Although the Fair Credit Reporting Act can impact your life in many ways, most consumers are unaware of the importance of the act. Your credit report can impact nearly every aspect of your life including your ability to purchase a home or car, become insured, get hired for a new job, and obtain a line of credit.
If an agency violates your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you may file a lawsuit in state or federal court and recover damages.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. Section 168, promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of consumer information by consumer reporting agencies. The consumer reporting agencies that consumers are most familiar with are credit bureaus. A consumer report, most commonly known as a credit report, is a snapshot of a consumer’s finances, including information about your credit, bill repayment history and the status of your credit accounts.
Consumer rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
Consumers have several important rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These rights include:
- Seeing a copy of your file
- Disputing incorrect information
- Having inaccurate information corrected
- Knowing if negative information has been used against you
- Obtaining your credit score
- Outdated negative information cannot be disclosed
- Obtaining your consent before giving your credit report to employers
- Right to seek damages from agencies that violate your rights
You have the right to obtain a copy of your file at any time. Any consumer can obtain a free copy of their file from each credit reporting agency every 12 months. There are also several instances of when you can obtain a free copy at other times, such as if you have been the victim of identity theft or fraud.
You also have the right to dispute incorrect information and have that information corrected or deleted by the agency. You have the right to know whenever your credit report has been used to deny you something you have applied for or used to file an action against you.
Consumers also have the right to obtain a copy of their credit scores, though there is a fee associated with it. Outdated negative information cannot be disclosed: information must be deleted after seven years, except for bankruptcies, which stay on your report for ten years.
A credit agency must also obtain your consent before giving a copy of your credit report to present or prospective employers. Also, you have the right to file a lawsuit in state or federal court against an agency that violates these rights.
Because credit reports have such a large impact on your day-to-day life, it is important to regularly obtain and review the information it contains for inaccuracies or evidence that you have been a victim of identity theft. If a credit reporting agency has violated your rights under the FCRA, an attorney can help you recover compensation in state or federal court.
Have your FCRA rights been violated? Contact The Haeggquist and Eck Firm today for a free case evaluation to help determine whether you have a valid claim to receive financial compensation.