Credit Reports Changed Two Years Ago – Do You Know How?

Jul 17, 2019
All credit reports provided by the three credit bureaus underwent dramatic change two years ago (July 1, 2017).  I first wrote about this in May 2017, Big Changes Coming to Credit Reports, and also in June 2017, Act Before Eviction Judgments Disappear From Credit Reports. This occurred due to a lawsuit settlement that the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) agreed to accept. The enduring impact of this settlement is that public records reported by the three credit bureaus have been drastically diminished and altered.  Civil judgments and tax liens no longer appear on any credit report.  The only public records that still appear on credit reports are bankruptcies.  Based upon research, most people are still unaware of how the efficacy of credit reports has been significantly reduced  ̶  even though it has been more than two years since this vital public record information has been removed from credit reports. Fortunately, depending upon your industry, there are alternative solutions.  It was only the three credit bureaus that were impacted by the lawsuit settlement mentioned above.  Consumer reporting agencies, such as Reliable Background Screening, are not aff…

Background Check Reports are Not Interchangeable

Jun 19, 2019
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal law that regulates consumer reports, i.e., background check reports.  The FCRA has another purpose – the consumer lending protection law – but this article focuses on its regulations and their impact on background screening reports. The FCRA requires that consumer reports be obtained with proper consumer consent and for a permissible business purpose.  Permissible business purposes include the following (and many more): Employee Screening Volunteer Screening Resident/Tenant Screening Franchisee Screening Membership Screening Board of Directors Screening Client Screening Employee screening is the most regulated by the FCRA, and requires different consumer disclosures and authorization forms, as well as different service agreements to establish the employee screening account with the background screening company.  If your company or organization has a different type of background screening account, e.g., tenant screening or franchisee screening, it cannot use tenant screening or franchisee screening disclosures and products for employee screening purposes, or any other type of background screening purpose. When establi…

Equifax Revolutionizes What is a Soft Pull Credit Report

May 19, 2019
In an interesting move that leads the credit bureau industry, Equifax has made "soft pull" credit reports available for tenant screening purposes.  Of the three main credit bureaus, Equifax is the only credit bureau that provides the option of a soft pull tenant screening inquiry to the end-user, i.e., to the landlord, apartment or property management company. Unlike the other two credit bureaus, that only make available soft pull tenant screening inquiries directly to the consumer, Equifax provides the option to background screening companies who re-sell their credit report, to make soft pull tenant inquiries available to the end-user (landlord, apartment, etc.).   As an end-user (landlord), it is best to control the input, rather than allow the applicant to potentially compromise the results, by misspelling their name, date of birth or social security number.  However, Equifax does require that the background screening company obtain a new Equifax Subscriber Member Number, otherwise their tenant screening inquiries will continue to be hard pull inquiries. The difference between a soft pull and a hard pull credit inquiry is that soft pull inquiries have no impact upon a consumer…

DOL Seeks Comments on Joint Employer Proposed Regulation

Apr 15, 2019
The Department of Labor (DOL), in its first meaningful revision since 1958 to its joint employer regulation, announced a proposed rule to change how joint employer status is determined going forward.  This is of particular importance to the franchise industry, where franchisors strive to not be considered a joint employer. The DOL proposal has a four-factor test that evaluates whether a potential joint employer exerts control to: Hire or fire the employee Supervise and control the employee's work schedules or conditions of employment Determine the employee's rate and method of payment, and Maintain the employee's employment records. Included in the DOL proposal are examples that further clarify joint employer status.  One example in particular depicts Franchisor A – a global hospitality brand with thousands of hotels under franchise agreements –  and Franchisee B who owns one of the hotels as a licensee of A's brand.  Even though Franchisor A provides Franchisee B with a sample employment application, sample employee handbook, and other forms for operating the franchise, because the licensing agreement states that Franchisee B is solely responsible for all day-to-day oper…