In today’s world, a person’s credit file is one of the most important aspects of his or her financial life. Credit reports are used in many aspects of everyday life, from obtaining financing to purchase a home or vehicle to applying for an apartment or a job. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) exists to protect consumers with regard to this crucial information. Under the terms of the FCRA, credit reporting agencies have certain obligations to consumers.
Obligations of a Credit Reporting Agency
A credit reporting agency is any entity that collects and furnishes credit information about consumers. What obligations do these credit reporting agencies owe you? The agencies must do all of the following:
- Provide you with any information it has on you at your request. This is known as “file disclosure.” In many cases, the agency must provide you with this information at no cost.
- Provide you with your credit score upon your request. To obtain your score, you may have to pay a fee; however, you are entitled to one free credit report per year.
- Investigate any disputed credit information in your file, with very limited exceptions.
- Correct or delete any inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information within 30 days of receiving notice of your dispute.
- Refrain from reporting old credit information. In most cases, information that is more than 7 to 10 years old is considered “old.”
- Limit its disclosure of your credit file to third parties who have a “valid need.” Examples of third parties who may have a “valid need” are creditors, landlords, or employers.
- Withhold disclosure of your credit information to employers unless you first provide your consent to release the information.
If a credit reporting agency has breached its obligations to you, we can help. We encourage you to learn more by checking out the feedback of our many previous clients on our client testimonials page.