Fair Credit Reporting Rights
What You Should Know and Look for
Having a good credit rating is important to everyone. Whether you are buying a home, a car, taking out a loan, applying for a credit card, or even applying for employment or a lease, businesses inspect your credit history. A good credit rating will generally result in a favorable decision on your behalf.
On the other hand, unemployment, illness, the inability to meet your bills, or even human error can cause an unfavorable credit report. When that happens, while the law does not guarantee you will receive credit, it does provide rights to give all consumers a fair and equal opportunity to receive credit and resolve disputes over consumer errors.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives certain rights to consumers whose credit information is collected by a Consumer Report Agency (CRA) and reported to others. You likely have a credit record on file at a credit bureau if you have ever applied for a credit card, personal loan, insurance or a job.
Specific rights under the FCRA include the following:
1) You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report including all the information in your file at the time of your request.
2) Anyone who uses information to form a CRA against you must tell you so, and give you information on how to contact the CRA.
3) You have the right to know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year for most purposes or in the last two years for employment purposes.
4) Generally, negative credit information that is more than seven years old may not be reported by a CRA. The time period is extended to ten years for bankruptcies.
5) You can dispute the accuracy of information held by a CRA. To do so, you should file a dispute with the CRA and with the company that furnished the information to the CRA. Both the CRA and the furnisher of the information are obligated to reinvestigate your dispute.
6) You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.
7) Finally, if a CRA, a user of the CRA date, or in some cases a provider of the CRA date violates the federal law requirements, you may sue the individual or entity in state or federal court.