Credit Reporting Errors

Credit Report Crossword

The “Big Three” credit reporting bureaus have something of a monopoly on consumer credit reporting in the United States, and they sell these reports to creditors and others for a profit, regardless of the accuracy of the reports.  They do not like to spend the time and resources necessary to correct inaccurate information, especially when doing so requires them to spend time investigating reporting complaints.

As you may well know, your credit report contains virtually your entire credit history and plays a major role in everything from credit card approvals to home loans.  The accuracy of the items that are contained in your credit report is paramount, as a negative account can seriously impact your ability to get a loan or may end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in increased finance charges due to higher interest rates.

How to Handle Credit Report Errors

An error on a credit report can come from a variety of sources and may be placed there for many different reasons.  If you find out that an error is on one report, you should do the following:

  1. The first thing to check is the other reports!   Each year the law requires the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”), Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, to give everyone a copy of his or her credit report.  You can order a copy of these reports for free by filling out this form from the Federal Trade Commission and sending it to the CRAs.
  2. After getting the credit reports, write a dispute about each incorrect or incomplete credit account or item.  Make a copy of the letter and mail it via certified mail, return receipt requested, directly to the credit reporting agency that lists the incorrect information.  It doesn’t count if you simply send a dispute to the furnisher responsible for listing it.  Make sure to keep a copy of the signed letter you sent.  Try to attach to the letter any supporting documents you have that support your position that the item is incorrect.
  3. The CRAs are required to perform a “reasonable reinvestigation” of the disputed item.  If they send you any correspondence about the outcome of this investigation, keep it!  If they refuse to take it off, contact us for a free initial telephone consultation.

Suing Credit Bureaus

If a CRA fails or refuses to correct an error on your credit report, or if you have been harmed by a reporting error, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal consumer protection statute that provides strong legal remedies to consumers who have been victimized by negligent or willful credit reporting errors.

Before contacting us, please gather each and every document relating to the error in dispute, and every document relating to damages you have sustained as a result of the error, such as reduced credit lines from credit cards, letters denying you credit, etc.  Also, please get copies of every credit report that you have requested or received, or that anyone else has received (such as a bank, car dealer, or insurance agent).

We Can Help

Norris Law Firm, PLLC can help protect your rights, guide you through the later stages of the dispute process, and, if necessary, bring a claim in court to protect your legal rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  We can work with you to formulate a strategy to correct your reports and, if required to litigate your case, will accept it on a contingency basis, meaning our legal fees and your expenses are paid by the credit reporting agencies or furnishers if you recover damages for credit reporting errors.

Contact Us

While the FCRA contains strong remedies, it also establishes a fairly esoteric and confusing procedure to effectively dispute a credit reporting error.  At Norris Law Firm, PLLC, we can help guide you through the process and protect your rights in the event that you have to ultimately litigate your dispute.  Contact us today for a free initial telephone consultation.

 

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RALEIGH
1033 Bullard Court, Suite 207
Raleigh, NC 27615
Phone:  (919) 981-447
Fax:  (919) 926-1676
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