General Info
Iowa Judicial Branch Orders PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Iowa Judical Branch   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 09:02

This section of the site contains orders of statewide interest recently issued by the Iowa Supreme Court. Orders will be posted in this section for one year from the date they are first posted.

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In the Matter of Amendments to Iowa Court Rules Regulating the Practice of Law (December 10, 2012)

The Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice has signed an order amending various rules of Division III (Professional Regulation) of the Iowa Court Rules. With two exceptions noted in the order, these amendments are effective immediately. Also accompanying the order is a summary of the amendments.

Order (27 kb)


Amendments to Iowa Court Rules Regulating the Practice of Law (254 kb)


Comments to Amendments to Iowa Court Rules Regulating the Practice of Law (177 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the Committee on Expanded Media Coverage (December 7, 2012)

Order (380 kb)



Corrected Expanded Media Coverage Committee Order

Nunc Pro Tunc (47 kb)



Request for Public Comment Regarding Proposed Emeritus Pro Bono Practice Rule (December 6, 2012).

Order (309 kb)



Request for Public Comment Regarding Proposed rules governing the filing of electronic documents in the Iowa Appellate Courts (December 6, 2012).

Order (546 kb)



Request for public comment regarding proposed collection activities (October 25, 2012)

Order (84 kb)


Proposed new Chapter 26 (288 kb)



In the Matter of the Electronic Document Management System and Standard eForms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions (October 25, 2012)

Supervisory Order (72 kb)


www.iowacourts.gov/Online_Court_Services/EDMS/

Small Claims eForms (591 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the Advisory Committee Concerning Certain Civil Justice Reform Task Force Recommendations (October 10, 2012)

Order (78 kb)



Request for public comment regarding a proposed new rule of juvenile procedure 8.36 (August 30, 2012)

Order (140 kb)


New Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.36 (228 kb)


Iowa Standards of Practice for Attorneys Representing Parents in Juvenile Court (1818 kb)


Public Comments on Proposed New Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.36 (Oct. 31, 2012) (29813 kb)


Additional comment (November 1, 2012) (792 kb)



Request for public comment regarding amendments to Professional Regulation of the Iowa Court Rules (August 27, 2012)

Order (420 kb)


Proposed amendments to Professional Regulation (142 kb)



Request for public comment regarding amendments to Chapters 6 and 21 of the Iowa Court Rules (August 27, 2012)

Order (496 kb)


Proposed amendments to Chapters 6 and 21 (107 kb)



Request for Comments to Proposed New Rule of Civil Procedure 1.1702 (August 3, 2012)

Order (407 kb)


Proposed New Rule (88 kb)



In the Matter of Rules for Involuntary Commitments or Treatment of Persons with Substance-Related Disorders (July 5, 2012)

Supervisory Order and Chapter 13 (516 kb)



In the Matter of Mileage Reimbursement (June 29, 2012)

Supervisory Order (32 kb)



In the Matter of EDMS and Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims (June 29, 2012)

Supervisory Order (991 kb)



In the Matter of Forms for Court Orders Issued in Small Claims Court (June 28, 2012)

Supervisory Order and Forms for Court Orders (3515 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the 2012 Iowa Child Support Guidelines Review Committee (June 11, 2012)

Nunc Pro Tunc (103 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the 2012 Iowa Child Support Guidelines Review Committee (June 11, 2012)

Order (533 kb)



In the Matter of the Notice on Court-Generated Documents in Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (May 1, 2012)

Supervisory Order (56 kb)



In the Matter of Revision of Interim Rules 16.306(5) and (6) Relating to Signatures in the Electronic Document Management System (April 24, 2012)

Supervisory Order (82 kb)


Revised 16.306(5) and (6) (36 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to lawyer advertising rules (April 20, 2012)

Order (386 kb)


Proposed amendments (12844 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to Rule 31.16 Registration of House Counsel (March 21, 2012)

Order (77 kb)


Proposed New Rule (304 kb)



In the Matter of Interim Rules to Govern the use of the Electronic Document Management System (March 1, 2012)

The Iowa Supreme Court amends the interim rules of Chapter 16 of the Iowa Court Rules governing EDMS

Order (77 kb)


Chapter 16 interim rules (349 kb)


Summary (43 kb)


