Knowing Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair
Credit Reporting Act
, also referred to as the “FCRA”,Justice _scale is a Federal law enacted to protect consumers
and their credit reports.  This law governs how your credit
worthiness can be reported, dictates who can review your credit
report and gives you the right to review and dispute information
reported by creditors.

A question you may be asking yourself is who can view
your credit report
.  Your credit report may only be
viewed by a party with a “Permissible Purpose”.  Permissible
purposes include employment opportunities, for credit applications,
by court order or at your personal request.

As a consumer, you are entitled to view your credit report at
any time and may actually request a free copy of your report once a year. You may
also go to the three major credit bureaus’ websites and follow the
directions for your free yearly report.  The websites for the
three bureaus are:  Trans Union; Experian; and Equifax.   

Once you have reviewed your report, you may find mistakes
reported that are detrimental to your credit standing.  In the
event the credit agencies are reporting inaccurate information,
under the FCRA you have
the right to dispute and request an investigation into the
reporting.  This is best done by letter
sent certified mail to the credit bureaus and if possible should
include any documents that support your position.  Upon
receipt, the bureaus have 30 days to investigate your dispute and
get back to you with the results.  The credit reporting
agencies also have an automated dispute option, either on line or
by phone, but a thorough dispute in writing is the strongest option
and will best protect you in the event you need to file

If you find accurate negative information on your report, you
should review the dates of reporting to make sure no account or
trade line is reported for longer than the legally allotted amount
of time.  Collection accounts, charged off accounts or other
adverse account information may not be reported for longer than
seven years from the date of last activity.  Public records
such as judgments or bankruptcy, and tax liens; criminal history,
such as an arrest record; and student loans may only be reported
for ten years.

In the event disputed inaccurate information remains on your
report, you have the right to file suit against both the credit
bureau(s) and the furnisher of the information.  Under the FCRA, you are
entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 or actual damages
that you can show you suffered as a result of the inaccurate
reporting.  Furthermore, the FCRA requires the Defendant(s)
pay(s) for your attorneys’ fees.  In conclusion, the FCRA is a
law enacted to protect you, the consumer.  It is important to
know your rights so that you are in a position to protect your
credit standing.

When you have problems with your credit report, you have
rights,  and we’re here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has
been protecting consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel that
you’re rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.