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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

Credit Report Listings with Negative Impact

Your credit report plays a critical role in your overall financial health. The information that it contains will affect your ability to get new lines of credit for auto or personal loans, rent an apartment, and sometimes even get a job or promotion. It’s important to understand all of the information on your report and what types of negative listings may appear.

Every person’s credit report has the following:

  • Personal information.  Your name, current and previous addresses, social security number, date of birth, and possibly current and previous employers.
  • Credit accounts.  Current and previous credit accounts including details such as payment history, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and current balance. Auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and any other type of credit accounts in your name will be listed.
  • Inquiries. Hard inquiries are listed on your report when there is an application for new credit, and may remain on your report for up to two years. Several hard inquiries, which may be viewed by a lender as high risk, may lower your credit score and impact your ability to be approved for credit.  Soft inquiries are listed by companies offering to promote a special product or service and do not hold negative weight on your report.
  • Negative listings and public records. Late payments, debt, accounts in collection, repossessions, accounts in default, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and judgments are all listed on your credit report. Negative information can stay on your report for up to seven years and will lower your credit score. It may make it more difficult to get approved for new credit, or could result in higher interest rates on any loans or credit.

What you can do about negative listings

Negative listings on your credit report are frustrating, especially if you’re making an effort to improve your financial situation.  Take steps to pay down debt over time.

-Monitor your credit reports
-Dispute errors with the credit bureau and credit furnisher
-Pay your bills in full and on time
-Make a budget and stick to it

These positive actions will help improve your credit and show that you’re on the right track, even while the negative listings remain.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of car repossession, credit reporting errors and unfair debt collection practices.  Contact Us for a free consultation to determine whether your consumer rights were violated.

How to Get a Job When You Have Poor Credit

Finding a new job can feel like a full time job in itself. First identifying companies and positions, then prepare your resume and cover letters.

The next most important step is to check your credit reports.

Employers usually check credit reports during the hiring process as a means to gauge the applicant’s responsibility with finances. Not all employers check credit reports during the employment screening process. But those that do, often check for positions that involve a security clearance, access to money, sensitive customer data or confidential company information.

An employment screening report only includes your account payment record, how much you owe, and your available credit. Potential employers can’t see your credit score. Follow these steps to prepare your credit before applying for a new job.

1. Obtain current credit reports

When you start looking for a new job, get a copy of your credit report. You should know appears on your report before a prospective employer obtains a copy. You can get a free report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus – Transunion, Experian and Equifax.

Review your reports for accuracy. If you see errors, dispute them directly with the reporting bureau. If you have negative listings like a car repossession or defaulted account, these should only stay on your report for 7 1/2 years.

2. Ask employer about credit checks

If you have negative credit listings and you’re concerned about the role they’ll play in your job search, contact your target companies anonymously and ask if they check credit as part of their candidate screening process. If you think it will be an issue, you might choose not to spend time on applications for a company that asks for your credit history.

3. Know your rights

Potential employers can ask for a copy of your credit file. However, there are guidelines that must be followed.
1) You must provide written permission for a company to request your report.
2) The company must notify you of the company that provide the employment screening report.
3) You may write to the screening report company to request a copy of the report that was used in the employment hiring process.

4. Take steps to improve your credit

Your job search will be easier in the future if you don’t have to worry about how your credit might affect your eligibility. Be proactive and evaluate your credit before applying for that new job.

-Review your credit file in advance.
-Make bill payments in full and on time.
-Use less than thirty percent of the credit that’s available to you.
-Maintain a healthy debt-to-income ratio.
-Dispute errors on your credit reports.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting accuracy problems.  Contact Us for a free legal review of your credit reports and an evaluation of whether your consumer rights were violated.


Are You Credit Invisible?

If you hear the term “credit invisible” it means that you may not have credit files  with the nationwide credit reporting agencies — Transunion, Experian and Equifax — or that the information that exists on your credit reports is very limited.

Credit invisibility doesn’t only apply to young individuals who haven’t built up their history yet. It can also apply to older individuals who have stopped using credit, or to Americans who live abroad and don’t keep their U.S. credit accounts active.

