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People are increasingly dissatisfied with credit reporting services — consumer complaints about credit reporting, credit repair services, and other consumer reports have increased, nearly doubling between 2021 and 2022.

The number of credit reporting complaints rose by another 73% from 2022 to 2023 and has continued to rise into 2024, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

What are credit reporting services?

“Credit reporting” is the process by which companies compile and maintain people’s credit histories, or the record of a borrower’s repayment of debts. Credit reporting services use this information to determine credit scores, which can impact a person’s ability to take out a loan or rent an apartment, for instance.

How many credit reporting complaints are made?

The CFPB Consumer Complaints Database has tracked a rise in complaints filed against credit reporting agencies and other consumer reports over the past several years. The most common reasons for a complaint are incorrect information on a report, improper use of reports, and problems with investigations.

In 2017, the first year for which consumer credit complaints data is available, people made an average of 8,100 complaints per month[1]. By the first five months of 2024, an average month had over 145,000 complaints roll in. That’s nearly 18 times the 2017 rate.

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Most complaints are filed against the “Big Three” credit reporting services — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — which aggregate data from more than 1.6 billion credit accounts for over 200 million adults every month (as of 2022).

In 2023, consumers filed 961,570 complaints against the Big Three: 336,580 against TransUnion, 323,910 against Equifax, and 301,080 against TransUnion. Put another way, 92% of all such complaints received by the CFPB in 2023 were against the Big Three.

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Why are complaints against credit agencies increasing?

The CFPB releases annual reports detailing deficiencies in the credit-related agencies generating consumer complaints. Some reports emphasize the lack of substantive responses to complaints filed by the CFPB.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, said in 2022 that, “America’s credit reporting oligopoly has little incentive to treat consumers fairly when their credit reports have errors,” finding “serious harms stemming from their faulty financial surveillance.”

While the 2023 CFPB annual report found improvements in certain areas, it still recognized the burden placed on consumers to monitor and correct the Big Three's reporting.

What are credit repair services?

Credit repair services purportedly aim to help people improve their credit standing by disputing inaccuracies in credit reports to boost credit scores. But the CFPB receives a high number of “fraud or scamming” complaints against credit repair services and notes that some services use deceptive practices. As of June 10, 2024, consumers had made 5,493 complaints against credit repair services since April 2017, with numbers rising in recent years.

The Credit Repair Organization Act, passed in 1996, prohibits companies from lying to consumers about the services they can provide. As the Federal Trade Commission notes individuals can do anything a credit repair provider can do legally.

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Consumer Complaint Database
Last updated
July 6, 2024
[1]

Data collection began in April 2017.