Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

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At Veitengruber Law, we spend a lot of time helping clients clean up their credit reports and improve their credit scores. Since your credit score and the corresponding report are crucial in so many areas of your life, it’s important for you to know that you have consumer credit rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What is The Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law, originally enacted in 1970, whose purpose is to ensure that all information obtained and retained about you by any consumer reporting agency is fair and accurate. The FCRA is also in place to protect the privacy of your personal information. This law is essentially the backbone of consumer credit rights in the United States, and works together with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Some of your rights under the FCRA include:

  • The right to information.  There are many different consumer reporting agencies, and you have the right to know what information any of them have stored in your file. Typically, you can request the information in your file once a year at no cost. If you have experienced identity theft or if you feel that a fraudulent act has caused errors in your file – you should be able to request a copy of your file more than once per year. Other reasons that may prompt you to request disclosure of your file: job loss, receiving public assistance, or an action taken against you due to something in your credit report or other file.
  • The right to know if information was used against you. If you are applying for a loan, a job, insurance, an apartment, (etc) and have been turned away, it is your right to know why you were denied. The person or company that denied you is required to tell you which credit agency gave them the information that caused your denial. This means you will be able to look into the information that a particular reporting agency has on file about you in order to check for errors.
  • The right to know your credit score. Some credit reporting agencies turn the information in your file into a score. Credit scores are used in order to give lenders and other necessary people/companies an overall summary of your financial history. Your credit score helps lenders make decisions about how credit worthy you are. Because your credit score is crucial in some very important transactions, you are entitled to know your score. Although your credit report is free (once per year), you will be charged a small fee for your numerical credit score – usually around $10.
  • The right to dispute. The number one reason why you should keep a regular eye on your credit report and score is so that you can make sure all of the information they contain is correct. If you should discover that there are inaccuracies within your credit file, you are entitled to have the faulty information corrected or removed.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is monitored by the Federal Trade Commission. To learn about the rest of your federal consumer/credit rights, visit their website. Additionally, some states have consumer reporting laws that may further benefit you. To find out more, contact your local consumer protection agency.

For help with disputing false information on any of your consumer files, please contact our office for a free consultation.

 

 Image credit: DonkeyHotey

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3 Responses to Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

  1. Pingback: Had a Hard Inquiry on Your Credit Report Without Your Permission? | Veitengruber Law

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  3. Pingback: How to Recover from Identity Theft | Veitengruber Law

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