A federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), protects consumers by providing them with many rights related to the collection and dissemination of their credit history. If a credit reporting agency (CRA) or other entity violates the FCRA, an individual may suffer some harm, typically economic. Inaccurate information on a credit report could cause a lender to deny credit in the form of an auto loan or credit card, an employer to fail to provide a job opportunity, or a landlord to choose to not lease property. If a CRA or other entity violates the FCRA, consumers have remedies available to redress the damage to their credit and other harm:
*Basic damages available under the FCRA include:
- actual damages (no limit), or
- statutory damages (between $100 and $1,000)
*If the offender committed fraud to obtain the credit report of another, or used it for an improper purpose, then damages are the greater of:
- your actual, provable damages (no limit), or
- $1,000 flat (no minimum).
*”Willful” means that the CRA or other entity knew or should have known that it was acting in violation of the FCRA. Punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs are also available under the FCRA. Consumers who sue in “bad faith of for purposes of harassment” are subject to FCRA penalties.
*Negligent violations are actionable and damages include:
- actual damages (no limit, and
- attorney’s fees and costs.
*A complaint may be filed in either federal or state court. The statute of limitations for filing an FCRA complaint dictates that it must be filed no later than:
- two years after the date you discovered the violation, or
- five years after the date of the violation.
A debt collection defense attorney is often crucial in this situation as he or she may help formulate a defense and provide guidance through court proceedings. Most debt collection defense attorneys, like the attorneys at Loan Lawyers, provide free consultations. At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and debt defense attorneys can help individuals protect themselves from unscrupulous creditors. For a no-risk, no-cost consultation, contact one of our South Florida consumer defense attorneys today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).