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Fair Credit Reporting Act

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Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides individuals with a way to correct erroneous information and to pursue actions against credit agencies that violate a person’s rights.

Credit Reporting Errors Cause Problems Like:

  • Losing Financing on a Loan
  • Paying Higher Interest Rates on Credit Cards
  • Paying Increased Insurance Premiums on a House and Car
  • Losing Out on an Apartment Lease
  • Getting Turned Down for a Job
  • Dropping into a Lower Credit Tier

If You Have Filed for Bankruptcy and Think You Have Errors on Your Credit Report

  • Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and request your current credit report for free.
  • If you find errors, you must dispute the erroneous information to each credit reporting agency reporting the erroneous information. The dispute letter must be filed in writing. Please do not use the internet based dispute process that is available on credit reporting websites. You may follow this link for a sample dispute letter: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0384-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report
  • Send supporting documents with the dispute letters.
  • Keep copies of all the letters you send.
  • The credit reporting agencies have 30 days to respond and remove the errors.
  • If the errors are not removed and it caused you to lose financing, pay a higher interest rate on a loan, or remains/reappears on your credit report after the dispute, call the team at Sawin & Shea at 317-759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation.

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a law created in 1970 to ensure fairness and accuracy in credit reporting. It protects you from the negligent or willful provision of credit reporting information by credit reporting agencies (CRA’s) and the companies that provide information to these agencies. It protects the privacy and integrity of your credit information. The law provides for actual damages, attorney fees, court costs, and punitive damages for cases of willful violations. It is a good practice, especially for those who are in or just completed bankruptcy, to check their credit reports for errors.

What Do Credit Reporting Agencies Do?

The three largest CRA’s are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. CRA’s are responsible for capturing, updating, and storing most of the credit histories of U.S. consumers. They receive and disseminate your personal credit information to organizations like banks, mortgage lenders, and credit card companies. They also obtain data from court records like bankruptcy filings. These agencies supply your financial history to landlords, employers, or anyone making credit-based decisions about you.

Why is My FICO Credit Score Important?

Your FICO score is a predictive scoring system used by the CRA’s to determine a consumer’s credit risk. The higher the number, the better your chances of being approved for loans or credit cards. The three agencies may not have the same information on file, so your FICO score can vary slightly among them. Pull your FICO score at the same time from all three to make an accurate comparison.

Why Should I Check My Credit Reports After Completing Bankruptcy?

You should monitor your credit reports during and after a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing to make sure that creditors are reporting debts as discharged or paid off. Look for errors that list old debts as new or re-aged. Checking your report helps you see if information older than seven to 10 years is still being reported.

How Do I Get Errors Removed from My Credit Report?

To dispute erroneous information, make a request in writing. Inform the creditor about the issue and to stop reporting the error to the three credit reporting agencies. Follow-up with a letter to all three CRA’s to let them know you have addressed the situation. Both the creditor and credit reporting agencies are responsible for correcting the error promptly.

What if I Am Not Successful in Getting the Error Removed?

You should consult a lawyer. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea understand how to make the FCRA work for you. After going through bankruptcy and working so hard to clean up your financial record, it is essential that it reflect in your credit information. The FCRA guarantees you the right to sue a creditor or credit reporting agency, in Federal and State court, for damages to your credit history. Stop fighting an uphill battle to get your credit report corrected. Call the team at Sawin & Shea today at 317-759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.

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