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April 16, 2024 Clear | 45°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 56: Consumer reporting agency 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, photocopy or electronic copy, 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; and 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 not be smaller than 10 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 65, 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 2-year period preceding the request, and for any other purpose within the 6-month period preceding the request.

(b) In accordance with 15 U.S.C. section 1681c-1, every consumer reporting agency, upon contact by a consumer by phone, mail or electronic communication, 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 the consumer's 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 10 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 $8. 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 60 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, by mail or electronic communication through the credit reporting agency website, 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 more than 7 years old, and must remove bankruptcy information only if it is more than 10 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 30 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 inquiries relating to a credit transaction initiated in the 6 months preceding your request, or 2 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 by contacting the agency through electronic communication or 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 toll-free telephone, secure electronic means or mail consistent with 15 U.S.C. section 1681c-1 to a consumer reporting agency. 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 send confirmation of the security freeze consistent with 15 U.S.C. section 1681c-1.''.