Lacking Credit History

Credit invisibility can be detrimental for a number of reasons. Lacking credit history can make it difficult or impossible to secure new lines of credit. This means you may not be able to get a loan for the house or car you want, or open a new credit card account. It could also make it more difficult for you to rent an apartment or get hired for a job.

Keep your credit files up-to-date

Stay up to date with your credit standing by checking your report regularly. Consumers may obtain credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax every twelve months for free. We recommend that you request your reports from the credit bureaus in writing and have them mailed to you. You should enclose two forms of identification, such as a current driver’s license and utility bill, with your request. Once you have your reports, review your information to make sure that all of your information is accurate.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally-recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of inaccurate credit report listings. Contact us for a free legal evaluation of errors that appear on your report.

Credit Scores and Credit Repair…not a Quick Fix

A high credit score makes many aspects of our lives more simple. It may be easier to purchase a home or car, secure a new line of credit, rent an apartment, or possibly be hired for a job or awarded a promotion.

What is a good credit score?

A credit score of 800 and above is considered excellent and indicates that the consumer not only uses credit, but pays bills in full and on time. A  score in the 700s is considered good, however there may be some negative listing on the credit report such as late payments. Scores falling in the 600s are considered fair and may represent denial of a loan, or possibly approval but with lower credit limits or higher interest rates . Lower scores indicate to lenders that the consumer is a high credit risk and either, the consumer may be denied, or credit would be offered with unfavorable terms.

Credit score ranges

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Consumers with poor credit may seek ways to repair and improve their credit scores quickly. However, it’s a process that takes time and responsible financial management.  Paying bills in full and on time, maintaining a low credit utilization, and paying off debt are critical steps.  Also, a regular review of your credit report for accuracy is important.  Every twelve months consumers are entitled to a free report from each, Transunion, Experian and Equifax.  If there are errors listed on the credit report, the consumer should promptly dispute the errors.

Send a dispute letter to the bureau by US Mail with an explanation of the error and documents that support your claim.  Be sure to keep a complete copy of your dispute.  The credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to disputes.  The bureau does not correct the error, you may need to re-dispute until your report has been corrected.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of credit reporting errors by credit data furnishers and the credit bureaus.  Contact us  for a free evaluation of your credit report errors for a potential violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What You Should Know About Employment Background Checks

Be sure to request your credit report and verify that your credit history is up to date and accurate before seeking a new job. Prospective employers often run credit checks on potential employees prior to making hiring decisions, and negative listings could hurt your chances for employment or a promotion. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law that requires employers to obtain a prospective hire’s consent prior to pulling a credit file.

Employers Must Obtain Permission

Employers must obtain your written permission before they can access your credit file. During the application process, the employer should provide you with background check disclosure and authorization forms that require your signature.

Easy to Understand Forms

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that these authorization forms should be free of “complicated legal jargon” or “extra acknowledgement or waivers.” You should never feel confused or misled when it comes to authorization forms that an employer or prospective employer provides in order to get your consent to view your credit.

Your Right to View the Report

You also have the right to see the report that the employer used as a means to determine your employment. You should inform the prospective employer that you want to have a copy whether you are hired or not.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of inaccurate credit reporting. Contact us for a free evaluation of your reports.

Financial Tips for New College Graduates

Graduating from college is a huge achievement. It means you’re done with studying, exams, and essays. But it also means you have to be more responsible with your finances and make sure to maintain healthy credit.

Your credit will affect many aspects of your future, like your ability to rent an apartment, secure a new loan, and even get hired for a new job. If you haven’t already, check your credit report. See what information is currently listed and make sure it’s all accurate. Dispute credit report errors with the reporting bureau to ensure that your credit history is reflected correctly.

If your credit history is relatively short, consider how you can continue to build your credit. If you have student loans, making your payments on time and in full each month will reflect positively on your credit. Obtaining a credit card and paying it off in full each month will also contribute to a higher credit score.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, abusive debt collectors and lenders that have wrongfully repossessed vehicles.  Contact Us for a free legal evaluation of your consumer credit problem.

