (1) correcting and updating information the furnisher determines to be incomplete or inaccurate; (2) notifying the CRA of a continuing completeness or accuracy dispute by the consumer, of account closure by the consumer, or of the commencement of a delinquency; (3) notifying the consumer that information will be so furnished; and (4) upon notice of a dispute, investigating and reporting results within time limits. Declares that provisions relating to liability for willful or negligent failure to comply do not apply to certain furnisher duties.

Imposes fines as specified under the Federal criminal code (currently, imposes fines of specified dollar amounts) or imprisonment for not more than two years (currently, one year) for obtaining information on a consumer under false pretenses or for unauthorized disclosures of information.

Authorizes enforcement under (currently, under specified provisions of) the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), including enforcement as if the violation had been a violation of any Federal Trade Commission (FTC) trade regulation rule.

Allows a State to bring a civil action to enjoin violations, recover actual monetary losses, or both. Grants the FTC the right to intervene.

Authorizes the Federal Reserve Board to issue interpretations of the Act as it applies to certain persons in relation to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act of the Federal Credit Union Act.

Preempts State laws relating to the subject of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, except State laws enforcing the Act.

Title II: Credit Repair Organizations - Amends the Consumer Credit Protection Act to provide that specified provisions of that Act may be cited as the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

Prohibits credit repair organizations (CROs) from taking certain actions, including: (1) charging or receiving any valuable consideration for any service before the service is fully performed; (2) advising any consumer to make an untrue or misleading statement; (3) advising any consumer to alter the consumer's identification to prevent the display of the consumer's credit record; or (4) other fraud or deception.

Specifies a statement, which a CRO must provide to consumers before an agreement is executed, regarding the consumer, the CRO, and related rights, powers, and obligations.

Requires written, signed contracts covering specified matters in order for a CRO to provide services.

Allows a consumer to cancel a contract with a CRO within three business days of making the contract.

Declares void any consumer waiver of any protection under this title. Makes an attempt by any person to obtain a waiver a violation of this title. Voids any contract not in compliance with this title.

Provides for civil liability for CRAs and associated persons for failing to comply with this title, including allowing punitive damages and class actions.

Requires enforcement of this title under the FTCA by the FTC. Makes: (1) a violation of this title an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of specified provisions of the FTCA; and (2) all functions and powers of the FTC available for enforcement of this title. Allows State enforcement through Federal or State courts.