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How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Consumers

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides consumers with many rights related to the collection and dissemination of the credit history. Here is a summary of the major rights of consumers under the FCRA:

*Consumers must be told if the information in their file has been used against them. Any entity that utilizes a credit or other type of consumer report to deny an application for credit, insurance, employment, or other adverse action, must inform consumers and provide the name, address, and phone number of the agency that is the source of the information.

*Consumers have the right to know what is in their file. They may request and obtain a file disclosure, which is all of their personal credit information in the files of a consumer reporting agency (CRA). Consumers are entitled to a free file disclosure if:

  • a person has taken adverse action against the consumer because of information in the consumer's credit report;
  • the consumer is the victim of identity theft and a fraud alert has been placed in the file;
  • the consumer's file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud;
  • the consumer is on public assistance; or
  • the consumer is unemployed but expects to apply for employment within 60 days.

*Consumers have the right to ask for a credit score, which is a numerical summary of credit-worthiness based on information collected by CRAs.

*Consumers have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If any information in a consumer's file is incomplete or inaccurate, once identified, the consumer may report it to the CRA, who must investigate it.

*Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected, usually within 30 days. Keep in mind that a consumer reporting agency may continue to report already-verified information.

*Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information, i.e., negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.

*Access to a consumer's file is limited. A CRA may only provide information out of valid necessity, which is usually the consideration of a consumer's application with a creditor, employer, landlord, or other entity.

*Consumers must give written consent for reports to be provided to employers during the employment application process.

*Consumers may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance. Unsolicited “prescreened” offers for credit and insurance must include a toll-free phone number that consumers may call to remove their names and addresses from the source lists.

*Consumers may seek damages from those who violate the FCRA.

*Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights under the FCRA.

The experienced South Florida defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to review a difficult financial situation to assess all of your available options. At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and debt defense attorneys help individuals with financial problems that cause hardship. To schedule a free consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices, contact Loan Lawyers today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).
  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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