What You Need to Know About Credit Reporting

Access Your File Whenever you Want

You can request all of the information that the reporting agency has. You can get a free file disclosure if:

  • there’s a negative result after someone accesses your file,
  • you’re a victim of identity theft,
  • your file has inaccurate information due to fraud,
  • you’re on public assistance,
  • or you’re unemployed but expect to find employment within 60 days.

Others must have permission

Reporting agencies can only report your information to people who have a valid need for it, like those who are reviewing credit applications, insurance, employment, rental properties, or other business.

If someone accesses your credit report and it results in a negative outcome, like denial for credit, insurance, employment, or a rental property, they’re required to tell you. They should also give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that gave the information.

Employers must get Consent

If an employer or potential employer needs to access your report, they need your written permission.

You Can Ask for Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a number that indicates your creditworthiness. Lenders will see you as less risky if you have a higher score. Check your credit score and report regularly to make sure all information is accurate and up to date.

You Can Seek Damages from Violators

If you think your credit report was provided without your permission, you may be able to sue the credit bureau for providing your report.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides protection for consumers that have had their credit privacy violated.

You Can Dispute Credit Report Errors

You have the right to an accurate credit report. If any information is inaccurate, write a credit report dispute letter to the reporting agency. The bureau has 30 days to respond to your dispute.

The reporting agencies are obligated to correct or delete information that’s inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable. They also can’t report outdated negative information. In most cases, negative information should be removed after seven years.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting privacy and accuracy problems. Contact Us for a free evaluation of your credit reports for potential violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

Because your credit affects so many aspects of your life, it’s important to check your credit report regularly to make sure all information is correct and up to date. Correcting negative listings on your reports can seem like a long and complicated process. But you have the right to dispute credit report errors if any of the listings are inaccurate.

The Dispute Process

  • Request current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax

You can request a free copy of your credit report from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax once every twelve months. You can get a free report more often if certain events occur, such as denial of a credit application or identity theft.

You should request a copy of your credit report from each bureau to make sure that your information is accurate with all three. The bureaus report similar information, but listings can still differ from one report to another. Review all of your reports for accuracy.

WRITE to Transunion, Experian, and Equifax for a copy of your report.

Although you may be able to obtain your report online, we recommend that you request them through the US Mail.  Online, you must accept the terms of a “click” agreement which has language that could affect your ability to bring a lawsuit if the credit bureaus violate your consumer rights.

  • Identify credit report errors

Review each credit report for errors.  You many need to locate documents such as account statements, invoices, cancelled checks, court dockets or correspondence from a creditor or collector that proves why the listing is incorrect.  Gather your documents and attach them to your dispute letter.

Five Common Credit Reporting Errors

  1. Inaccurate payment history
  2. Incorrect information, such as your name, address, birth date, SSN
  3. Someone else’s information on your report.
  4. Duplicate information: two listings for the same account.
  5. Unauthorized accounts: accounts opened without your knowledge
  • File a credit report dispute

Send your disputes to the credit bureau through the US Mail, and preferably by a traceable means, such as Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  You need to have proof that your dispute letter was received.

Tips for an effective credit report dispute

  1. Keep your letter concise and to the point. State why the information is incorrect.
  2. Dispute only one  item per letter. If there are two errors, send two separate letters.
  3. Include the credit report date, report number, and page listing of the disputed item on your letter.
  4. Enclose supporting documentation.
  5. Clearly state the action you would like the credit bureau to take.
  6. Keep a copy of your complete dispute letter with supporting documents and mailing receipts.
  • What to do if the inaccurate information remains

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the bureaus are responsible for correcting inaccurate information. If the credit bureau has not corrected the information detailed in your dispute letter, you may need to:

  1. Re-dispute with the bureau
  2. Send a dispute letter to the creditor
  3. Contact a qualified credit report lawyer to evaluate your credit reports, disputes, and responses from the bureaus.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of credit reporting errors.  Contact us for a free legal evaluation of your credit reports and dispute correspondence, and determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Improve Your Credit Health

Make your credit health a priority by assessing your credit and determining where you can make improvements. Set yourself up for success. Identify financial goals and outline clear steps to achieve them.

