The Law is On Your Side

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records). Here is a summary of your major rights under the FCRA.

You must be notified if any information in your file is used against you.

If a credit report or other consumer report is used to deny your application for insurance, credit, or employment, or any other adverse action, you must be told. Anyone who uses a credit report in this way must also provide you with the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency which provided the negative information.

As the consumer, you have a right to know what information is included in your credit file.

Upon request, you can receive any information from your files of a reporting agency (“file disclosure”). You must provide proper identification, including your Social Security number.

The file disclosure will be free in many cases. You have the right to obtain to a free disclosure if:

Adverse action is taken against you because of information from your credit report
You have been the victim of identify theft and have placed a fraud alert in your file
Your file contains incorrect information due to fraud
you receive public assistance
You are unemployed and expecting to apply for employment in the next 60 days
Also, all consumers are entitled to one free file disclosure every 12 months from each national credit bureau and from nation-wide consumer reporting agencies

You have a right to obtain your credit score.

Your credit score is a numerical summary identifying your credit-worthiness, and it’s based on credit bureau information. You can obtain a credit score from reporting agencies which either create or distribute scores that are used in residential real property loans, but these will not be free. In some mortgages, you can receive your credit score for free from the lender.

You have a right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete credit information.

If you report inaccurate or incomplete information to the reporting agency, it must investigate the claim unless your dispute is frivolous.

Reporting agencies must either correct or remove incomplete, inaccurate, or unverifiable information.

Usually within 30 days. However, the consumer reporting agency may continue to report any credit information that it has verified as being accurate.

Reporting agencies cannot report negative information that is outdated.

Typically, the consumer reporting agency cannot report any negative credit information which is greater than seven years old, or bankruptcies which are greater than 10 years old.

Access to your credit file is limited to those with a valid need.

The reporting agency can only provide information to people with a valid need. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) defines those businesses and individuals who have a valid need for access, such as applications submitted to a creditor, insurer, landlord, employer, or other legitimate business needs. For employers to obtain access to your credit file, you must first give consent. Without your written consent to the employer, the consumer reporting agency cannot provide credit information about you to an employer or a potential employer. However, this written consent is not generally required for the trucking industry.

You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.

A consumer reporting agency may not give out information about you to your employer, or a potential employer, without your written consent given to the employer. Written consent generally is not required in the trucking industry.

You may restrict the “pre-screened” credit and insurance offers you receive which are based on information in your credit report.

All unsolicited “pre-screened” offers have to include a toll-free phone number that you can use to remove your name and address from the solicitation lists. If a company violates this request, you may seek damages.

If a reporting agency, consumer reports user, or person who furnishes information violates the FCRA, you may have the right to sue for damages in state or federal court.

Knowledge is Power

To help you learn more about credit laws and how they impact you, we offer additional information on our web site. You can learn more about the FRCA, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Truth in Lending Act, and the Fair Credit Billing Act.

We believe that accurate information and knowledge will help you succeed and also increase your client satisfaction. If you have any additional questions about professional credit restoration and the services we offer, including if it is the right option for you, contact us.


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