The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal statute that governs the activity of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and the entities that provide them with information about a consumer’s credit. CRAs gather information on consumers and their credit, and they report this information to businesses, including banks and landlords.
Under the FCRA, CRAs are required to protect the accuracy, confidentiality, and relevance of credit information. In other words, they must take reasonable measures to ensure that the information provided by creditors and other businesses is correct, and they cannot disclose this information to anyone who does not have the right to know it.
When credit information is misreported, inaccurate, or misused, it can have a tremendous impact on:
-Your credit score
-Your ability to qualify for a mortgage or other loan
-Your ability to rent an apartment
-Your employment search
-Before you file for bankruptcy, you can negotiate with your creditors to settle your debts. You can also pay off your debts through bankruptcy. When you negotiate a settlement or discharge a debt through bankruptcy, a creditor cannot report this debt as “charged off.”
Credit Information and Your Privacy
The FCRA also prevents CRAs from releasing your credit information to anyone that requests it. An entity must have a valid need and purpose for the information, or the CRA cannot disclose it. For example, CRAs can disclose your credit information to a creditor or landlord because it is valid for these entities to know whether you have good credit before deciding to let you open an account or give you a lease.
If a CRA, creditor, or other entity violates your rights under the FCRA, you may be able to sue for compensation. You may be able to recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Has a Company Charged You to Fix Your Credit Before it Performed the Services?
If you have been harmed by a credit repair company, you may have claims under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, which prohibits companies from charging you for their services before the services are complete. It protects consumers from misleading, deceptive, and other unfair conduct of credit repair companies.
If you are a victim of identity theft from unlawful disclosures of your credit report, I can also help you understand what options you have in order to protect your consumer rights. I will always take the time to understand a clients’ needs and keep them informed at every step of the legal process so they feel involved in their case. So If you believe that items are incorrect on your credit report, give me a call and let’s talk. If you aren’t sure if your credit report is correct, many websites allow you to pull your credit report at no charge. If you need help reading this report to understand what it means, I can help.