Regardless of whether they are intentional, Fair Credit Reporting Act violations represent serious threats to your credit and your future. Various entities make decisions that affect your pursuits and endeavors based on privileged information that only specified people and institutions are authorized to use in particular ways.
The Debt Defenders at Ciment Law Firm help clients nationwide pursue stable financial futures and healthy credit scores. Working with an experienced debt resolution attorney can help you identify and address issues that may be silently sabotaging your opportunities behind the scenes.Read below to learn about five common violations, and contact The Debt Defenders at (833) 779-9993 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced FCRA violation attorney. You can also take advantage of our free claim reviews.
What is the FCRA?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is legislation that governs how consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and businesses or individuals that report to these “credit bureaus” can or cannot use your credit information. Your credit report can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage, a car loan, an apartment, or even a job.
What is the Purpose of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The FCRA protects the fidelity and privacy of your information while preventing its misuse or abuse by creditors, consumer reporting agencies, and others authorized to access this sensitive data. However, violations of the FCRA are common, and these crimes against you can negatively affect your credit and various aspects of your life.
It is important to be aware of these common violations and be prepared to act in your own interest when they occur. Below, we will explain five common violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Debt Defenders at Ciment Law Firm, PLLC, can help you address these issues effectively nationwide. Let us know if you encounter any of the following violations.
1) Inaccurate Information, Old Information, or Mixed Files in Your Credit Report
The information in your credit file must be accurate, as you and an authorized person or organization referencing your credit report could be harmed by inaccurate information. There are times when creditors supply erroneous information to credit bureaus when they either know or should know it is incorrect; such instances would be FCRA violations by those creditors. Some examples of inaccurate information include:
- Reporting an account as a charge-off (written off by the lender as a loss) when it was actually settled or paid in full
- Stating an incorrect balance
- Listing an individual as a debtor on an account when they were only authorized as a user of the account
- Reporting payments as late when they were made on time
- Providing credit information on an account that has reported identity theft in a way inconsistent with proper identity theft procedures
Sometimes creditors or credit bureaus fail to update your credit information after you have taken actions that changed your circumstances. Providing or reporting this old information after failing to keep your credit file current may constitute FCRA violations. Some examples of failures to keep credit records current would include the following:
- Failing to report that a given debt was discharged in bankruptcy
- Reporting a closed account as active
- Reporting an old debt as current, new, or re-aged
- Reporting lawsuits after seven years
- Reporting Chapter 7 Bankruptcies after ten years
Mixed Credit Files
In some instances, the credit information of people with similar names or Social Security numbers may become confused or mixed. It might happen when these people live in the same zip codes, when Sr. or Jr. are mistaken for each other or not specified, or when individuals with the same last name have very similar first names. Credit files may have been mistakenly combined at some point in the past, which could lead to ongoing confusion and distortions of the individuals’ credit histories in the future.
2) Requesting a Credit Report for Impermissible Purposes
While employers, creditors, and landlords may be authorized to pull your credit report, they can only do so for permissible purposes. Some examples of impermissible purposes for pulling a credit report include:
- An employer pulling your credit report without your permission
- Pulling a credit report to determine whether someone is collectible on an involuntary debt (such as car towing or impound fees) or a non-credit matter (such as a personal injury lawsuit or divorce proceeding)
- A creditor pulling your credit report after the debt was discharged in bankruptcy
3) Privacy Violations
Credit bureaus are only authorized to supply your credit report to individuals or organizations with valid needs, such as employers to which you have previously provided consent, landlords, utility companies, insurance providers, and creditors. Generally, valid reasons to access your credit report involve assessing your ability to make responsible financial decisions and timely payments. You may be entitled to damages if a credit bureau has provided this information to other individuals who do not have a valid reason to access your credit history.
4) Withholding Notices
You are entitled to notices when a creditor supplies negative information to a credit bureau or when an employer, lender, or creditor fails to notify you of a negative decision based on your credit report. A creditor must provide you with your credit score if it was used in any decision, and they must notify you of your right to a free credit report and the option to dispute inaccurate information.
Any creditor or any user of your credit report information cannot refuse to identify the source of credit information they have collected on you. Failures to properly notify you under any of these circumstances constitute FCRA violations.
5) Failing to Follow Debt Dispute Procedures
If you have identified inaccurate information in your credit report, you should work with an experienced FCRA attorney to formally dispute the inaccuracies. There are specific actions creditors and credit bureaus must take in response to your written dispute regarding the accuracy of an item in your credit report. In short, they must conduct a reasonable investigation, correct inaccuracies, and perhaps remove the disputed debt from your credit report.
Credit bureaus must notify a creditor if you have reported a dispute. Creditors must notify every credit bureau of a dispute and provide them with corrected information following their internal investigation. They must inform you of their findings within five business days of its completion. Creditors must refrain from continuing to submit incorrect information.
Depending on the details of the dispute, the creditor’s internal investigation must be conducted within 30 or 45 days; they must also provide you with their reasonable procedure and an address where you can send your written dispute. Failures to follow proper dispute procedures may constitute FCRA violations.
Discuss The Details of a Willful or Negligent FCRA Violation with an Experienced Debt Resolution Attorney to Plan Your Strategy
Different types of damages or penalties may apply for willful or negligent violations. If you believe you have experienced any of these violations or want to work with an experienced FCRA attorney, don’t search for a “debt lawyer near me.” The Debt Defenders at Ciment Law Firm, PLLC, will help you identify and resolve your credit or debt issues.
Contact us today at (833) 779-9993 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced debt relief attorney with The Debt Defenders. We can help you with your credit strategy, regardless of whether you have a valid FCRA violation case. No matter what your credit issue is, we have an option for you.
At The Debt Defenders, we apply our experience and knowledge to assist clients with various debt issues and financial legal challenges. When you choose The Debt Defenders at Ciment Law Firm, we will immediately get you on the right track with our proven three-step process that helps you resolve your debts, protect your rights, and rebuild your credit.
In Step 1, we resolve your debts. Depending on your unique circumstances, this could involve:
- Debt Lawsuit Defense
- Bankruptcy Protection
- Debt Protection Program
- Debt Assistance Program
- Bank Garnishment
- Student Loan Assistance
- Judgment Lien Release
In Step 2, we protect your rights.
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Texas Debt Collection Practices Act
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act
In Step 3, we rebuild your credit with 7 steps to a 720 Credit Score.
Learn more about each step and how our 3 Step Proven Process puts you on the path to financial stability.
Send us your Credit Karma report for a free claim review if your debts have been disputed, settled, or included in bankruptcy within the last year. Even if you didn’t use our firm for your original debt resolution case, you should still take advantage of our free claim review.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.