Resolve to Make Payments On Time

Set up a system and strive to pay your bills on time and in full. 

  • Set up automatic payments on  accounts 
    Payments will be automatically withdrawn from your account, meaning you never run the risk of a forgotten bill.
  • Align payment dates with pay check dates
    Review payment due dates for your accounts. If an important bill is due right before you receive your pay check, contact the creditor to see if your due date could be adjusted to coordinate with your pay check date.
  • Set reminders for bill payment due dates
    Mark your calendar for dates when your payment must be made.  If you send your payment through the mail, note the mailing date so that your payment is received by the creditor on time.
  • Contact the creditor to request deferment
    If you know that you won’t be able to make a loan payment on time, contact the lender before the due date passes. The lender may allow you to defer payments until your financial situation improves. A deferment still appears on your credit report, but a deferment doesn’t reflect as negatively as a default.

Resolve to Reduce Debt

Determine a set amount that you can put toward debt payoff each month.

Identify a set time period to pay off specific debts. With focus and discipline, small manageable payments will help achieve your goal. Also, these regular on time payments show responsibility to creditors.

Improve Your Credit Score & Credit Report

A credit score is derived from a formula of your payment history, length of credit, type of credit and credit usage.  It is an indicator of how likely you are to pay your bills on time.  Scores range from 300 to 850.  A lower score means that you may be a higher risk to a prospective lender, resulting in a credit denial or unfavorable credit terms for a loan.

An accurate credit report may raise your credit score.

You can get a free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every twelve months. Check your report regularly to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. If there are errors, dispute them by sending a letter directly to the credit bureaus. Your letter should include documents, such as an account statement or cancelled check, that proves why the error should be corrected.

In addition, you may want to write to the creditor to dispute a credit report error. Show a copy of your report and state why the listing is incorrect.  Request the creditor write the credit bureau to correct the listing.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing victims with credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues. Contact us for a free legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated by the credit bureaus, debt collectors or lenders.

How Credit Reports Affect your Job Search

Your credit report affects many aspects of your life, which is why it is important to check your reports regularly to ensure that all of the information listed is up to date and accurate. You likely already know that your credit report and credit score indicate your creditworthiness to lenders. This information impacts whether or not you can secure a loan or get approved to finance a car or a home. It may also have an effect on your ability to get a job.

Employment Screening Report

Your credit report and another type of consumer report, called an employment screening report, are sometimes used by employers when reviewing applicants for open positions, or when an employee is being considered for a promotion. These reports have frequently been used by companies within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance, but have come to be standard for other industries as well. Trucking, nursing, food, and retail services are using screening reports more and more frequently during the applicant review process.

Inaccuracies Can Hurt You

Screening reports may contain inaccurate information about your past employment, medical or financial history, criminal and public records, or education. These inaccuracies can prevent you from getting a promotion or securing a new job.

Employers Need Your Permission

An employer needs your permission before accessing your credit report or performing a background check. Third party firms that prepare background reports, such as HireRight, Intelius, or CheckMate, may have exemptions.

The employer must receive your written permission before obtaining the report, and also inform you when the report may be used in the hiring process or for consideration of a promotion.

Screening Services Must Inform You of Negative Information

Employment screening report services are also obligated to tell you about any negative information that is reported to an employer. Frequently, negative information is not relayed to an applicant until days or weeks after the employer received the information.   At that point, the job opportunity may be lost.

When an employer obtains the report and decides not to hire, keep, or promote you as a result of the information, they are obligated to provide you with a copy of the report, along with contact information for the company that provided it. If any of the information is inaccurate, you can send a written dispute letter to the company and request that the information be corrected or removed.

When a credit reporting company doesn’t correct inaccurate information, the consumer may have a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Get a Free Legal Evaluation

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents consumers who have inaccurate information listed on credit reports or employment reports.  Contact us to discuss whether your consumer rights have been violated.  There is no cost for the legal review.