OUR PRACTICE AREAS
FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates how consumer reporting agencies and creditors report and access your credit history. The most common consumer reporting agencies are known as the Big Three: Transunion, Experian and Equifax. These credit bureaus gather and sell information about you to creditors, employers, landlords and other businesses. In addition, any creditor that furnishes any information to a credit bureau is subject to the FCRA. It is crucial to be aware of your rights under the FCRA to ensure nothing from your credit history is inaccurately reported.
Disclosure of your credit profile: You have the right to know what is on your credit report. At your request, a credit bureau must provide you with the information in your file and a list of every entity that requested a copy of your credit report recently. You are entitled to one free report every twelve months.
Dispute inaccurate information:
Before filing a lawsuit under the FCRA, a consumer must dispute the accuracy of the particular account with the credit bureau. This is a required perquisite to filing a lawsuit and the credit bureau and/or creditor will have no issue getting a case dismissed if there is no evidence of a dispute letter being sent to the credit bureau. Although the FCRA only requires the dispute letter to be sent to the Credit Bureau, it is more likely the tradeline will be corrected if a courtesy copy is sent to the creditor.
Once a creditor receives notice of a written dispute, the creditor must complete an investigation and provide the results of that investigation within 30 days. In addition, the credit reporting error must be corrected within those 30 days.
Filing a Lawsuit:
If the credit reporting error is not corrected within 30 days, a consumer can bring a private civil action against the credit bureau and the creditor. If a violation of the FCRA is found, the responsible party is subject to statutory, punitive, actual and emotional distress damages. In addition, the plaintiff is entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs incurred to bring the action.
Outdated Accurate Information:
Even if the negative information on your credit report is accurate, it may not be reported for longer than seven years in most instances and no longer than ten years if there is a bankruptcy involved.
Employers’ Rights to Pull Credit Reports:
An employer or potential employer is not permitted to request a current or potential employee’s credit report unless they are provided with written consent from that employee. In recent years, there has been a wave of successful lawsuits filed in respect to this issue and employers have been forced into modifying their job applications to comply with recent law.