Fair Credit Reporting

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that consumers can use in order to ensure all data being reported on their credit reports is accurate. It can be broken down to one word. Accuracy. Anything being reported on your credit report needs to be accurate, it can be negative, but it has to be accurate. This includes balances or references to late payments or inclusion in bankruptcy – three of the most common violations.

The accuracy of information on your credit reports affects your credit score. Your credit score, in turn, affects many aspects of your life, including where you can work, where you can live, and what you can buy. Your credit score will also be used to determine whether anyone will lend you money or give you credit. Credit history has never been more important in the United States. Another benefit of monitoring your credit reports for accuracy is to fight off identity theft. Identity theft and data breaches are becoming more common each day, but with simple steps, we can obtain copies of our credit reports, review them for accuracies, dispute any errors, and put an end to any fraudulent activities.

Fair Credit Reporting (Your consumer rights regarding credit reporting)

What is the FCRA? FCRA governs the behavior of consumer reporting agencies (also called credit bureaus) and the businesses or individuals that report information to the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). The CRAs compile this information into your credit report. The three largest and well known CRAs are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Your credit report serves an important purpose. It can determine whether you can obtain a mortgage, car loan, job, and even an apartment. The FCRA tells CRAs, creditors, and other authorized persons what they can and cannot do with your credit information. When the information in your credit report is incorrect you have the right to dispute it and get it corrected.

Credit Report Errors Can Cost You

  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Higher interest rates
  • Loss of promotion or a job
  • Denial of a Home Mortgage Loan
  • Denial of a Rental Application
  • Denial of Credit


  • Furnishing and Reporting Old Information
    • Failing to report that a debt was discharged in bankruptcy
    • Reporting an account as active when it was voluntarily closed by a consumer
    • Reporting information that is more than seven years old (bankruptcy) or ten years old (civil judgements).
    When you have had credit issues in the past and they have been resolved, they can only show on your credit report for up to 7 years. The only exception is bankruptcy and that can only show for 10 years.

Your creditor must not supply information to a CRA that it knows (or should know) is inaccurate. That includes:

• Reporting a debt as charged off when you settled it or paid it in full
• Misstating the balance due
• Reporting late payments when you paid timely
• Listing you as a debtor on an account when you were only the authorized user
• Supplying credit information on an account where identity theft was previously reported (or failing to maintain a reasonable procedure for you to report identity theft.)
• You have the right to sue for damages
The FCRA also gives consumers the right to sue credit reporting agencies for damages, that have violated the FCRA. In some cases you may also be able to sue the person/agency that used the incorrect credit report against you.

Your Rights Regarding Credit Repair

• No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allow you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Some people hire a company to investigate on their behalf, but anything a credit repair clinic can do legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):
You’re entitled to a free report if a company takes “adverse action” against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment.
You have to ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of action. The notice will give you the name, address and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a hob within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
• Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, if you ask for it. The three companies have a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address for consumers to order the free annual credit reports the government entitles them to. To order, click on annualcreditreports.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
• It doesn’t cost anything to dispute mistakes or outdated items on your credit report. Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting 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 advantage of all your rights under the FCRA, contact the consumer reporting company and the information provider.

How to dispute your credit

  • Credit Report Dispute Process- What happens next.
    Once the credit report agency receives your dispute, they forward the dispute form to the furnisher. They then perform their investigation and report back with the revised/corrected information. This process should be done within 30 days of the dispute.
  • “Anything a credit repair clinic can do legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost.”

What’s on my credit report?

The first step you can take in order to understand your financial situation is to obtain copies of your credit reports from the three main credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

You can obtain a free credit report from the Federal Trade Commission at www.annualcreditreport.com. Be sure to obtain copies of all three of your credit reports, as the tradelines report differently on each report, and having all three credit reports provides a complete picture of a particular account. Once you obtain copies, review them for accuracy.

The dispute process.

If there are inaccurate items being reported on your credit report, you have a right to dispute those errors and have them removed at no charge to you. You can find more information regarding how to dispute errors on your credit reports here on the Federal Trade Commission website.

If the errors are not removed from your credit reports after disputing, do not hesitate to contact us.

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