The FTC – how to file a complaint (updated 4/12/10)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal regulator of credit bureaus and collectors.

The FTC’s primary function is to protect big business.  It focuses on fraud, false advertising and deceptive practices by competitors of the largest corporations.   The FTC does NOT assist consumers looking for assistance with disputes.

HOWEVER, the FTC may actually contact credit bureaus on your behalf if your complaint is about false information on your credit report.

From https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/SSNInformation.htm

If your complaint is about the accuracy of your credit file at Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union, the FTC may send it to the credit bureau, consistent with a new federal law. For such a complaint, please provide the following:

(1) Your Social Security Number (SSN),

(2) “Yes” answer to the question “Did you dispute an item on your credit report with one of the Credit Reporting Agencies?” and

(3) “Yes” answer to the question “Did it take the Credit Reporting Agency more than 45 days to respond to your dispute, and did you provide your Social Security Number when you disputed?”

I don’t know what this “new” federal law is and I will update with the response to my own and clients’ complaints.

Usually, you only receive a reference number with a form letter (brochure) generally unrelated to your problems and NOT helpful.

So why bother submitting a complaint to the FTC?

The FTC compiles reports for Congress and it includes the number of complaints about specific issues.

FTC contact info

And it’s FREE and you can do it online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

I just went through the process required to file a complaint against a credit bureau and it is a bit tedious, but I finally got to the page asking about the COMPANY and here you add the information about the credit bureau and/or creditors who verified incorrect information  — you can add several companies such as credit bureaus, creditors and collectors.

When you’re finished, you can edit and add data on the REVIEW page.

Click on the picture for full size:

4-10-10--FTC-complaint-form

While the FTC site states that it does NOT resolve individual complaints, it actually requests your Social Security Number. From the page with the explanation:

If your complaint is about the accuracy of your credit file at Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union, the FTC may send it to the credit bureau, consistent with a new federal law. For such a complaint, please provide the following:

(1)   Your Social Security Number (SSN),

(2)   “Yes” answer to the question “Did you dispute an item on your credit report with one of the Credit Reporting Agencies?” and

(3)   “Yes” answer to the question “Did it take the Credit Reporting Agency more than 45 days to respond to your dispute, and did you provide your Social Security Number when you disputed?”

The FTC does not normally ask for Social Security numbers, and we advise you to be careful with all your personal information – especially your Social Security number. We are asking for a Social Security number here, however, because this information will assist the credit bureau(s) in resolving your complaint.

So if you have a problem with a credit bureau not correcting your credit report, that’s the way to go!

I’m sure glad for that new federal law.

Very important:

Make sure you compose the “additional information” ahead of time and don’t go over the maximum number of words: 3500

If you are also filing your complaints with STATE attorneys general (your state and the credit bureau / creditor / collector state), you can probably copy your letter to them.

Unfortunately, you can NOT attach documents.  However, since I post my documentation at my blogs anyway, I’ll just provide the LINK to the docs.

Please post any questions below.



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