Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Have you recently pulled your credit report, only to discover inaccuracies? Have debt collectors been calling you about accounts you’ve already paid or debts that were discharged in an earlier bankruptcy? If so, you have the right to request that these errors and omissions be corrected.

There are different types of consumer credit reporting agencies. The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – are the most well-known, but there are also specialty agencies that sell information about your medical records, check writing history, rental history, and employment background. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that governs how this information can be retrieved, distributed, and used. Here are the 5 things you need to know about it.

  1. You have the right to know what is in your file.

Under the FCRA, consumers have the right to see what’s in their credit file at any time. You are entitled to one free copy of your report every year, but the credit reporting agencies must also provide you with a copy under the following circumstances:

  • You are on public assistance
  • You are unemployed and intend to look for work within the next 60 days
  • You have been a victim of identity theft
  • Your credit report is inaccurate due to identity theft
  1. You must be told if information in your credit file resulted in an adverse decision. 

Anyone who uses your credit report to deny your application for credit, employment, a rental property, or insurance must advise you of the fact and give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that furnished the information.

  1. You have the right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information.

If information in your credit file is inaccurate or incomplete, you may dispute it in writing. The reporting agency that furnished the information is then legally obligated to investigate your dispute and provide a written response within 30 days. If your dispute is found to be accurate, the credit bureau must remove or correct the error(s) within 30 days (up to 45 days if you provide more information after submitting the written dispute).

  1. Reporting agencies may not report negative information if it is outdated.

In most instances, consumer reporting agencies cannot report negative information that is over seven years old or discharged bankruptcies that are over 10 years old.

  1. Access to your credit file is restricted.

Consumer reporting agencies may only provide your credit information to individuals or entities with a valid need for it. They include (but may not be limited to) lenders, credit issuers, insurance providers, landlords, and employers. In the case of employers, you must provide written consent for them to access your credit file.

At Hedtke Law Group, we have a thorough understanding of the FCRA and other laws that protect indebted consumers and will work aggressively to protect you. If you have questions or need to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us or call (909) 579-2233.