Changes at the FTC? (updated 4/12/10)

The FTC is the national regulator for credit bureaus and collectors.

Until President Bush was elected in 2000, the FTC aggressively sued Trans Union repeatedly for its misuse of consumer credit data for marketing.  It also sued the credit bureaus for excessive hold times when consumers called to dispute.

The FTC also frequently issued published Staff Opinion Letters with regards to credit inquiries, credit reporting, collection practices, etc.  That also ended around 2000.

In the 20th century, the credit bureaus were not able to violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act with impunity as they do now.

  • In the 90s, the FCRA was STRENGTHENED.
  • In 2003, the FCRA was WEAKENED

The FTC prepares reports about problems with credit reporting to Congress and most (corrupt and/or clueless) legislators rely on the FTC recommendations.

The FTC now limits its enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to compiling statistics about consumer complaints.

The FTC does next to nothing to protect consumers from malicious credit bureaus who cause literally many millions of divorces, foreclosures, illnesses and even suicides.

  • The credit bureaus implement procedures to ensure the LOWEST possible FICO scores for the working people.
  • The credit bureaus have VIP departments to prevent negative information on the credit reports of influential politicians and judges.

And of course the FTC does NOTHING.

The credit bureaus’ clients are the creditors and collectors.

The FTC protects the credit bureaus and ensures that bankers can charge atrocious interest rates and fees due to “information contained in credit reports.”

Of course I did not know that when I wasted my time on submissions to the FTC and FRB (Federal Reserve Bank) requests for public comments about credit reporting and scoring:

Why are the regulators REFUSING to enforce the law?

Tens of thousands have read my published comments to the FTC and FRB, but the regulators ignored me.

While credit bureaus, creditors and collectors had considerable influence in the 20th century, they were not able to violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act openly and with impunity as they have since 2000.

President Obama appointed Jon Leibowitz as FTC Chairman in 2009.

While many Obama supporters hoped for changes, I was very disappointed with the FORM LETTER responses to my 2009 FTC complaints:

Credit Bureau Experian and DeVry Reporting False Late Payments and Refusal to Delete

Debt Collector Portfolio Recovery FDCPA and FCRA Complaints with FTC and Attorneys General

I see NO changes at the FTC.

In fact, Chairman Leibowitz’s SPEECHES and ARTICLES could make you think that he has never even heard of credit reports, collection abuse and the credit crisis.

The American credit reporting system is DYSFUNCTIONAL.

For example, credit bureaus Experian and Trans Union often FAIL to report the dates of charge-offs or collections and the date of first permanent delinquency.

Should a consumer with a 6 year old collection be declined insurance and jobs and forced into high rate loans because Experian and Trans Union choose NOT to report the date of the default to creditors?

Should consumers be subjected to exploitation by bankers because FICO scoring software is buggy and even creates FICTITIOUS late payments?

Should a consumer’s FICO score NOT increase after paying collections?  Why not?

I have documented many times that FICO scores don’t predict defaults, but CAUSE defaults.

The FTC couldn’t care less.

And after over a year since Obama took office, it is clear that the FTC is as corrupt as ever and will NOT touch credit bureaus.

The credit bureaus know this and act accordingly, often refusing legitimate disputes and verifying OBVIOUSLY incorrect data.

The FTC occasionally takes on a collector or debt buyer engaging in fraud and extortion, but it fails to end SYSTEMIC incorrect and incomplete credit reporting practices.

I hope that many MILLIONS of (near) judgment-proof consumers will vote with their money and default on their unsecured debts (as I did).

Research your STATE laws, consult with bankruptcy attorneys, do some “estate planning” and maybe you can even leave this corrupt system or at least stop supporting it with your tax dollars.

Christine Baker

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