Your ability to qualify for loans, credit cards, insurance coverage and eligibility to work can be seriously affected if your credit report contains errors or outdated information. Law requires individuals to keep track of their credit report and request that inaccurate information be removed. If necessary proof of inaccurate information is presented and creditors refuse to remove the error from your credit report, you may be able to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your losses.
Contact an experienced credit report dispute attorney at Cory Watson Attorneys today if you need assistance in disputing inaccurate or obsolete information in your credit report.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Credit Reporting Act promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Rights afforded to you under the FCRA include:
- Notification if information in your file has been used against you
- Access to information in your file
- Knowledge of your credit score
- The ability to dispute inaccurate information
- Having verified inaccurate information removed from your file within 30 days of the dispute
- Ensuring outdated negative information is not reported
- The ability to limit access to your credit report
- Mandatory consent for reports provided to employers
- Removal of your name from consumer reporting agency lists for unsolicited insurance and credit offers
- The ability to seek damages from violators
Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The three primary credit reporting agencies (CRA) responsible for keeping track of consumer credit ratings in the United States are: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Errors made by these three agencies can cause significant problems for consumers. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) offers consumers protection from credit reporting agencies, banks and lenders who report inaccurate credit information, fail to fix credit report credit errors, or use a credit report for impermissible purposes.
Examples of these CRA violations include:
- Failing to report a discharged debt in bankruptcy
- Reporting information older than 7 years
- Reporting old debts as new
- Reporting a debt which was settled
- Applying late fees to debts paid on time
- Supplying credit information despite reported identity theft
- Mixing credit information of multiple parties
- Failing to correct any inaccurate information from the debtor’s file
- Banks, credit card companies and other entities which report information to a CRA can violate the FCRA by
- Notifying all CRAs a debtor has disputed a debt
- Failing to conduct an investigation of the disputed debt within 30 days
- Failing to provide the debtor with necessary information to complete the dispute process
- Failing to report the results of the investigation to the debtor
- Submitting information to a CRA that is known to be incorrect
Regular review of your credit report is always a good idea in order to ensure your report is accurate.
Disputing Credit Errors
Under the FCRA, both CRAs and the entity reporting information to CRAs are required to correct inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. If you believe there are inaccuracies in your credit report, you may be able to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your losses.
Request a Copy of Your Credit Report:
Each year, you are able to receive one free copy of your credit report. You are also permitted to request an additional copy if a company has taken adverse action against you. You can order a report from all three companies if you choose. You may be asked for personal information including your name, date of birth and Social Security number, as well as information only you would know, such as a monthly payment for a utility.
You can order your report by:
- Completing the annual credit report form from annualcreditreport.com
- Calling 1-877-322-8228
- Visiting the FTC website.
Notify both the CRA, in writing, which information you believe is incorrect. Also, include a clear identification of each item disputed; why you are disputing the information; copies of documents supporting your dispute; and a request for the removal of the information. Mail the letter and supporting documentation by certified mail with “return receipt required” to document when your letter has been received.
CRAs must investigate disputes, unless considered frivolous, within 30 days of receipt. Information gathered must be forwarded to the reporting entity, which must then investigate, review, and report the results back the CRA. If the dispute is resolved in your favor, all of the three majors CRAs must be notified to update your report with the correct information. If the investigation does not resolve your dispute, you can ask for a statement of the dispute to be included in your file. Any disputed information cannot be put back in your file without verification of its accuracy from the information provider.
The CRA must notify you of the results of the report, and provide a copy of your credit report if changes were made. Upon your request, the CRA must send notification of any corrections to anyone who received a copy of your credit report in the six previous months. For employment purposes, you may have a corrected version of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years.
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