For employers, background checks are some of the most important elements of the hiring process. Companies like Accurate offer comprehensive background check services, ensuring that organizations only hire employees that fit their requirements.
But what if you fit those requirements, yet are still denied a job because of a supposed background check error? In that case, you might have legal options. Read on to discover how Fair Credit can help you fight back against Accurate background check errors and more.
Accurate Background is a background-checking company that offers fast, automated, and comprehensive background checks for potential employees. At the time of this writing, it offers its services to both fortune 500 companies, such as Amazon, and much smaller enterprises.
Accurate began in 1997 and services clients such as Cheesecake Factory, Ross, and Sephora. It's well known in the retail and restaurant industries, so if you apply for a job in one of these industries, odds are that your background check will be completed by Accurate or one of its contemporaries.
Accurate offers a very well-rounded, comprehensive background check service for all of its clients. This includes checking for information like:
Depending on which job you apply to, and what the company wants to double-check for its job candidates, your Accurate background check may or may not include all of this information. However, Accurate can make a mistake in any part of this process. The more information Accurate checks, the more likely it is that it makes one or more errors that can compromise your ability to get hired.
Furthermore, Accurate can check the backgrounds of employees that are already employed by an organization. This is sometimes necessary when determining whether an employee is a good candidate for a promotion. Other companies require regular background checks as part of their corporate policies.
Yes. Even though Accurate is an experienced background-checking company, it can and does make background check errors from time to time.
For example, Accurate may investigate your background when you apply for a new job in the restaurant industry. However, it gets back to your prospective employer and claims that you have a criminal background, despite you never having been convicted of a crime.
When you investigate, you determine that Accurate accidentally mistook your identity for someone with a similar name and who did have a criminal background. As a result, you lose your opportunity to get that job and may have grounds for a lawsuit later.
Other common mistakes that Accurate can make when completing background checks include:
Any of these potential errors can have a massive negative effect on your job search. That's why it's important to carefully read through any adverse action letters you receive to double-check them for inaccurate, erroneous, or outdated information in any context.
If Accurate makes a mistake during the background check, you could see several negative consequences.
First and foremost, you might not receive a job offer that you may otherwise be qualified for. If you fail a background check, the rest of your qualifications, like your education or job experience, don’t really matter in the eyes of employers. In this way, an Accurate background check mistake can have a real and tangible impact on your life.
However, an Accurate background check mistake can also cause you to lose your current job if your employer requires regular background checks or ongoing background checks, especially for promotions. This can throw you into financial disarray and cause quite an upset in your life.
In addition, if Accurate’s background check errors persist, it could cause an employment gap as you look for a new job. That can also make getting a job harder than average. Many employers will want detailed explanations for employment gaps, even if they aren’t truly your fault.
Given these consequences, it’s a good idea to think about filing a dispute claim against Accurate or credit bureaus depending on what your claim involves.
If Accurate finishes a background check on your person with erroneous information, you need to know your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. The FCRA ensures that every American citizen has certain rights and privileges regarding their credit and background information.
For example, the FCRA states that every citizen has the right to fair and accurate credit information, in addition to the right to dispute inaccurate credit information whenever they like. They also have the right to retrieve a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus once per year, allowing citizens to keep an eye on their credit scores and credit information as it develops.
Whenever you’re denied employment, insurance, a loan, or any other financial opportunity on the basis of credit information, you are obligated to receive an adverse action letter. The adverse action letter will include:
More importantly, most adverse action letters will include one or more reasons why your claim, application, or loan was denied (though this is not mandated by the FCRA – it’s a courtesy most companies offer). For instance, if you were denied because of information detected in your background check, your adverse action letter may include that piece of data.
Once you know this, you can dive deep into the data that allegedly caused you to lose out on your job or loan offer and determine whether the information is accurate. If it’s not, you can then take steps to resolve the matter.
Accurate, like all other background-checking agencies, allows individuals to file dispute claims against them.
A dispute claim essentially tells Accurate that you disagree with their background check on the basis of inaccurate information. Accurate allows you to do this online or by physical mail. In either case, you’ll open a dispute claim and provide Accurate with documents and other substantiating information backing up your argument.
This can include updated credit records, proof of employment or address at a different area than Accurate claimed, etc. It all depends on the circumstances of your case.
The important thing is that Accurate has 30 days upon receiving your dispute to investigate the issue. If you claim that you don’t have a criminal background and Accurate made a mistake, it has to check out that claim within a month, then get back to you within another five days.
If Accurate finds an error, it is legally obligated under the FCRA to fix its mistake as soon as it can. That way, the inaccurate information won’t continue to affect your job hunt, loan search, or other endeavors.
In the event that Accurate finds an error and agrees that the information is inaccurate, but then does not correct the matter, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you think that Accurate has made a mistake with your background check, remember that you do have options. Specifically, you can file a dispute with Accurate or with one of the credit bureaus depending on the details of your case.
Whenever you think there’s a background check error, you should first contact the background check company responsible for the problem. In this case, that’s Accurate.
Accurate allows consumers to contact them about background check disputes online or by physical mail. In either case, you'll want to file a dispute claim with Accurate, explaining your problem with the background check info they provided and why it resulted in you losing a job opportunity.
Since Accurate is required under the FCRA to investigate any dispute claims within 30 days, you should receive a response relatively quickly. If Accurate discovers incorrect information per your claim, it should correct the issue and contact your prospective employer to explain what happened.
Your employer must send you an adverse action letter explaining where the background information came from. If you already know what the inaccurate information is, be sure to include that detail in your dispute claim so that Accurate’s agents can quickly look at the problem and verify what you say.
But what if Accurate or your employer aren't responsible for the inaccurate background info? For example, what if you have one or more duplicate and negative line items on your credit report, which cause your debt level to appear artificially high?
In that case, you’ll need to contact the three big credit bureaus or credit furnishers. Those organizations are responsible for supplying and organizing your credit information, so it may be wise to file a credit dispute letter.
Credit dispute letters are similar to background dispute letters. In them, you need to break down the incorrect information and request that it be fixed immediately. Provide as much substantiating information as possible to strengthen your claim.
After filing a dispute claim with Accurate, any inaccurate information should be corrected immediately. But if Accurate denies this, or if it doesn’t investigate your dispute claim, you have the right to file a lawsuit against Accurate per the regulations broken down under the FCRA.
Specifically, you should contact legal experts, like attorneys, to examine your options and strategies. For instance, knowledgeable lawyers will be able to recommend suing Accurate or some other organization depending on the specifics of your case. They may alternatively recommend pursuing arbitration or some other means of legal recourse.
Fair Credit’s law firm knows the ins and outs of the background check and credit dispute processes. In fact, we can help you prepare for either type of dispute, plus help you identify inaccurate information in a background check in the first place. We’ll put together a comprehensive, unique strategy that sets you up for success.
If you win a lawsuit against Accurate, you could recover damages to compensate you for lost employment opportunities, attorneys’ fees, and other costs associated with a lawsuit. Just remember that suing Accurate immediately isn’t the way to go. You should always contact Accurate and try to settle the matter through a dispute claim before breaking out the law in response.
Accurate can make mistakes when it comes to background checks. If that happens to you, remember to exercise your rights under the FCRA to dispute those errors. In the best-case scenarios, you can get another shot at a job that you were previously denied. Contact Fair Credit to see how we can help you find and fix credit-specific errors on your credit report.