How long should it take before I get my free annual consumer credit report and where can I complain if I have difficulty getting what I requested?

The major consumer credit reporting agencies are required to set up a centralized source to receive and process consumer requests for free consumer credit reports to be available as a result of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act). The centralized source must mail your free consumer credit report to you within 15 days after it receives your request. The 15 days to send you your report won’t start until the request is accepted for processing.

Consumer credit reporting agencies must make plans and use procedures to anticipate and respond to the likely volume of consumer requests, but there are exceptions to the 15 day time period. To see Exceptions, click here.

How to complain:

If you have not received a response to your request for a free annual consumer credit report and there is no reason why (as outlined above) a response was not mailed to you within 15 days of submitting your request, you may file a secure online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at:
https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

You may contact the FTC by telephone at: 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357)

Or write to the FTC at:
Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580

Exceptions to the 15 day time period:

  • Your request is received by the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies during times of “high-request volume” when “volume exceeds 125% of the rolling daily average volume.” In this case, the agencies may put your request in a line and fulfill your request in the order received within a reasonable amount of time. How long it can take may depend upon the number of requests ahead of yours, as well as other factors.
  • Your request is received by the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies during times of “extraordinary request volume” which is when volume that exceeds 175% of the rolling daily average volume. In this case, the agencies may collect your consumer request information and delay accepting the request for processing until a “reasonable later time.” The agency must clearly and prominently inform you of when your request will be accepted for processing. The 15 days to send you your report won’t start until the request is accepted for processing.
  • You may have filed your request in the wrong place. If you filed your request with the consumer credit reporting agency and not with the centralized source, the consumer credit reporting agency is required either to honor your request, or to redirect you to the centralized source. Make sure you direct your request to the proper centralized source to avoid any delay.
  • The consumer credit reporting agency cannot properly identify you through the information you submitted with your request to the centralized source. In that case, the consumer credit reporting agency must tell you in easily understandable language that your identity cannot be verified and provide you with directions on how to complete the request, including what additional information is required and how to submit it. The centralized source and the consumer credit reporting agency may ask you for your social security number in order to verify your identity.