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It’s That Time of Year: The BCFP’s Annual Adjustment to the Maximum Allowable Charge for Consumer Disclosures

By Shane Micheil

Effective January 1, 2019, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection raised the maximum amount a Consumer Reporting Agency is allowed to charge a consumer for a copy of their consumer file disclosure under the FCRA to $12.50 a pop.  You can see the final rule from the BCFP here.  Of course, this increased cost per disclosure applies only to copies outside of the one free disclosure per year provided under § 1681j(a), or the other exceptions listed under §§ 1681j(b)-(d).

This is nothing new, really.  Prior to 2011, the FTC set the maximum allowable charge under § 1681j(f) of the FCRA.  Since 2011, the BCFP has published these FCRA annual adjustments as a notice.  The notable difference this year is that the BCFP is codifying its prior notices and is also adding a provision to Regulation V, which implements the FCRA, to track the FCRA’s provisions concerning the annual maximum allowable charge, including a list of historical maximum allowable charges.

Finally, for those of you FCRAland readers who are curious as to how this maximum allowable charge figure is obtained, rest assured that the process is not arbitrary!  The BCFP calculates the annual adjustment by finding the product of the $8 maximum listed in § 1681j(f)(1)(A)(i) and the percentage increase in the CPI-U (the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers) between September 1997 (the effective date of § 1681j(a)) and September 2018.  In that span of time, the CPI-U increased by 56.59%.

$8.00 x 56.59% = $4.53.

$8.00 + $4.53 = $12.53.

However, since the statute requires the resulting figure to be rounded to the nearest $0.50, the resulting amount is $12.50.  There you have it!

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