The Importance of Understanding Your Credit Report
Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Your credit report is the
foundation of your credit score. Because we live in a
financially driven society
understanding your report and the laws enacted
to protect you if there are errors on your report are now more
important than ever.
Educating yourself on the consumer laws, known as the Fair
Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), is essential. If you have inaccuracies
in your credit report, it your responsibility to identify the
error and take the appropriate steps to correct it. We cannot
rely on the credit reporting agency or the creditor reporting the
information despite that it is their legal obligation to investigate into your
Your credit report is a summary of your credit history. It
reports your accounts both open and closed, negative and
positive. It contains information about where you have lived
and worked, whether you have a judgment against you from a lawsuit
and whether you have filed for bankruptcy or have tax liens.
All of the information contained in your report will affect your
ability to obtain a loan, open a bank account or credit card,
get a job, be approved for a mortgage and even rent an
apartment…making checking your report for errors and accuracy
extremely important to your financial well-being.
While it is important to review your report regularly, you must
review it with a clear understanding of your rights under the FCRA
so you can protect
yourself from errors and inaccuracy. The FCRA provides
the consumer protection, should a report contain inaccurate
information. It holds both the credit reporting agency(ies)
and the creditor(s) responsible for the errors after you put them
on notice by disputing
the inaccurate information.
Under the FCRA you have a right to dispute the inaccurate
information with the credit reporting agencies and they are
obligated under the law to provide a response to your dispute
within 30 to 45 days of receipt. As a consumer attorney, I
encourage you to dispute in writing and provide supporting
documentation, if available, to accompany your dispute.
I advise against on-line disputes. While it provides a
quicker response to your request for investigation, it is not as
thorough, limits what information you can provide to the credit
bureaus, and usually ends up in needing a second dispute.
While waiting for your dispute results or if the response is not
the end result you were hoping for, the FCRA allows you to add a
100 word statement to your report explaining any accounts or
information you disagree with. The credit reporting agency
will include your statement on all future reports and will even
redistribute reports that were requested in the recent past
including your consumer statement. Moreover, if
the information that remains on your credit report is inaccurate or
misleading, and that information causes harm in the way of lost
credit, insurance or employment opportunities, then you are
entitled to recover money for those damages, along with attorney
fees and costs.
If you need assistance in reviewing your report or clearing up
information that is inaccurate and negatively affecting your credit
report, contact SmithMarco P.C.
for a free case review.