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Published: October 2017

Bill would damage credit scores of million of consumers

Consumer Action joined the National Consumer Law Center and other organizations in opposition to HR 435—legislation that would reduce consumers’ control over their own data by preempting state and federal privacy protections, damage the credit scores of millions of consumers with a disproportionate impact on African Americans, and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.

Following the Equifax breach that exposed personal information about millions of American consumers, Congressmembers began to devise legislation to protect consumers. Unfortunately some well-intentioned efforts would actually weaken consumer protections if passed. One such example is the Credit Access and Inclusion Act (HR 435), which would reduce consumers’ control over their own information by preempting state and federal privacy protections for utility customers and tenants by amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act to permit utilities and landlords to furnish payment information to a credit bureau or other consumer reporting agency “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The reference to “other provisions of law” include state laws that, as a safeguard, require consumer consent before a utility company can share information about that consumer's payment information to a credit bureau or other consumer reporting agency. The groups noted that HR 435 would preempt state privacy protections in California, New Jersey, Wisconsin and potentially other state laws and would override federal requirements that a subsidized housing provider obtain a consumer's consent before sharing rental payment information.

Lead Organization

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of it low-income clients)

Other Organizations

National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates Center for Digital Democracy | Center for Economic Justice | Consumer Action | The Greenlining Institute | U.S. PIRG | Housing and Economic Rights Advocates | TURN—The Utility Reform Network | Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. | Georgia Watch | Woodstock Institute | Citizens Action Coalition | Kentucky Equal Justice Center | Massachusetts Low Income Energy Affordability Network Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. | Community Service Society of New York | Empire Justice Center | Public Utility Law Project of New York | Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy | Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (on behalf of its low-income clients) Texas Legal Services Center | Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

Download PDF

Bill would damage credit scores of million of consumers   (letter-oppose-hr435-hfsc.pdf)


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