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Debt collectors will soon have less power over Florida consumers

On behalf of Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.

On Mar. 9, three major U.S. credit bureaus made an announcement about their future methods for responding to consumer complaints regarding errors and changes in the reporting of medical debt. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data shows that approximately 43 million American consumers have medical debt that is on their credit reports, and that around one-third of them have good credit aside from that debt. Equifax, Experian, and Transunion said that the proposed changes will gradually take effect over the next six months nationwide.

A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission shows that one out of every five consumers discovers one or more mistakes on their credit report with at least one credit bureau. The consumer must then file a dispute with the credit bureau for removal. In some cases, they could be removed but might still have an impact on consumers' credit reports.

According to one report, the credit bureaus have been under investigation since 2012 by the New York State Attorney General, and these changes are part of a settlement stemming from that investigation. As part of that agreement, employees will receive special training for the task of reviewing and investigating consumer complaints. In addition, there will be a 180-day waiting period prior to medical debt being added to a credit report, allowing consumers time to pay or have the debt removed if it is paid by their insurance carrier.

When individuals find themselves struggling with out-of-control unpaid debt, especially credit card debt, they could be affected by the recent developments that are forcing the credit bureaus to make changes in the way that they handle consumer debt and credit reporting. In many cases, a bankruptcy attorney could assist consumers in navigating the process of dealing with creditors or deciding if bankruptcy might be a good solution.

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