What should I know about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
10 Things You Should Know About the FCRA
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies including credit bureaus and specialty agencies. Specialty agencies include those that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, employment records, and rental history records.
- You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone using a credit report to deny application for credit, insurance, employment, a rental property, or to take another adverse action against you, must tell you and give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.
- You have the right to know what is in your file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in the files of a consumer reporting agency. You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:
- someone has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit file
- you are a victim of identity theft
- your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud
- you are on public assistance
- you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days
- You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on information from the credit bureaus. You may have to pay for your credit score from the reporting agency.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. It is recommended that
the dispute be in writing. The reporting agency must investigate your dispute and provide a written response within 30 days.
- You may dispute information in your credit file that is incomplete or inaccurate. Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. If you report an inaccurate or incomplete listing to the credit reporting agency and provide supporting documentation, the credit bureau is to remove or correct the error within 30 days. If the bureau verifies the information as accurate, they may continue to report.
- Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated, negative information. In most cases, credit reporting agencies may not report negative information that is more than 7 1/2
years old or bankruptcies that are more than ten years old.
- Access to your file is limited. A consumer reporting agency may provide information about you for specified purposes described in the law, such as the consideration of credit applications, insurance, employment, rental property, or other business.
- An employer or potential employer must receive written consent from you to access your credit file. This authorization is separate from a general request to obtain credit information and must include specific disclosures outlining how the information will be used.
- You may limit “pre-screened” offers of credit and insurance that you receive based on information in your credit report. These offers must include a toll-free phone number that the consumer can call to remove his/her name from the list of recipients.
- You may seek damages from violators. The credit bureau or furnisher of credit information may be sued if they have violated the FCRA. As well, the consumer's attorney fees may be paid by the credit bureau or furnisher if the law has been broken
Cary Flitter comments: Know your Consumer Rights
A Guide to Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act