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When your credit report contains erroneous, incomplete, or outdated information, it can have a serious effect on your ability to qualify for work, loans, credit cards, and insurance. By law, you are entitled to keep track of your credit report, and request that any inaccurate information is removed. If creditors refuse to remove inaccurate information from your credit report when the necessary proof is provided, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for any resulting losses. Our credit report dispute attorneys have years of experience handling credit report disputes, clearing credit report errors, and successfully recovering compensation for our clients.
If you need assistance disputing inaccurate or obsolete information in your credit report, contact an attorney in our office by completing our free case review form today.
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 while 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- Ensuring outdated negative information is not reported;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; and
- The ability to seek damages from violators.
You may also be provided additional protection under state laws, so it’s important to contact an attorney if you suspect your rights have been violated.
Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
There are three primary credit reporting agencies (CRA) that are responsible for keeping track of consumer credit ratings in the United States: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. When these agencies make mistakes, it can cause serious 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.
Some 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; and
- 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; and
- Submitting information to a CRA that is known to be incorrect.
It is a good idea to regularly review your credit report to see if any inaccuracies or problems exist. If creditors refuse to remove inaccurate information from your credit report when the necessary evidence is provided, you should contact an attorney because you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
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 your credit report contains errors, you may dispute the incorrect information.
Request a copy of your credit report: Each year, you are eligible to receive one copy of your credit report at no cost to you. Additionally, you are permitted to request a copy if a company has taken adverse action against you. You can order a report from all three companies if you choose. You can order your report by completing the annual credit report form from annualcreditreport.com, calling 1-877-322-8228, or visiting the FTC website. 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.
Dispute Letter: 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.
Dispute Investigation: 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.
Post Investigation: 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.
If you suspect your creditor, credit bureau, or information provider has violated your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages. To learn more about your legal options, fill out our free case review form. A credit report dispute attorney will review your claim at no cost to you.