The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides restrictions on the way that consumers’ credit information can be shared. Namely, consumers are protected against misinformation, and reporting agencies are supposed to provide accurate, fair representations of credit scores that reflect the true credit history of the individual. Additionally, the law allows consumers to pursue legal action and compensation against debt collectors or credit reporting agencies that violate the FCRA.
Below, we will discuss some of the specific ways that the FCRA protects you from exploitation by credit agencies. If you feel that your rights have been violated in any way, get in touch with the knowledgeable attorneys at Sue the Collector. We offer a FREE consultation to learn more about your situation and how we can help you rectify it. Call our office today at (866) 768-6005 to schedule your appointment with a member of our team. We also have an online contact form you can fill out and one of our representatives will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The FCRA can be broken down into your rights and the credit reporting agencies’ responsibilities. The former involves the protections you are granted, while the latter dictates how these agencies must go about their business. First, we will look at the rights you have under the law.
Access to Information
You are given the right to know what is in your credit report, though you may be required to provide personal identifying information like your Social Security number. The credit reporting agency also has to supply you with this access for free in the following situations:
- You currently receive public assistance.
- You have no employment but plan to apply for a job within the next 60 days.
- Some fraud scheme has resulted in your file containing inaccurate information.
- You have experienced identity theft and have placed an alert on your file.
- Some entity has initiated “adverse action” against you due to your credit report.
You also have the right to ask for your credit score, which is a number assigned to you based on previous consumer activity (including outstanding debts).
Control Over Information
In addition to having the right to review the data in your credit report files, you also have the right to dispute anything you believe is inaccurate. You also control access to your file from employers. Unless you give written consent to allow a current or potential employer to review your credit report, the credit reporting agency must not reveal this information.
Agency Responsibilities Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
While much of the law outlines your rights, a sizable portion also outlines the responsibilities of credit reporting agencies. If they do not abide by these regulations, you have the right to pursue legal action against them.
The credit reporting agency is tasked with the significant responsibility of keeping accurate data on consumer activities. As part of this mandate, it must delete or correct any information that is false or misleading in your file, typically within a 30-day period.
If any entity has begun some adverse action against you based on information in your credit report, including the rejection of an application for housing or employment, that person or business must disclose this to you. They also have to provide the name of the reporting agency that provided them with your information.
Credit reporting agencies usually must delete negative information about you as that information becomes outdated. Typically, this means the agency will retain negative information for about seven years, while bankruptcies can show up in your file for ten years.
Your credit report is not for just anyone to see. The agency that has built your report must only provide information about you to requesters with an actual, legitimate need. Examples of people or entities the agency is allowed to disclose information to (sometimes only with your approval) include:
- Insurance agencies
State Vs. Federal Law
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that applies to all states in the Union. However, credit reporting agencies also have to abide by state laws applicable to the state in which you live. In some cases, these state FCRA laws can grant you additional rights. Understanding the interplay between federal and state legislation is essential to protecting all the rights afforded to you by the law. Though such a task can seem daunting, experienced attorneys with Sue the Collector can help apply the law to your case and assess whether you are owed damages from the credit reporting agency.
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Though legislation like the Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers, agencies do not always abide by these regulations. When they make mistakes that violate your rights, they rely on you not knowing that you should pursue legal action. If you feel that you have been victimized or that your legal rights have been violated by a credit reporting agency or creditor, speak with the attorneys at Sue the Collector as soon as possible.
Call our office to schedule your FREE consultation with a member of our team. You can reach us by dialing (866) 768-6005 or by filling out the form on our contact page. It’s time to hold credit reporting agencies accountable and ensure that they are living up to their responsibilities.