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International Virtual Inspections for Consumer Reporting: What They Are, Who Needs Them, And How TrendSource Can Help

We talk a lot about our extensive network of Inspectors across the United States, Canada, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. This network allows us to dispatch Inspectors to locations far and wide, but oftentimes our Inspectors conduct the Inspections from the comfort of their own home.  


These are Virtual Inspections, which take place over an app like Zoom or WhatsApp, and include all of the required photos. 


Until now, these Virtual Inspections were only accepted provisionally, and while this is still the case, there is every reason to believe that Virtual Inspections will soon count as the final OnSite Inspection required by credit bureaus to document compliance with federal regulations. 


This is good news for a lot of businesses who turned to Virtual Inspections during the pandemic and its lockdown. 


But it’s also great news for US businesses operating in foreign countries.  


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Why International Inspections for Consumer Reporting are Necessary 


Fun Fact: The federal rules regulating access to consumer reporting data do not stop at our national borders, they extend around the world.  


This means that even in foreign countries, US businesses seeking background checks on US citizens must comply with these regulations. Particularly for US-based companies with foreign branches running background checks on potential new hires, compliance is paramount. 


It is just as crucial for US-based companies with foreign branches to ensure compliance with these rules as it is for companies operating entirely in the United States. As US-based businesses pulling US consumer reports on US citizens, these companies are subject to the same authority, rules, and punishments. 


There are some exceptions to this rule of course. For example, publicly traded US companies are exempt from these regulations no matter where they operate. This is because public companies already face intense scrutiny; further regulation is considered redundant.  


But any privately held US company wishing to perform background checks on potential hires by accessing consumer reporting data from one of the three major credit bureaus must comply with these regulations. Even non-profits.  


For these US companies operating abroad, it has proven difficult historically to find a compliance management firm willing and able to perform Onsite Inspections for Consumer Reporting outside US borders. In larger, more international cities it may prove easier, but by and large sourcing in-person compliance management solutions has been challenging. 


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Virtual International Inspections are a More Convenient Way to Document Compliance 


Recently, credit bureaus began accepting Virtual Inspections as a temporary fix, particularly during the pandemic when in-person compliance inspections were halted both in the United States and abroad. This meant that companies who were required by Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax to perform compliance management Inspections could provisionally submit Virtual Inspections; eventually, people believed at the time, an in-person follow-up Inspection would be required. 


Now, however, industry insiders are increasingly certain that at least one of the major credit bureaus will accept Virtual Inspections without condition. This could mean that soon, all Virtual Inspections will qualify as the only Inspection needed - no in-person follow up required.  


This forthcoming change has implications across the compliance management industry, and we will be outlining these in the weeks to come. But for the purposes of this blog, it is important to note that these soon-to-come changes will have a big impact on US businesses operating abroad.  


Now, with Virtual Inspections, these businesses can quickly and efficiently order Virtual OnSite Inspections for Consumer Reporting from companies like TrendSource. 

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How TrendSource Does Virtual Inspections for International Businesses 


TrendSource was one of the first compliance management firms to develop Virtual Inspections, and continues to pioneer the product.   


Currently, TrendSource can provide Virtual OnSite Inspections for locations anywhere in the world with only two potentially limiting factors: 


  1. The contact must be English proficient or provide an English-language translator.
  2. The Inspection must take place over an internet-based chat application such as WhatsApp or Zoom. Inspectors cannot make International Calls at any point during the Inspection process.


Beyond these two limitations, TrendSource can execute Virtual Inspections anywhere there is internet. 


International businesses should capitalize on this opportunity to efficiently document their compliance with the stringent federal regulations governing access to consumer data. 


Again, it is important to remember that all of this has yet to play out entirely, and while we believe it is highly likely that Virtual Inspections will be accepted in the near future without follow-up, nothing is certain.


If you have any questions about the validity of particular inspection types, you should of course reach out to your credit bureau reps directly.


But if you’re ready to schedule a Virtual Inspection, click here to learn more.

Learn More About OnSite Inspections

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