Credit Report Disputes
You should review your credit report on a regular basis. Inaccurate, fraudulent or incomplete information can negatively affect your ability to get credit, employment, housing and insurance. Your credit report can also be used to determine how much interest is charged on a loan or credit card. Before making a major purchase, such as a home or car, or before applying for a job or insurance, you should request your free credit report from all three credit reporting agencies.
Your credit report contains important information about you, including your address, bill payment history and public records, such as arrests, bankruptcies, judgments and liens. Credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) sell the information contained in your credit report to creditors, insurance companies, employers and landlords.
Reviewing your credit report on a regular basis can also help protect you from identity theft. Credit reports with accounts that do not belong to you may be a red flag that you may be a victim of identity theft. Incorrect information on your credit report because of identity theft can negatively affect your ability to get employment, credit or insurance.
Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLCrepresents consumers in individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits against credit reporting agencies and companies who furnish information to the credit bureaus. Our lawyers are licensed to practice law in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee and Texas.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the credit reporting agencies’ files. Under the FCRA, consumers have a right to a free annual file disclosure (free credit report) once in a 12 month time period. This right, to a free annual credit report, is in addition to your right to your credit file under many different circumstances. For example, you are also entitled to a free credit report if a company takes an “adverse action” against you, such as denying you credit, employment or insurance because of information in your report.
You are also entitled to a free credit report if you are unemployed and plan to look for a job in the next 60 days. This is an important federal right. If you are unemployed and looking for a job it is a good idea to review your credit report before your future employer does. This will give you an opportunity to correct any errors before your future employers see your credit reports.
Some states, such as Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont have state laws which provide consumers with an additional right to a free credit report.
Once you have received your credit reports, you should check each report for errors. Under the FCRA, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union are responsible for correcting inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit report after you dispute the credit report error.
Similarly, after you dispute errors to a consumer reporting agency, furnishers (companies that provide information about you to the credit reporting agencies) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information.
How Do I Dispute Credit Report Errors?
1. Notify the credit reporting agency in writing of the information you believe is incorrect. When you send your dispute letter to Equifax, Experian or Trans Union you should include supporting documents, such as proof of payment or an ID Theft Affidavit. You should also include your contact information, name, address, and Social Security number.
The credit dispute letter should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Explain to the credit reporting agency what is inaccurate and why it is incorrect. You should request the credit reporting agency to delete the inaccurate information from your credit file. A copy of the dispute letter should be kept if needed in the future, especially if you end up hiring a lawyer to sue the credit reporting agencies because they did not delete the credit report errors.
2. Notify the creditor or furnisher in writing that you dispute an item. When you send your dispute letter to the creditor or furnisher you should include copies of any supporting documents, such as proof of payment or a fraud affidavit. You should also include your contact information, name, address, and account number.
Explain what is inaccurate and why it is incorrect. You should request the inaccurate information to be deleted from your file. The dispute letter should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. A copy of the dispute letter should be kept if needed in the future, especially if you end up hiring a lawyer.
Click HERE to download a free sample credit report dispute form.
If you have reviewed your credit report and disputed the incorrect or fraudulent information with Equifax, Experian or Trans Union and the credit reporting agency has refused to remove the credit report errors, then you may be entitled to recover money damages. Contact Fair Credit Reporting Act attorney Micah Adkins for a free legal consultation.