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H.R.4173 - Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009

U.S. House bill calls for consumers to get same credit scores that lenders get


The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, on December 11, 2009. Included is an amendment, a summary of which states, "Further, the amendment... Would consider as 'unfair' for a credit bureau to make available for purchase by lenders any type of credit score for a consumer that is not also available for purchase by that same consumer."

In a press release that singles out out consumer reporting agency Experian, amendment author Representative Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts said, regarding her proposal, “If a bureau chooses to sell a type of score to a lender, it must also make that type of score available to the consumer.”

That simple logic answers the credit bureaus' ridiculous question, "Again, what scores?" used a decade ago to address's question #14. The FDIC calls FICO scores the most commonly known and used credit bureau scores. The FHA uses them as a statistical reference standard. But despite the FICO's obvious and overwhelming prominence, Experian still tries to float its Thousand Scores silliness.

Earlier this year, consumers lost access to their Experian FICO score while Experian continued to sell the score to lenders.

Meanwhile, Experian sells something called VantageScore, and sings about its PLUS Score it sells through A senator doesn't seem to think that's funny. Neither does the FTC, who even produced viral video spoof spots:

Other sites may turn your head.
They say they're free. Don't be misled!

FTC video lyrics

1996 amendments to the law gave consumers the right to "all information" in their consumer files (whether consumers actually got it is another matter). Unfortunately, Congress included one passage about credit scores: "... except that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require a consumer reporting agency to disclose to a consumer any information concerning credit scores or any other risk scores or predictors relating to the consumer."

Months later— long before credit scores appeared on the public or media radar screens— comedy ensued. A Federal Reserve Bank vice president wrote, "Check out the web site for some interesting reading."

The first word in the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act is "Fair."

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Do employers use credit scores?

Don't believe it.

April, 1997: "Information on how to obtain one's credit score is suspiciously absent from your site. How do I get mine?"

"And we're not running a game show. I mean, we're evaluating risk. We're not trying to have people get--achieve the highest score."

"Fisher is a fan of going by the book and then beyond it."

"He beat the scoring proponents to the punch by scooping up the web address, from which he launches often strident, sometimes wacky, but usually well-documented attacks on the credit-scoring concept and the industries that support it."

Realty Consumers Empowered By Online "Peoples" Court - "His Web site helped him-- and millions of other consumers-- extend fair credit reporting rights to credit scoring information."

"Fisher operates the Web site, which skewers the secrecy of the credit bureaus and Fair, Isaac." - The Detroit News

" is an exceptionally-interesting site that offers news and information regarding credit scoring and-- really-- the entire credit process."

"'Garbage in, garbage out,' says Greg Fisher of Dayton, Ohio, who runs two Web sites on the subject, and"