General Commentary (114 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to Rule of Appellate Procedure (February 10, 2012)

Order (244 kb)


Proposed New Rule (186 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure (December 2, 2011)

Order (575 kb)


Proposed New Rule (479 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to Rules of Juvenile Procedures (November 23, 2011)

Order (103 kb)


Juvenile amendments (11 kb)



Request for comments to proposed amendments to rules regulating the practice of law (November 17, 2011)

Order (429 kb)


Summary (96 kb)


Proposed amendments (200 kb)



In the Matter of Request for Public Comment Regarding Proposed Small Claims Pleadings Forms (October 7, 2011)

Order (550 kb)


Small Claims Forms (944 kb)



In the Matter of Formation of the Small Claims Forms Advisory Committee (May 18, 2011)

Order (619 kb)



In the Matter of the Supreme Court Committee to Study Lawyer Advertising Rules (April 15, 2011)

Order (466 kb)



In the Matter of Rescission of Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions (April 6, 2011)

Supervisory Order (206 kb)



In the Matter of Temporary Rules Governing the Electronic Document Management System and Use of Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions (April 4, 2011)

Temporary rules governing EDMS to exempt electronic filers in Small Claims actions until further notice of this court

Supervisory Order (364 kb)



In the Matter of Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions (April 1, 2011)

The March 28, 2011, order contained typographical errors in the numbering sequence of the new and amended Small Claims forms compared to the prior forms being replaced. The forms themselves were correctly numbered.

Amended Order (427 kb)



In the Matter of Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions (March 28, 2011)

The Court rescinds Chapter 3 of the Iowa Court Rules, Standard Forms of Pleadings for Small Claims Actions, in its entirety. The court approves and adopts the revised Chapter 3 of the Iowa Court Rules attached to this Order.
Effective April 4, 2011


Order (6666 kb)


Standard Forms (pdf) (774 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Jefferson and Louisa County Clerk of Court Offices (March 9, 2011)

Effective immediately

Nunc Pro Tunc (170 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Jefferson and Louisa County Clerk of Court Offices (March 9, 2011)

Effective immediately.

Supervisory Order (181 kb)



In the Matter of Amendments to Iowa Court Rules Chapter 4; Form 4.11 (February 2, 2011)

Effective immediately.

Order and Form 4.11 (895 kb)



In the Matter of Amendments to Iowa Court Rules Chapter 4: Forms 4.1, 4.2, 4.11, and 4.15 (December 27, 2010)

Effective immediately

Supervisory Order (3402 kb)



In the Matter of the Appointment of the EMC Media Coordinator for Region 3

Effective December 17, 2010.

Order (192 kb)



Proposed Adoption of 2005 Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (December 7, 2010)

Deadline for comments is March 7, 2011

Order (2271 kb)


Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (166 kb)


Chapter 11 Study Group (2195 kb)



In the Matter of the Retention of a Private Court Reporter in a Civil Case: Amendment to January 6, 2010 Order (November 24, 2010)

Effective immediately

Supervisory Order (835 kb)



In the Matter of Temporary Rules to Govern the Use of the Electronic Document Management System Plymouth County and Story County (November 4, 2010)

Supervisory Order (538 kb)


Chapter 16 - Rules Pertaining to the Use of the Electronic Document Management System (12070 kb)


Protected Information Disclosure (424 kb)


Small Claims Original Notice and Petition (3124 kb)


Notice of Transcript Redaction (445 kb)


General Commentary on Electronic Filing Rules (118 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Chickasaw and Howard County Clerk of Court Offices (October 19, 2010)

Effective October 25, 2010

Supervisory Order (207 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Greene County Clerk of Court Office (September 29, 2010)

Effective October 12, 2010

Supervisory Order (185 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Boone County Clerk of Court Office (September 29, 2010)

Effective October 5, 2010

Supervisory Order (177 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Adams, Ringgold and Taylor County Clerk of Court offices (September 29, 2010)

Effective October 4, 2010

Supervisory Order (189 kb)



In the Matter of the Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Fine Collection Procedures, Practices and Rules (September 24, 2010)

Effective immediately

Order (928 kb)



In the Matter of the Public Hours of the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts (September 15, 2010)

Effective September 20, 2010

Supervisory Order (465 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Jones County Clerk of Court Office (August 18, 2010)

