Posted by: thecreditmaven | November 17, 2008

Your “Other” Consumer Reports – Part I

It is common knowledge that all consumers have a credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) controls the gathering, distribution and usage of consumer credit information. 

However, the FCRA covers much more than just consumer credit reports. Refer to Sec. 612 (a)(1)(C) of the FCRA – “Specialty” consumer reports. 

Here’s some examples of the “Specialty” reports:

  • Homeowner and auto insurance claims
  • Residential or tenant history and evictions
  • Check writing history
  • Employment background checks
  • Medical conditions 

Congress has designated the companies that collect the information for these reports as, you guessed it “Nationwide Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies”. These companies are separate from the major credit bureaus and collect information other than your credit history. 

Why should I care what information is in my Specialty report? 

Similar to your credit report, it is important that any information contained in a report be accurate. If the information is not accurate, the possibility exists that when the information is requested about a consumer for the purpose of renting, employing, issuing an insurance policy, etc the consumer could be denied. 

How can I access my homeowner and auto insurance claims report? 

There are two companies that collect this information:

  • ISO Insurance Services
  • ChoicePoint 

To order a free consumer report from ISO, go to: 

http://www.iso.com/Products/A-PLUS/Consumers-Order-Your-Free-A-PLUS-Loss-History-Report.html 

or call 1-800-627-3487. 

To order a free consumer report from ChoicePoint, go to: 

http://www.choicetrust.com/ click on “CLUES” report or call 1-866-312-8076. 

While on ChoicePoint website, review their opt-out policy which is under the ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION link. 

It is important to make a clarification concerning “consumer report” versus “file disclosure”. A consumer report is (I’ll paraphrase from the FCRA) a collection of information provided by a consumer reporting agency that represents a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit history, character, personal characteristics, etc. 

A file disclosure is all of the (consumers) information that is retained and recorded by a consumer-reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored. 

A consumer report is provided to employers, financial institutions, landlords, etc that reflect information at any given time. On the other hand, a file disclosure contains ALL of the information that a consumer-reporting agency has pertaining to each individual consumer. 

Every consumer is entitled to a free “file disclosure”, not a report. 

See the difference? 

Next week, we will review how to access the other reports.

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