In today’s world, a consumer’s credit file can impact many aspects of his or her personal and professional life. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of the information contained in your file. It applies to consumer reporting agencies, including the credit bureaus and specialty agencies that sell information about your check writing history, medical records, and rental history records. Since your credit is so important, it is crucial that you understand your rights under this law.
Rights of Consumers Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to the following:
- You must be told if information in your credit file has been used against you. For example, if someone uses your credit report to deny your application for a loan, insurance, or employment, they must tell you. They also must give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting agency that provided the information.
- You have the right to know what is in your file. You are entitled to request and obtain all the information about in the files of a consumer reporting agency by providing proper identification. You may be entitled to free disclosure in many circumstances. This includes one free disclosure every year upon request.
- You have the right to request a credit score from the credit bureaus. These scores are generally not provided free of charge unless you are purchasing a home or car.
- You have the right to dispute any information that is incomplete or inaccurate in your file. Disputes should be reported to the consumer reporting agency. The agency must then investigate, unless the dispute is frivolous.
- If information in your file is inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable, the consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete it. Generally, this must be done within 30 days.
- Access to your file must be limited to people with a valid need for the information.
- In order for your file to be provided to an employer, you must first give your consent.
- You may limit the number of “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you receive based on the information in your credit report.
- If a consumer reporting agency violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to sue the agency in state or federal court and pursue damages.
- If you are the victim of identity theft or an active member of the military, you are entitled to additional rights.
When the information in your credit report is inaccurate or incorrect, the impact can be devastating. We can help you fix these issues. We encourage you to check out the feedback of our many previous clients on our client testimonials page.