General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 93 Regulation of Trade and Certain Enterprises - Section 56 Disclosures to consumer; written explanation; notice of rights; content of notice

Section 56. (a) Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request and proper identification of any consumer, clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:

(1) the nature, contents and substance of all information, except medical information, in its file on the consumer at the time of the request, and which is obtainable based upon the identifying information supplied by the consumer when making such request, and if such consumer has made a written request, deliver a written copy or photocopy of all such information except any code identifications which are used solely for purposes of transferring such information to and from consumer reporting agencies; provided, however, that the names of the users corresponding to the code identifications shall be disclosed to the consumer; provided, further, that the agency shall provide a clear, simple and plain meaning explanation of the information provided under this paragraph and such explanation shall be in a readable format and type, which shall in no case be smaller than ten point type;

(2) the sources of all credit information obtained through routine credit reporting or through any other credit reporting techniques in the file at the time of the request, except that the sources of information acquired solely for use in preparing an investigative consumer report and actually used for no other purpose need not be disclosed; provided, however, that in the event an action is brought pursuant to section sixty-five, such sources shall be available to the plaintiff under appropriate discovery procedures in the court in which the action is brought; and

(3) the recipients of any consumer report on the consumer which it has furnished for employment purposes within the two year period preceding the request, and for any other purpose within the six-month period preceding the request.

(b) Every consumer reporting agency, upon contact by a consumer by phone, mail, or in person regarding information which may be contained in the agency files regarding that consumer, shall with each written disclosure, or in response to a request by the consumer to be advised as to his rights, promptly advise the consumer of the consumer’s rights under this section. The written notice shall be in a clear and conspicuous format and be no smaller than ten point type. The notice shall inform the consumer of the consumer’s rights under this chapter, provided in a clear and conspicuous manner, in substantially the following manner:

“You have a right to obtain a copy of your credit file from a consumer credit reporting agency. You may be charged a reasonable fee not exceeding eight dollars. There is no fee, however, if you have been turned down for credit, employment, insurance, or rental dwelling because of information in your credit report within the preceding sixty days. The consumer credit reporting agency must provide someone to help you interpret the information in your credit file. Each calendar year you are entitled to receive, upon request, one free consumer credit report.

You have a right to dispute inaccurate information by contacting the consumer reporting agency directly, either in writing or by telephone. The consumer reporting agency shall provide, upon request and without unreasonable delay, a live representative of the consumer reporting agency to assist in dispute resolution whenever possible and practicable, or to the extent consistent with federal law. However, neither you nor any credit repair company or credit service organization has the right to have accurate, current, and verifiable information removed from your credit report. In most cases, under state and federal law, the consumer credit reporting agency must remove accurate, negative information from your report only if it is over seven years old, and must remove bankruptcy information only if it is over ten years old.

If you have notified a consumer credit reporting agency in writing that you dispute the accuracy of information in your file, the consumer credit reporting agency must then, within thirty business days, reinvestigate and modify or remove inaccurate information. The consumer credit reporting agency may not charge a fee for this service. Any pertinent information and copies of all documents you have concerning a dispute should be given to the consumer credit reporting agency.

If reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, you may send a statement to the consumer credit reporting agency to keep in your file, explaining why you think the record is inaccurate. The consumer credit reporting agency must include your statement about the disputed information in a report it issues about you.

You have a right to receive a record of all inquires relating to a credit transaction initiated in the six months preceding your request, or two years in the case of a credit report used for employment purposes. This record shall include the recipients of any consumer credit report.

You have the right to opt out of any prescreening lists compiled by or with the assistance of a consumer credit reporting agency by calling the agency’s toll-free telephone number or contacting the agency in writing. You may be entitled to collect compensation, in certain circumstances, if you are damaged by a person’s negligent or intentional failure to comply with the credit reporting act.

You have a right to request a “security freeze” on your consumer report. The security freeze will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing any information in your consumer report without your express authorization. A security freeze shall be requested by sending a request either by certified mail, overnight mail or regular stamped mail to a consumer reporting agency, or as authorized by regulation. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans or services from being approved in your name without your consent. You should be aware that using a security freeze may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding new loans, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, internet credit card transactions, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

When you place a security freeze on your consumer report, within 5 business days of receiving your request for a security freeze, the consumer reporting agency shall provide you with a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your consumer report or to authorize the release of your consumer report to a specific party or for a specified period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization, you must contact the consumer reporting agency and provide the following:-

(1) the personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency;

(2) proper identification to verify your identity; and

(3) the third party or parties who are to receive the consumer report or the specified period of time for which the report shall be available to authorized users of the consumer report.

A consumer reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift a freeze on a consumer report shall comply with the request not later than 3 business days after receiving the request.

A security freeze shall not apply to a person or entity, or to its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity, with which you have an existing account, that requests information relative to your consumer report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account, if you have previously given consent to the use of your consumer report. “Reviewing the account” includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015