DMA Urges Renewal of Credit Act

Though the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not expire until January 2004, the Direct Marketing Association issued a briefing yesterday advising direct marketers to push Congress to extend the act.

The briefing, “Preserving Our Credit Economy: The Fair Credit Reporting Act Reauthorization — Why It Matters to All Direct Marketers,” said that if the preemptions expire in 2004, a potential patchwork of state and local regulations could wreak havoc for marketers and consumers.

Such regulations could limit consumers' ability to obtain credit and therefore limit their ability to make remote and retail purchases. Another concern, the DMA said, is that changes to the FCRA could mean 30,000+ jurisdictions nationwide dictating how credit data is handled.

“Every facet of the direct and interactive marketing industry will be harmed if the FCRA is not allowed to remain whole and universally applicable,” H. Robert Wientzen, president/CEO of the DMA, said in a statement. “Protection of our single, nationwide system of collection and dissemination of credit information is key to the way consumers and merchants do business with each other every day. Without it, what would we do, go back to getting letters of reference every time consumers move to a new town or state?”

The new chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Richard C. Shelby, R-AL, is expected to push for stronger consumer privacy protections. According to the Washington Post, Shelby was set to give a speech yesterday before the nonprofit group Consumer Federation of America in which he would mention the need to revisit the act's state preemption provision.

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