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Knowing Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2013 | Consumer Protection

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, also referred to as the “FCRA”, is a Federal law enacted to protect consumers and their credit reports.  This law governs how your credit worthiness can be reported, dictates who can review your credit report and gives you the right to review and dispute information reported by creditors.

A question you may be asking yourself is who can view your credit report.  Your credit report may only be
viewed by a party with a “Permissible Purpose”.  Permissible purposes include employment opportunities, for credit applications, by court order or at your personal request.

As a consumer, you are entitled to view your credit report at any time and may actually request a free copy of your report once a year. You may also go to the three major credit bureaus’ websites and follow the
directions for your free yearly report.  The websites for the three bureaus are:  Trans Union; Experian; and Equifax.

Once you have reviewed your report, you may find mistakes reported that are detrimental to your credit standing.  In the event the credit agencies are reporting inaccurate information, under the FCRA you have
the right to dispute and request an investigation into the reporting.  This is best done by letter sent certified mail to the credit bureaus and if possible should include any documents that support your position.  Upon
receipt, the bureaus have 30 days to investigate your dispute and get back to you with the results.  The credit reporting agencies also have an automated dispute option, either on line or by phone, but a thorough dispute in writing is the strongest option and will best protect you in the event you need to file

If you find accurate negative information on your report, you should review the dates of reporting to make sure no account or trade line is reported for longer than the legally allotted amount of time.  Collection accounts, charged off accounts or other adverse account information may not be reported for longer than
seven years from the date of last activity.  Public records such as judgments or bankruptcy, and tax liens; criminal history, such as an arrest record; and student loans may only be reported for ten years.

In the event disputed inaccurate information remains on your report, you have the right to file suit against both the credit bureau(s) and the furnisher of the information.  Under the FCRA, you are entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 or actual damages that you can show you suffered as a result of the inaccurate reporting.  Furthermore, the FCRA requires the Defendant(s) pay(s) for your attorneys’ fees.  In conclusion, the FCRA is a law enacted to protect you, the consumer.  It is important to know your rights so that you are in a position to protect your credit standing.

When you have problems with your credit report, you have rights,  and we’re here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel that you’re rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.