Irvine Fair Credit Reporting Act Attorneys
Keeping Your Credit File Accurate and Private
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides protections for individuals concerning information collected and disseminated by consumer reporting agencies. You have various rights under the FCRA to ensure that the details in your file are accurate. Still, violations can occur, such as deceased reports, identity theft, mixed files, and failure to investigate. The errors can affect your ability to get a loan, rent a home, or qualify for other opportunities where decisions are based, at least partly, on the information in your credit report. Fortunately, you can pursue remedies to get inaccurate information corrected or removed to eliminate barriers that might be causing you challenges.
For help with issues concerning the information in your credit report, reach out to Guardian Litigation Group, LLP. Our FCRA lawyers in Irvine stand ready to help clients expose and remedy violations and other issues affecting their credit. Each year, we handle thousands of cases involving consumers’ rights. Backed by extensive experience and a thorough understanding of the laws and procedures required to address problems, we can pursue just solutions to fix errors on your credit report.
What Is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
Consumer reporting agencies, such as Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and other organizations, collect and maintain files about your credit history. When you apply for a loan, home, job, insurance, or other opportunities, the company you are applying to may run a credit check to determine your eligibility. The final decision is based partly on what’s in your financial history.
The FCRA is a federal law regulating how consumer reporting agencies collect your information, who they disseminate it to, and who can use it. It also establishes various protections for consumers to help them control and correct the details in their files.
What Protections Are Covered by the FCRA?
The FCRA provides consumers with various rights to ensure that their information is accurate and kept private.
The protections include the right to:
- Be notified of information used against you: If a company declines your application because of the details in your credit report, it must tell you that adverse action was taken. The organization must give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that supplied the information.
- Get the information in your credit files: You can request that the consumer reporting agencies disclose the details they have about you. The agency must provide the file to you without charge if a company took adverse action against you, you were the victim of identity theft, inaccuracies are in your file because of fraud, you’re on public assistance, or you’re unemployed and will be looking for work within the next 60 days.
- Receive your credit scores: The consumer reporting agencies assign a numerical value to your credit based on your financial history. The score can affect the terms of loans or credit. You can ask to see what yours is.
- Challenge inaccuracies: If a consumer reporting agency’s file on you contains inaccurate, incomplete, or unverified information, you can dispute it. Upon receiving your request, the agency should conduct a reasonable investigation.
- Ensure your credit information is current: Consumer reporting agencies cannot release out-of-date information about you. Generally, that means financial data more than 7 years old or bankruptcies more than 10 years old.
- Limit access to your file: Consumer reporting agencies can only release information to companies with a valid need. For instance, if a creditor or landlord needs the data to consider your application.
- Give consent for employer searches: Your express authorization is needed before a consumer reporting agency can give your file to a current or potential employer.
- Place a security freeze: You can require that consumer reporting agencies contact you before giving out your information to requesting companies.
For a more detailed explanation of your rights, please speak with our FCRA lawyers in Irvine.
What Are Some Common FCRA Cases?
FCRA cases typically arise when credit report information is not fair or accurate or when a consumer reporting agency neglects its duties.
Common issues include, but are not limited to:
- Deceased client: This may involve a mistaken report that an individual is deceased, causing application denials. It can also include cases where a person has passed away, yet creditors are contacting surviving loved ones to satisfy debts. Those affected by either situation can request that creditors update the information in their files or block collectors from calling.
- Identity theft: This occurs when an individual uses someone else's personal identifying details (such as name, Social Security Number, or date of birth) without consent to obtain credit. Victims can place a fraud alert in their files and request that consumer reporting agencies correct the information.
- Mixed file: A file is considered “mixed” when a consumer reporting agency comingles the file of one person with that of another. For example, mistakenly adding negative credit details to someone’s file because their last name is the same as the person with the bad credit.
- Failure to investigate dispute: When a consumer finds and reports inaccuracies in their file, the consumer reporting agency must reasonably investigate the issue and correct or remove the information. An agency that does not do this has violated provisions of the FCRA.
Call Guardian Litigation Group, LLP
If the information in your credit report is incorrect or a consumer reporting agency has violated your rights, discuss your case with one of our FCRA attorneys in Irvine. We can take necessary action to seek to have the issue fixed.