When you are trying to repair your credit, you need to know your rights under the credit reporting laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law when dealing with the credit reporting companies and other lenders. When you are tackling your credit score, you need to know your rights under the law. This is your Bill of Rights for Your Credit Report.
You Have the Right to a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
Under the credit reporting laws, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months. This applies to each of the three major credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
You can get all three copies at once, or you can stagger each one out over the 12 month period. Read my previous post Getting All 3 Credit Reports for a step by step guide on getting your reports for free.
You Have the Right to Dispute Wrong and Inaccurate Information
If you find inaccurate information in your credit report, the law gives you the right to dispute that information. Once you dispute the information, the credit reporting agency must investigate your claim unless it is frivolous.
According to the FTC, one in five people find errors on their reports. Read my previous post Wrong Information on Credit Report – Finding Common Errors for another step by step guide on how to search for errors on your credit report.
Once you have collected a list of errors, follow through by filing disputes with the credit reporting agency.
You Have the Right to Have Wrong Information Corrected
Once an error has been found and investigated, any inaccurate information must be removed from your credit report. This must be done within 30 days usually.
You also have a right to another copy of your credit report to make sure that the error has been corrected by the credit reporting company.
You Have the Right to Control Who Views Your Credit Report
Your credit report can only be disclosed to people with a valid need, like lenders. Your credit report cannot be disclosed to an employer or a potential employer without your consent.
You may also block lenders who prescreen credit scores before making offers of credit. To limit those views of your credit information, call 1-888-567-8688.
You Have the Right to Have Out of Date Information Removed from your Credit Report
Negative credit information can only be listed on your credit report for seven years. Bankruptcy proceedings can remain on your report for 10 years.
If you review your credit report and find old information, that out of date information needs to be removed.
You Have the Right to be Told When Information from your Credit Report has been Used Against You
If you are denied credit, insurance or a job because of information from your credit report, the credit reporting laws require that you be notified. This also applies in any situation where your credit report resulted in any negative action taken against you.
The law requires that you be provided with the name of the credit reporting company that provided the negative information. They are also required to provide you with the address and phone number of such agency.
You Have the Right to Sue in State and Federal Courts
If a credit reporting company violates any of your rights under the FCRA, you have the right to file a lawsuit in State or Federal court seeking damages. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in charge of enforcing the law. You can contact the FTC with your complaints and concerns.
Also know that many states have their own set of consumer protection laws that may give you more rights. Check for state consumer protection agencies in your area.
The Bottom Line: Know the Basics of the Credit Reporting Laws
It is important to know that you have rights when you start to repair your credit report. While the credit reporting laws can be complicated, there are some very basic rights that are vital to getting your credit life straightened out.
Now that you have the knowledge, it should be easier to go out there and put in the work to clean up your credit. Let me know how it goes!
Have you used your rights under the FCRA? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!