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Summary Of Consumer Rights Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The purpose of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is to protect consumers’ credit information. The FCRA regulates what information is collected, how that information is used, how the information is reported, and how violations of the rules are handled.

Know What Information Is In Your Credit Agency Files

Consumers may request and obtain credit file information from a consumer reporting agency. To obtain the information, the consumer will be required to provide identification, which may include a social security number. You may obtain a free credit report if:

  • You are a victim of identity theft
  • Inaccurate information in your file results from fraud
  • You receive public assistance
  • Adverse action has been taken against you because of information in your credit file
  • You are unemployed, expecting to apply for employment within 60 days of disclosure

All consumers are entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months from national credit bureaus at Due to COVID-19 hardship, the major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) are offering all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. If, after April 20, 2022, the free yearly credit report has already been redeemed, customers may still obtain a report from the location above. Reports will generally cost from $15 to $20 per credit agency report.

Obtain A Credit Score

Credit agencies calculate a “score” based on factors pertaining to an individual’s credit information and history. A credit score can be requested from the consumer credit reporting agencies that create these scores, generally, at a cost. However, some consumer financial institutions (banks, credit unions, etc.) and credit card services may provide a monthly credit score report to participating customers free of charge.

Know If Credit Information Has Been Used Against You

Anyone who uses a consumer’s credit information as the basis for a denial of employment, credit, insurance, or any other negative action must notify the consumer and provide the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the credit information.

Dispute Incorrect Or Incomplete Information In A Credit Report

Credit reporting agencies must investigate all genuine disputes regarding incomplete or incorrect information. If inaccuracies are present in your report, contact the credit agency that produced the report to file the dispute.

Duty To Report Accurate and Current Credit Information In Consumer Credit Files

Consumer reporting agencies must report accurate and current information in credit reports. Any information that is found to be inaccurate, incomplete, unverifiable, or outdated must be removed from the credit report by the reporting credit agency. Once received, the credit agency must investigate the disputed items or delete them from the credit report. If the information is deleted, the agency must notify you by phone of the removal, send a written confirmation, and provide a copy of the new report, all within 5 days. If the credit agency chooses to reinvestigate the dispute, the investigation must be completed within 45 days, and the agency must provide a result of the investigation within 5 days of being completed. Additionally, credit agencies cannot report negative credit information that is seven years old or older; however, bankruptcies may be reported for up to 10 years.

Limit Unsolicited Offers That Are Based On Information In Your Credit Report

Financial or credit institutions that send unsolicited "prescreened" offers for services based on credit report information must provide the option, by toll-free number, for the consumer to remove their contact information from lists or databases used to identify potential customers. Consumers may opt-out with nationwide credit bureaus at 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or online.

Consent Required For Credit Reports To Be Provided To Employers

Credit reporting agencies may not provide credit report information to any employer or potential employer without the consumer’s written consent.

Limit Access To Your Credit File

Credit report information may only be provided to those who have a valid need for the information. Those with a valid need generally include creditors, insurers, employers, landlords, or other businesses.

Sue Violators Of The FCRA

The FCRA allows consumers the right to a jury trial on cases arising from violations. However, the consumer must request a jury trial when submitting their case. All proven violations of the FCRA will result in monetary awards for the customer; however, the amount received may vary. If the violator knowingly and intentionally violates the FCRA, criminal charges may also apply. If there is a valid claim, it is important to hire a lawyer. A lawyer may increase the chances that a judge or jury has fully and accurately heard your claim, all while protecting your rights.

Hiring An FCRA Attorney In New York

If you have been subjected to FCRA violations or have unresolved credit reporting issues, it is important to act quickly, as time is a substantial factor in the pursuit of justice. To ensure that your rights are protected, it is vital that you have a lawyer for these claims. FCRA cases may be daunting and confusing at times, and an experienced attorney can help. At Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, we have experienced attorneys ready to assist you with your fair credit reporting claims. For a free case analysis, call Law Office of Simon Goldenberg at (888) 301-0584 or contact us online.