Fair Credit Reporting: Your Rights

If you’re like most people, you’ve heard of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA – and you may even know about some of the most common FCRA violations.

But what does this law protect, and how does it apply to you?

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that promotes the fairness and accuracy of information in consumer credit reporting agencies’ files, and it protects the privacy of that information.

What Rights Do You Have Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

Fair credit reporting means that people have several rights when it comes to their information and credit reporting agencies like Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Some of those rights include the right to information about adverse credit decisions, the right to know what information credit agencies provide about you, and the right to dispute inaccurate information in your credit report.

#1: The Right to Know About Adverse Decisions Based on Your Credit Report

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to information when you’re denied credit, denied employment, or denied insurance based on information contained in your credit report.

If a creditor, employer or insurer has made an adverse decision based on information in your credit report (like denying you credit, a job, or insurance), you have the right to know everything that played a role in that agency’s decision.

#2: The Right to Know What Information Credit Agencies Provide on You

Credit reporting agencies keep quite a bit of information on consumers in their files, and as a consumer, you have a right to know what that is when credit reporting agencies are giving that information to potential creditors, employers or insurers.

You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year, thanks to the Federal Trade Commission (you can request yours here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action). You’re also entitled to a free copy of your credit report if:

  • An agency has taken an adverse action or made an adverse decision based upon the information in your credit report
  • You have been the victim of identity theft and you’ve made the proper notifications
  • Your credit report is inaccurate due to fraud
  • You are on assistance
  • You are currently unemployed but you plan to apply for work within 60 days

#3: The Right to Dispute Inaccurate Information

Your credit score plays a big role in your life – creditors use it to see whether you qualify to borrow money, employers check it to see if you’re trustworthy (even the military evaluates service members’ credit reports to see whether he or she is eligible for a secret or top secret security clearance), and insurers use it to determine how risky you will be to insure.

If there’s inaccurate information on your credit report, you have every right to dispute it by notifying the agency reporting it. If you dispute the accuracy of something on your credit report, the credit reporting agency must tell you that your claim is “frivolous” (a waste of the agency’s time) or conduct a reasonable investigation into the matter. If the agency finds out that the information is inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable, it must correct or delete the information within 30 days.

It’s important that you know that in most (but not all) cases, credit reporting agencies are prohibited from reporting debts more than 7 years old and bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Fair Credit Reporting?

If you live in Glendale or LA and have had your rights violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we may be able to help you. Contact us today by calling 818-617-9713 or toll-free at 800-774-4163 for a free FCRA violation consultation.