Credit Repair Laws
Laws that Protect the Consumer
Due to the high volume of complaints regarding credit report errors, the government has enacted specific laws to protect the consumer and has established certain policies and procedures for bureaus and creditors to follow.
The two most comprehensive pieces of legislation, which also contain the most protection, are the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). These acts hold bureaus and creditors legally responsible for all claims they make against the consumer.
The FCRA states that all information on a credit report must be ACCURATE, TIMELY, and VERIFIABLE in order for it to legally remain on a report. If an item does not meet this criterion, the consumer is allowed to dispute it. The bureaus and creditors are given 30 days to provide adequate and documented evidence to verify the information. If the item cannot be verified, it must be removed. Credit bureaus do not verify information before placing it on a credit report. This alone could result in 40% of your credit report being inaccurate in one way or another.
Considering the lucrative profit the bureaus make by selling our information over and over, we are merely asking them to do their job by making sure what they are selling is accurate, timely, and verifiable.
We, here, at Legacy Legal, believe in our constitution, which states that the client is innocent until proven guilty; unlike the bureaus, who seem to believe that the consumer is guilty until proven innocent.
Basic Rights of the FCRA:
- The right to know if information in your file has been used against you: If anyone uses information from a credit reporting agency (CRA) to take action against you (e.g., denial of credit, insurance, employment) they must notify you and provide the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that supplied the consumer report.
- The right to know what is in your file: Upon request, CRAs must disclose file information and lists of everyone who has requested it within recent months.
- The right to dispute inaccurate information with credit reporting agencies: When you notify a CRA of inaccuracies on your report, the agency must investigate the items within thirty days, unless the dispute is frivolous.
- The right to have inaccurate information corrected or deleted: If adverse information cannot be verified, the CRA must correct or remove the information, usually within thirty days of the initial dispute.
- The right to dispute inaccurate information with the creditor: When you notify a creditor that you are disputing an item, the creditor cannot report it to the CRA without including a notice of your dispute. Additionally, once you have begun the dispute process, the creditor cannot continue to report the discrepancy.
- The right for outdated information to be deleted from your credit report: CRAs do not have the right to report negative information that is more than seven years old, and bankruptcies that are more than ten years old.
- The right to privacy: The CRA can only provide information to those who are recognized by the FCRA as having a need to view the information, such as a creditor or landlord. Reports provided to employers (including prospective employers) or that contain medical information cannot be dispensed without your written consent.
- The right to privacy also includes consumers being able to exclude their name from a CRA list for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. These offers must include a toll-free number where consumers can request to have their name and address removed from future lists. The exclusion is only good for two years. To be excluded from lists indefinitely, you must request a mail list exclusion form provided by the CRA.
- The right to seek damages from violators: If anyone violates the statutes of the FCRA, you may sue them in a state or federal court. Many different federal agencies are given authority to enforce the FCRA.
The bureaus and creditors violate these rights everyday. However, they will do what they can to maintain their innocence and frustrate the consumer's efforts to right the wrong. Even though the bureaus give instructions on how to dispute items; they even provide a section on their website to dispute on-line, they do not like disputes. In fact, they detest them. It is costly of their time and resources to verify information. They have many different strategies to discourage consumers from disputing.
Here's where Legacy comes in. We simply require the bureaus and creditors to uphold the law and will hold them responsible for violating any aspect of federal law. When violations occur, the bureaus and creditors are required to remove the negative item from your report. We're here to make sure that happens.
To learn more about the FCRA and FDCPA go to http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpajump.htm
See the Credit Repair Act.