Effective August 30, 2010

Supervisory Order (167 kb)



In the Matter of the Appointment of Members to Serve on the Civil Justice Reform Task Force (August 6, 2010)

Supervisory Order (106 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Worth County Clerk of Court Office (August 4, 2010)

Effective September 10, 2010

Supervisory Order (181 kb)



In the Matter of Expanded Media Coverage of the Courts (July 21, 2010)

The supreme court has reorganized the jurisdiction of media coordinators for Jackson County.
Effective August 1, 2010

Order (171 kb)



In the Matter of Interim Procedures Governing the Collection of Court Fines and Fees (July 2, 2010)

Upon recommendation of the Judicial Council, the supreme court adopts interim provisions that will govern installment payment plans and other fine collection activities of the judicial branch until the adoption of permanent rules.
Effective July 12, 2010

Supervisory Order (1250 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Floyd County Clerk of Court Office (May 13, 2010)

Effective May 20, 2010

Supervisory Order (174 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Davis County Clerk of Court Office (May 4, 2010)

Effective May 10, 2010

Supervisory Order (176 kb)



In the Matter of Adoption of EDMS Rules for Pilot Project in Plymouth County (April 21, 2010)

Effective immediately

Supervisory Order (581 kb)


Chapter 16 - Rules Pertaining to the Use of the Electronic Document Management System (12017 kb)


Protected Information Disclosure (520 kb)


Small Claims Original Notice and Petition (2292 kb)


General Commentary on Electronic Filing Rules (2274 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of the Guthrie County Clerk of Court Office (April 13, 2010)

Effective immediately

Supervisory Order (173 kb)



In the Matter of the Business Hours of the Fremont County Clerk of Court Office (April 6, 2010)

Effective April 5, 2010

Supervisory Order (167 kb)



In the Matter of Appointment to the Task Force for Civil Justice Reform (March 23, 2010)

Effective immediately

Order (123 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (March 19, 2010)

Fremont county
Effective April 5, 2010

Supervisory Order (186 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (February 11, 2010)

Jefferson county
effective February 12, 2010

Supervisory Order (180 kb)



In the Matter of Prioritization of Cases and Duties (February 4, 2010)

Amendment to Order of December 1, 2009
Effective immediately

Supervisory Order (323 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (January 28, 2010)

Fifth District
effective February 1, 2010

Supervisory Order (252 kb)



In the Matter of Changes to the Business Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (January 26, 2010)

First, Second and Sixth districts
effective February 1, 2010

Supervisory Order (286 kb)



Proposed Revised Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct (January 19, 2010)

Chapter 51
Deadline for comments is March 19, 2010.

Order and Proposed Code (581 kb)



In the Matter of Private Retention of Court Reporters in Civil Cases (January 6, 2010)

Supervisory order (500 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the Task Force for Civil Justice Reform (December 18, 2009)

Order (655 kb)



In the Matter of Court Closure Days and Public Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (December 2, 2009)

Supervisory Order (63 kb)



In the Matter of Prioritization of Cases and Duties (December 1, 2009)

Supervisory Order (1318 kb)



In the Matter of the Public Hours of Clerk of Court Offices (November 17, 2009)

Supervisory Order (2646 kb)



In the Matter of Actions Taken to Reduce Judicial Branch Operating Expenses (November 12, 2009)

Supervisory Order (1443 kb)



In The Matter of Court Closure and Unpaid Leave Days (November 10, 2009)

Supervisory Order (497 kb)



In the Matter of Actions Taken to Reduce Judicial Branch Operating Expenses for Fiscal Year 2010 (June 25, 2009)

Supervisory Order (162 kb)



In the Matter of Court Closure Days and Reduced Public Hours (May 29, 2009)

Supervisory Order (288 kb)



In the Matter of Appointments to the Digital Audio Recording Technology Committee of the Judicial Council (May 7, 2009)

Order (380 kb)



In the Matter of Court Closure and Unpaid Leave Days: May 8 (May 5, 2009)

Supervisory Order (452 kb)



In the Matter of Mileage Reimbursement (March 31, 2009)

Supervisory Order (315 kb)



Actions Concerning Judicial Operations (March 13, 2009)

Supervisory Order (228 kb)



Action Taken to Reduce Operating Expenses (February 27, 2009)

Supervisory Order (186 kb)



Hearing on Proposed Rules (February 24, 2009)

A hearing is scheduled on Thursday, March 5, 2009, regarding minutes of evidence.

