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CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY WILL PAY $300,000 TO SETTLE COMPLAINTS

 CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY WILL PAY $300,000 TO SETTLE COMPLAINTS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- TRW Inc., one of the nation's largest credit reporting agencies, will take steps to eliminate errors from its files under terms of a court settlement with Pennsylvania and 18 other states, Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. announced.
 A consent order filed today in federal district court in Dallas, also requires TRW to pay the states a total of $300,000 in costs.
 "Accurate credit reports are essential in today's tough economic times," Preate said. "Families that rely on their good credit to get by can be hurt by erroneous information in their credit reports."
 The attorney general said TRW is one of three major U.S. credit reporting agencies and keeps credit histories on an estimated 170 million Americans.
 The states charged in a suit filed in July that TRW didn't maintain reasonable procedures to assure accuracy in the credit reports it sells to retailers, credit card issuers, financial institutions, employers, insurance companies and landlords.
 The suit also charged that TRW failed to properly investigate disputed items in the credit reports.
 TRW doesn't admit wrongdoing, but it agrees to:
 -- Improve its procedures to improve accuracy and prevent deleted information from reappearing on a consumer's credit report.
 -- Change the credit reports to make them easier to understand.
 -- Implement a toll-free telephone number for consumers with questions about their credit reports.
 -- Furnish a consumer with his or her credit report within four days of receiving a request.
 -- Notify consumers of their right to dispute information in their credit reports and have the information changed or deleted if it can't be verified.
 -- Disclose to consumers any credit risk score provided to specified recipients of the consumer's credit report, along with an explanation of the risk score.
 In cases where TRW subscribers resell reports to employers, TRW contracts will require the subscriber, upon request, to provide the affected consumer with the name and address of the person to whom the report was resold, according to the agreement.
 Other states joining the agreement were Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.
 "Credit reports are a fact of life in today's society," Preate said. "These agreements go a long way toward ensuring that TRW's reports are reasonably accurate.
 "But I want to emphasize that this agreement doesn't mean we're finished with TRW. We will continue to monitor TRW's handling of its records, and we will continue to investigate every consumer complaint we receive.
 "I've put TRW on notice that if this agreement doesn't solve the problem, we will not hesitate to go back to court. Sloppy record keeping by a credit agency can ruin a family's credit, their reputation and their ability to make ends meet -- and that's intolerable."
 The attorney general said his office is working with state Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf to develop a state Fair Credit Reporting Act. The legislation would be designed to address abuses in the credit-reporting industry and provide additional safeguards for consumers, Preate said.
 -0- 12/10/91 R
 /CONTACT: Jack L. Lewis of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Office of Attorney General; TRW Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KK -- PH019 -- 1142 12/10/91 15:28 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 10, 1991
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