What Is The Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy and accuracy of credit information about you. In general, the FCRA gives you rights, including the right to dispute information that shouldn't be there, to know why you were turned down for credit, to know what's in your credit file and to know your credit score, and to consent before your employer sees your credit report. Furthermore, before somebody can look at your full credit report, they have to have a valid reason, such as when you are applying for credit or leasing an apartment.

The FCRA protects your right to have accurate information on your credit report. If there is something on your credit report that shouldn't be there, call 888-339-3942 to speak with me, attorney SaraEllen Hutchison.

What's A Credit Reporting Agency?

Often called a "credit bureau," a "credit reporting agency" is not an arm of the government. It is a business that, for a fee, assembles and evaluates credit or other information about people for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. 15 U.S.C. §1681a.

Credit bureaus make money when creditors "subscribe" to the credit report to get the scoop on consumers.

What Is A Credit Report, And What Are The Credit Reporting Agencies' Obligations To Me Under The FCRA?

A "consumer report," sometimes called the "consumer disclosure" or most often, a "credit report," is any communication from a consumer reporting agency that speaks to a person's "creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living" used to establish a person's eligibility for "credit or insurance…for personal, family or household purposes, employment purposes or other authorized purposes." 15 U.S.C. §1681a.

A consumer reporting agency must, among other things, clearly and accurately disclose to you certain information on you in its files. If you dispute the information, the credit reporting agency must investigate it or delete it. A credit reporting agency also must disclose to you the recipients of consumer reports about you for employment purposes within the past two years, and any other purpose, within the past year, upon request. It also must give you a written summary of your rights under the FCRA. 15 U.S.C. §1681g.

A consumer reporting agency is obligated to follow reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of consumer information it reports. 15 U.S.C. §1681e(b). Unlike the FDCPA (discussed elsewhere on this site), the FCRA is not a strict liability statute, and if the credit reporting agency can establish that it did follow reasonable procedures to maintain maximum possible accuracy of your credit report, it isn't liable for the errors. If the credit reporting agency was negligent in violating the FCRA, it is liable for actual damages, costs and the consumer's attorney's fees. 15 U.S.C. §1681o. If its actions were willful, the consumer may get punitive damages against the credit reporting agency! 15 U.S.C. §1681n.

This Is All Legal Gibberish. Can You Help?

Yes! This is my job. I have extensive knowledge of the FCRA and have helped people bring lawsuits to clear their credit reports of misinformation. Arrange a consultation to learn more about how the FCRA protects you by calling 888-339-3942. You can also contact me online.