WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a bulletin Thursday raising concerns that specialty consumer reporting agencies are not easily releasing free information to consumers.

The bulletin covers agencies, including credit reporting agencies, that report activity such as bounced checks, gambling debts, employment and medical bills. These agencies must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including giving consumers one free report annually.

But the CFPB said certain agencies are not providing the information to consumers in a "streamlined" way. The CFPB looked at phone listings and websites of the consumer reporting agencies and attempted to request reports. It found that some companies are not listing toll-free numbers or make it difficult for consumers to request reports. The CFPB said it is issuing warning letters to those agencies that may be violating the law.

"Today, the CFPB is reminding these companies that they must follow the law and provide consumers with easy access to their free annual report," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a press release. "If we have reason to believe that companies are not following the law, we will take action."

There are about 400 consumer reporting agencies nationwide including the three main agencies: Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC.

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