Stephanie Ostrowski Oct. 29, 2012, 4:09pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Beginning Monday, for the first time at the federal level, the Customer Financial Protection Bureau now accepts consumer complaints about credit reporting.

There are many consumer reporting agencies in the United States, although the credit reporting market is dominated by only a few large businesses, according to CFPB director Richard Cordray. The three largest credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, sell comprehensive consumer reports to resellers that repackage information they buy from the large companies and specialty consumer reporting, such as payday loans or checking accounts.

When a consumer sees an error, before filing with the CFPB, they can first file a dispute and wait for a response from the consumer reporting agency. The CFPB will assist if the consumer is dissatisfied with the results or if the consumer reporting agency does not respond.

With this announcement, the CFPB will extend the kind of complaints they currently receive. They began taking credit card complaints on July 21, 2011, then expanded to mortgage, bank accounts, service and consumer loans and private student loan complaints.

Complaints are processed individually and sent to the company to respond. When a complaint is made with the CFPB, the consumer is given a tracking number to check the status from their website.

The expectation is for consumer reporting agencies to respond to the complaint within 15 days. Consumers always have the option to dispute.

In July, the CFPB began supervising large consumer reporting agencies that have more than $7 million in annual receipts. Also effective Sept. 30, 2012 the supervisory authority oversees an estimated 30 companies which is the equivalent to 94 percent of the market's annual receipts.

A free credit report is available to consumers every 12 months from the only authorized source that provides free disclosures from the three major national credit reporting companies,

When Cordray was the attorney general of Ohio, he sued three credit ratings agencies. It is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

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