Statistics suggest that as many as 1 in 5 people have errors on their credit reports. It is better to be protective to protect yourself against errors. The great news is this is a relatively simple process.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) says that each of the three major nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — must provide you with a free copy of your credit report, once every 12 months. All you have to do is ask for it. The FCRA is intended to promote the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The FCRA defines and controls your consumer rights as it relates to credit reporting issues.
A credit report likely includes information on where you live, how good (or bad) you are about paying your bills, how much debt you have, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Criminal history may also be included. Credit reporting companies provide the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
Errors in your credit report can cause significant damage to you, and depending on the circumstances you may the right to file a lawsuit and obtain money damages for FCRA violations if your credit report contains inaccurate information about you. The first step in evaluating your rights is to obtain a credit report.
Click in this link for brief video on how to obtain free credit reports.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form (LLLIIINNKKKK) and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
Your credit report has important information that affects whether you can get a loan, and if so, how much interest you should be assessed. You want a copy of your credit report to make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job. If you have a common name, it is foreseeable that someone with your same name has accounts appearing wrongfully on your credit report. Also, if your name contains a “Jr., Sr., or other suffix” there be errors on your credit report.
Obtaining your credit report helps you guard against identity theft. Identity thieves may use your information to open new accounts in your name. When they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Obtaining your credit report can help you immediately identify inaccurate information that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
A credit reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. There is no time limit on reporting information about crimi¬nal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance. Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, which¬ever is longer.
The FCRA specifies who can access your credit report. Creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use the information in your report to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, em¬ployment, or renting a home are among those that have a legal right to access your report.
Your employer can get a copy of your credit report only if you agree. A credit reporting company may not provide information about you to your employer, or to a prospective employer, without your written consent.
If you believe your employment, whether current or prospective, has been negatively impacted by your credit report, without notice to you, that is likely illegal.
Under the FCRA, both the credit report¬ing company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take full advantage of your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider.
Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. (This free report does not count as your annual free report.) If an item is changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The credit reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.
If there not been a proper reinvestigation performed, and if you indeed do not owe the debt as indicated, or if other information contained in your report is not corrected when it should be, you may have the ability to sue either the Credit Reporting Agency or the company furnishing the bad information to the Credit Reporting Agency. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for any actual causes by the erroneous reporting, as well as potentially punitive damages. Bnest of all, if you have an FCRA case we can likely prosecute such a case on your behalf at no out of pocket cost to you. This is because the FCRA requires that your attorney’s fees and costs be paid if you prove a violation has occurred.
If you think you rights have been violated call Elkin-Peck, PLLC today and speak with an attorney about your specific situation to see if your rights under the FCRA have been violated. 352-835-7977