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The Truth About your Credit Report

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2015 | Consumer Protection

When it comes to the subject of your credit report, there is a great amount of controversy making it difficult for consumers to decide who and what to believe.  While  almost everyone has their own opinion on how to interpret a credit report, below is a list of truths that will help improve your report and can even raise your score.

Number 1:  Accurate derogatory information does not need to remain on your credit report indefinitely.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), the federal law that governs how the credit reporting agencies manage your credit information, the statute requires the agencies to report accurate information. The FCRA protects your right to correct any inaccurate information on your credit report and provides you with the right to file a law suit if the agency or furnisher of information continues to publish inaccurate information that causes you any loss.   Under the law, accurate derogatory or negative information can only remain on your credit file for 7 to 10 years from the date of delinquency depending on the type of account.  After the time period has passed, the account must be deleted from your report.

Number 2:  You can dispute inaccurate information on your credit report.

Under the FCRA, you have the right to dispute inaccurate information with the credit reporting agencies. The statute allows consumers to write a letter putting the credit reporting agency(ies) on notice of the inaccuracy and requires the agency to investigate the dispute and respond to the consumer within 30 days.  The credit reporting agencies all have on-line dispute systems.  However, we recommend writing a letter, as the on-line systems seem limited in the amount of important information you can provide them to help investigate your dispute.

Number 3:  Not all 3 of the credit reporting agencies will report the same information.

There are 3 major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union and each of these agencies gathers and stores its own information on consumers.  It would only be expected that they each report slightly different information and use different credit scoring models.  It is best to review all three reports to see how each is reporting your information.

Number 4:  Employers, Lenders and Existing Account Holders can review your report.

Applying for credit is not the only reason a company can review your credit report.  Employers, existing or potential, can perform an employment background check and review your report as part of the employment process.  The FCRA has guidelines in place to protect your rights during this process, but it is important to remember that more than just a lender can take a look.

Number 5:  If you are unsuccessful at having inaccurate information removed from your report, you can hire an attorney to assist you

While disputing inaccurate information on your credit report is as simple as drafting a letter, consumers can often times be unsuccessful in their effort.  If you have tried without success on more than one occasion to dispute inaccurate information, contacting an attorney to file suit under the FCRA is a reasonable next step.  Under the FCRA, a successful consumer is entitled to recover damages, actual or statutory, and reasonable attorney fees.

If you believe your rights have been violated under the FCRA, and you would like the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.