Order Setting Hearing Schedule (Feb. 24, 2009) (480 kb)


Order Setting Amended Hearing Schedule (March 2, 2009) (477 kb)


Order (Feb. 13, 2009) (749 kb)



Actions Taken to Reduce Judicial Branch Operating Expenses (February 2, 2009)

Supervisory Order (783 kb)



Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure (December 2, 2008)

Information about witnesses
Deadline for comments is January 2, 2009

Chapter 2, Rule 2.4 and 2.5 (589 kb)



Proposed Amendments to Iowa Court Rules (November 12, 2008)

Licensing and Practice of Foreign Legal Consultants
Deadline for comments is December 12, 2008

Chapter 31, Rule 31.14 and 31.18 (5008 kb)



In the Matter of Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.422 (September 23, 2008)

Rule 1.422

Supervisory Order (150 kb)



Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure (June 23, 2008)

Information about witnesses
Deadline for comments is July 23, 2008

Chapter 2, Rule 2.4 and 2.5 (96 kb)


Order (355 kb)



Final Report of the Child Support Guidelines Review Committee

Final Report of the Child Support Guidelines Review Committee (378 kb)


Proposed Amendments to Chapter 9 (348 kb)


Rule 9.27, Forms 1 and 2 (418 kb)



Revisions to Electronic Document Management System Proposed Rules (June 10, 2008)

Public Notice (47 kb)


General commentary (71 kb)


Chapter 16--Pertaining to the use of EDMS (258 kb)



Proposed Amendments to Rules of Appellate Procedure and Rules of Civil Procedure Concerning Certiorari (June 6, 2008)

Deadline for comments is August 6, 2008

Order (81 kb)


Proposed Amendments to Rules of Appellate Procedure (851 kb)


Summary of Key Changes (238 kb)


Proposed Amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure (113 kb)



Appointments to the Supreme Court Limited Jurisdiction Task Force (January 14, 2008)

Appointment Order (205 kb)


Resolution in Support of the Pew Commission (September 10, 2007) (86 kb)



Filing by facsimile transmission (August 6, 2007)

Order granting filing by facsimile transmission of certain documents in chapters 125 and 229 commitment proceedings
Effective immediately

Order (66 kb)



Uniform Bond Schedule (August 2, 2007)

Order amending uniform bond schedule

Order and bond schedule (97 kb)



Instructions to Compensation Commissioners from the Chief Justice (January 12, 2007)

Instructions (208 kb)

 
HUD REPORTS SLIGHT DECLINE IN NATION’S HOMELESSNESS IN 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Agatha Gutierrez   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:57

Local communities report homelessness declined in Iowa

WASHINGTON – On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before.  In releasing HUD’s latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan noted that even during a historic housing and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.

Meanwhile, local homeless housing and service providers in Iowa reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people decreased by 6.6 percent between 2011 and 2012.  Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s homeless population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).

 

Homelessness in Iowa

2012

2011

Total # of homeless persons

2928

3134

Chronically Homeless

270

315

Homeless Veterans

217

267

 

HUD’s annual ‘point-in-time’ estimate seeks to measure the scope of homelessness over the course of one night every January.  Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s estimate reveals a marginal decline in overall homelessness (-0.4%) along with a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.

Donovan said, “We continue to see a stable level of homelessness across our country at a time of great stress for those at risk of losing their housing.  We must redouble our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk.  As our nation’s economic recovery takes hold, we will make certain that our homeless veterans and those living on our streets find stable housing so they can get on their path to recovery.”

Theresa Porter, Deputy Regional Administrator for HUD’s Region VII, added, “Behind every number is a family or an individual living in our shelter system or even on our streets.  While HUD and our local partners are working to reduce and eliminate homelessness, there are too many people struggling to find an affordable home to call their own.”

During one night in late January of 2012, local planners or “Continuums of Care” across the nation conducted a one-night count of their sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts are then reported to HUD as part of state and local grant applications.  While the data reported to HUD does not directly determine the level of a community’s grant funding, these estimates, as well as full-year counts, are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it.

