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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

15 U.S.C. 1681a

The first "lettered" section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is 15 U.S.C. 1681a. This is the "definition" section of the FCRA. This section of the FCRA is quite lengthy, so I am going to split up the explanation of 1681a into several posts.

15 U.S.C. 1681a is entitled "Definitions; rules of construction" and begins:

"(a) Definitions and rules of construction set forth in this section are applicable for the purposes of this title."

This means the definitions and rules of construction in the rest of the 1681a apply to the entire FCRA.

The first actual definition is found in subsection (b).

"(b) The term 'person' means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or other entity."

Bet you didn't know that the word "person" had to be defined. The reason behind the definition of person is to differentiate it from "consumer". The word "person" is broader than "consumer".

"(c) The term 'consumer' means an individual."

Told you "consumer" was less broad than "person". This means that a "consumer report" is only about an actual living individual, not a corporation, assoication, trust, estate, etc. Thus, a credit report about something other than a consumer is not a "consumer report" and is therefore not subject to the FCRA.

Speaking of consumer reports ... we'll discuss their definition in the next post.

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