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What Damages Can Be Recovered Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs credit reporting agencies (CRAs), like Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, with respect to their usage of consumer credit information. One of the most significant parts of the FCRA discusses the rights and damages that a consumer can recover if a CRA or another person improperly uses a consumer’s credit information.

How Can A Consumer Take Legal Action For FCRA Violations?

The FCRA specifies that a consumer can bring their claims for FCRA violations in the United States district court or state court. The jurisdiction or location where the consumer may file their case is usually where the CRA is headquartered or where the consumer in the case lives.

How Long After A Violation Takes Place Can A Consumer Take Legal Action?

A statute of limitations is the amount of time after a violation or some other action has been committed that a person is allowed to take legal action. If the consumer does not bring a claim within that amount of time, it is possible that they will not be permitted to litigate their claims. In the case of the FCRA, consumers are allotted a specific amount of time to bring claims for violations of the Act. According to the FCRA, consumers can bring claims two years after discovering the violation or 5 years after the date when the violation occurs, whichever of these circumstances is reached first. This means that the consumer can have up to five years to bring a claim for FCRA violations, or two years after discovering the violation, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What Can A Consumer Recover For FCRA Violations?

Damages refer to a sum of money granted by a court to a party for violations of a right or a breach of a duty imposed by law. The FCRA contains provisions that allow a consumer to receive damages if a CRA or other person violates those provisions or breaches a duty that is outlined in the law. In an FCRA case, a consumer might receive three distinct kinds of compensation: actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Actual Damages

Actual damages—also called compensatory damages—are amounts of money granted to the consumer to compensate for loss or injury resulting from a violation. Under the FCRA, a consumer can receive actual damages for violations of the FCRA if they were committed “willfully and knowingly” and if they happened because of negligence. Consumers can receive damages if there is a violation of the FCRA, whether the violation was intentional or not. The damages that a consumer may receive are not subject to any limit; however, damages are generally between $100 and $1,000 without any proof that the consumer suffered harm from the violation. If it is found that the consumer's credit report is obtained under false pretenses or knowingly without a valid purpose, the consumer will be entitled to the amount of actual damages suffered or $1,000, whichever of the two amounts would be greater.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are damages that are awarded in addition to actual damages as punishment where the court finds that the violator's actions are especially harmful. This kind of damages is not often granted by the court, but if the violator's actions are particularly harmful, it is possible that the court will award them in addition to actual damages. As the FCRA does not provide a specific amount that the court may grant, the court may impose punitive damages on a violator as they see fit to fairly compensate a consumer for the violator's harmful actions.

Attorney’s Fees

Attorney’s fees are compensation that an attorney receives from a client for work on their case. The law might include a provision that allows the prevailing party to recover legal fees from the losing party. Not only does the FCRA allow the prevailing party to receive attorney’s fees for prevailing in the case, but the court may also award attorney’s fees if any action taken by an opposing party in the case is in bad faith or to harass the other party.

Hiring An FCRA Attorney In New York

If you have been subjected to FCRA violations, it is important that you act quickly to fix those issues. If you believe that your FCRA rights have been violated, an experienced FCRA attorney may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. The FCRA is complicated, and a lawyer experienced in FCRA law will help achieve the best result for you. The consumer protection lawyers at Law Office of Simon Goldenberg are ready to help you with your claims. For a free case analysis, call (888) 301-0584 or contact us online.