The Obama Administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors – a roadmap by 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The plan puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015; and to ending homelessness among children, family, and youth by 2020. The Plan presents strategies building upon the lesson that mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs must be fully engaged and coordinated to prevent and end homelessness.

The decline in veteran homelessness in particular is attributed to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on a joint program called HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH).   To date, this targeted rental assistance program provided more than 42,000 homeless veterans permanent supportive housing through rental vouchers provided by HUD along with supportive services and case management by VA. The national estimate announced today reveal a particularly large decrease in the number of homeless veterans – more than 7 percent.

The reductions reported today are attributed in part to the impact of HUD’s $1.5 billion Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), a program designed to assist individuals and families confronted by a sudden economic crisis.  Funded through the Recovery Act, HPRP spared more 1.3 million persons from homelessness by offering them short-term rent assistance, security and utility deposits, and moving expenses.

Read HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, including community-level data.

http://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewResource&ResourceID=4726

###

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and  http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.

 
Bettendorf Woman Sentenced to 4 Months’ Home Confinement for Extortion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
DAVENPORT, IA – On December 6, 2012, Theresa Kay Hunt, age 49, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to time served for attempted extortion, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner also sentenced Hunt to 1 year supervised release including four months’ home confinement.

Hunt contacted the Viewer Relations Department at Discovery Communications, Inc., and threatened to release damaging photos of a cast member of the show “19 Kids and Counting” if Discovery did not pay her $10,000. Hunt emailed pictures of the cast member to an undercover FBI agent and stated that she had more pictures buried in a box at her parent’s home.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

####

 
Bettendorf Woman Sentenced to 4 Months’ Home Confinement for Extortion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
DAVENPORT, IA – On December 6, 2012, Theresa Kay Hunt, age 49, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to time served for attempted extortion, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner also sentenced Hunt to 1 year supervised release including four months’ home confinement.

Hunt contacted the Viewer Relations Department at Discovery Communications, Inc., and threatened to release damaging photos of a cast member of the show “19 Kids and Counting” if Discovery did not pay her $10,000. Hunt emailed pictures of the cast member to an undercover FBI agent and stated that she had more pictures buried in a box at her parent’s home.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

####

 
Error on Your Credit Report? Here’s Help PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:33

By Jason Alderman

If you've ever tried to remove inaccurate of fraudulent information from your credit report and gotten the runaround, take heart: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now on the case.

In July 2012, the watchdog agency, formed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, gained authority to supervise all of the major consumer reporting agencies.

The CFPB now advocates for consumers who have complaints regarding interactions with credit bureaus and identity theft protection services. This adds to the agency's consumer grievance oversight which already included mortgages, bank accounts, consumer loans and private student loans.

"Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in announcing his agency's new responsibility. "They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs. Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged."

You can seek assistance from the CFPB if you have issues with:

  • Incorrect information on your credit report;
  • How a consumer reporting agency is handling its investigation of your complaint;
  • The improper use of a credit report;
  • Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
  • Problems with credit monitoring or identity-protection services.

Here's how the new system works:

If you believe your credit report contains incorrect or fraudulent information, you should first file a dispute with and get a response directly from that credit reporting company before contacting the CFPB. The same goes if you have an issue with how the company is handling its investigation of your grievance – for example, if they don't respond in writing within 30 days.

If, after filing your grievance, you are dissatisfied with the resolution, you may file a complaint with the CFPB using any of the following methods:

Once your complaint has been logged, you'll be given a tracking number to check its status. Each complaint will be processed individually and sent to the credit bureau in question for response. The CFPB expects companies to respond within 15 days with information about the steps they have taken or plan to take. You'll have the option to dispute the company's response to your complaint.

Credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer credit reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. Among other things, they track the number and types of credit accounts you use, how long they've been open and whether you've paid your bills on time.

"The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing," noted the CFPB's announcement.

You can order one free credit report per year from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. (Order through www.annualcreditreport.com; otherwise you'll pay a small fee.) Proactively ordering your reports on a regular basis can help identify bad credit behavior and spot fraudulent activity or errors before they can damage your credit.

To learn more about credit reports and scores, visit the CFPB's website, www.cfpb.gov. Another good resource is What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a financial literacy program run by Visa Inc.

 
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