Unfair Credit Report Actions
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs the collection, sharing and use of consumer information, including information regarding a person’s credit. It helps ensure the information is accurate and private. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies The Act’s primary protection requires that consumer reporting agencies follow “reasonable procedures” to protect the accuracy, confidentiality and relevance of credit information. To do so, the FCRA establishes protections in a number of areas including: data quality (right to access and correct), data security, use limitations, requirements for data destruction, notice, user participation (consent), and accountability.
Generally, the FCRA provides people the following rights:
You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. If the information was used to deny your application or another type of adverse action against you, you must also be provided the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.You can find out what is in your file. At any time, you may request and obtain your report from a consumer reporting agency.
You have a right to know your credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of a consumer’s creditworthiness based on information from consumer reports.
You can dispute inaccurate information with a consumer reporting agency. If you tell a consumer reporting agency that your file has inaccurate information, the agency must investigate your claim.
Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. A consumer reporting agency or furnisher must remove or correct information proven false or inaccurate, usually within thirty (30) days after you dispute it.
Outdated negative information may not be reported. In general, a consumer reporting agency may not provide negative information about you that is more than seven (7) years old, or bankruptcies that are more than ten (10) years old.
Access to your file is limited. A consumer reporting agency may provide information about you only to people with a valid need as determined by the FCRA.
Your consent is required for reports that are provided to employers. A consumer reporting agency may not give out information about you to your employer, or potential employer, without your written consent.
You may choose to remove your name from consumer reporting agency lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. These offers must include a toll-free phone number you can call if you choose to take your name and address off lists in the future.
The FCRA regulates the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. In addition, it also governs the activities of “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies”, which is defined as agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis relating to any of the following: medical records or payments; residential or tenant history; check writing history; employment history; or insurance claims.
An amendment to the FCRA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), entitles people to receive one free credit report a year. This free report can be requested by telephone, mail, or through the government-authorized website, annualcreditreport.com.
You may seek damages from violators. If a consumer reporting agency, a user of consumer reports, or, in some cases, a furnisher of information to a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you may sue them in state or federal court. You are entitled to money damages for violations of the FCRA. The amount depends on whether the violation is willful or negligent. If willful, you may recover either your actual damages or statutory damages of $100.00 to -$1,000.00 per violation. If the violation was due to negligence, you are only entitled to your actual damages. In addition, regardless of whether the violation was willful or negligent, your attorney fees and legal costs can be paid.
If you have believe or know your rights under the FCRA have been violated, contact Lapin Law Offices for a free consultation.