The accuracy of your credit report is very important. Your credit score depends on the information contained in your credit report. Your credit score may have an enormous impact on your life. Negative items in your credit report may result in a bank denying your mortgage or a new loan. Your prospective employer may also decide not to hire you because of the negative items in your background check, or your landlord may decide not to rent a house or an apartment to you because of your low credit score. These situations are tightly connected with your credit report. Your credit report tells a lot about you, and how you handle your money flow. Negative items in your credit report may lead to a conclusion that you are not a responsible person. On the other hand, a credit report which generates an excellent credit score tells a lot about you as a reliable person with an income consistency. But what happens if your credit report contains inaccurate information?
Your rights under the FCRA
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates the work of credit report agencies (CRAs) including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It also regulates who can access someone’s credit report, which information can be reported, and the procedures for disputing inaccurate information.
The Fair Credit Report Act is not just about credit reports. It is actually about consumer reports. The consumer report under the FCRA is any communication of any information by a credit report agency on someone’s credit standing, credit capacity, and also the general reputation of a consumer. If any of these pieces of information from credit bureau agencies are used for credit, insurance, or employment, then it is a consumer report and it is covered by the FCRA. This is very important because this means that you are protected by the FCRA not only when you are applying for credit, but also when an employer is looking at your background check report. You are also protected by the FCRA when you want to get insurance and the insurance company is checking your past history or when you want to rent a house or an apartment and the landlord is checking your reports that are provided by the credit report agencies. So if there is information about you that is coming from the credit report bureaus and it is false and untrue, you have the right to dispute that information. Here is how the FCRA protects you.
- If inaccurate information, after you dispute it, is still coming from the credit bureau and causing you losses, then you might be entitled to damage compensation.
- If your background check report is used against you, for example, to deny you employment, you must be notified of that. Moreover, you are entitled to getting a copy of that background check report
- If a credit reporting agency cannot verify the information you disputed, such information must be removed from your report.
- Information that is outdated must not be reported. If you had some credit issues in the past that had been solved, the information on those issues can be reported for up to seven years. An exception is a bankruptcy that stays on your report for ten years.
- Credit reporting agencies have to conduct an investigation on information that is disputed. An investigation has to be conducted within 30 days of your dispute.
- If an employer wants to run a background check on you, it can’t be done without your written consent.
- If background check agencies or consumer reporting agencies violate the FCRA, you may sue them.
How to dispute errors in your credit report
Credit report agencies have the obligation to report any information with the maximum possible accuracy. However, it often happens that your credit report contains inaccurate information. If you believe your credit report contains inaccuracies, you may contact a credit report agency that generated the report to dispute the inaccurate information. You can contact them online by using a form on their website to dispute such information. You can call them up as well and try to explain to their representative which information you want to dispute and why. But lawyers from Cook Law LLC will recommend that you contact the credit report agency by mail. Compose a letter for them and let them know which account exactly contains inaccurate information and why it is inaccurate or incorrect. If you have any evidence or documentation to support what you are saying, do not omit it from the letter. Make sure that the documents you are sending in the dispute letter are copies. Original documents should be kept in your private archive. You might need them later. Send the dispute letter to the credit reporting agency in a way that can assure they received it. Certified or registered mail or any other form that guarantees your mail is delivered will do the job.
A credit reporting agency is required by the FCRA to conduct an investigation on the disputed information. The investigation has to be done within 30 days of receiving your dispute and the results of that investigation have to be reported back to you. Credit reporting agencies are required to include in the investigation the company that is furnishing disputed information. That company is obligated to conduct an investigation on their own and to report back the results of their investigation to the credit reporting bureau. Once the credit reporting agency gets back the results of the investigation they have to present them to you and explain the decision.
If inaccurate information did not come off your credit report and that started to cause you losses, for example, your current creditors want to reduce your current credit line or don’t want to give you an increase of your credit line, loss of mortgage, or a car purchase, then you are entitled under the FCRA to recover those losses.
When disputing inaccurate information, it is wise to have the assistance of the FCRA lawyer with a high level of expertise in dealing with the FCRA violations. If you are in St Louis MO, Cook Law LLC will evaluate your case free of charge and you don’t have to pay for the services before you get compensated. You don’t want to be in this alone because there are so many things to do when disputing inaccurate information in your credit report and your credit capacity is at stake likewise.