Your credit report is critical to your life and holds the information that determines whether or not you’re able to get loans, credit cards, and more. It governs every aspect of your financial life, and can even be used in housing and employment deliberations. The impact of false information on your credit report can be intensely detrimental.
We’re going to look at the process of identifying and addressing false credit reporting, up to and including filing a lawsuit to protect your rights if needed.
To best understand false credit reporting, you should understand how the errors in credit reports occur in the first place, as well as what the consequences are of those false reports.
The most common errors that occur in credit reports include:
When false credit reporting occurs, there is an increased risk of financial stress due to the results. The results of false credit reporting can lead to:
If you’re learning about credit health, the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 is one of the most essential cornerstones of that education. The FCRA is a federal law that was enacted to protect consumers by promoting accuracy, fairness, and privacy concerning the collection, dissemination, and general use of the information recorded in consumer credit reports.
The FCRA also functions to provide accountability, holding credit bureaus and furnishers of information accountable for ensuring the information is all accurate and up to date.
There are several rights that the FCRA outlines for consumers. They include:
There’s a lot to do before beginning legal action against a credit bureau or information furnisher. When you partner with an experienced consumer credit attorney they will often give you guidance on anything you need to do before filing the lawsuit, but here are some things to consider doing beforehand:
One of the first things you should be ready to do is to obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three main bureaus. You are entitled to one free report every 12 months, which you can get from the official Annual Credit Report site, or you can use apps like CreditKarma to monitor your credit reports daily.
Review all of your credit reports carefully, noting and highlighting any discrepancies, inaccuracies, or errors that you find. Document the errors, and begin gathering evidence that will support your assertions, such as account statements, payment records, and identification records and documents.
For each error or inaccuracy you find, you will need to submit a formal dispute to the credit bureau that is reporting the inaccurate information. You will need to provide them with a clear explanation of the error, supporting evidence, and a request to correct or remove the inaccurate information.
If the information is being reported incorrectly to the credit bureaus, you may find it more productive to initiate the dispute process with the original creditor or lender.
Sometimes you’ll find it necessary to escalate the dispute if the bureau fails to correct the information or fails to remove the inaccurate information following a dispute. If you’re encountering this, you may be forced to open disputes with anyone else who has handled the account, such as the original creditor, creditors, lenders, and even collection agencies. They are all required to provide accurate information as information furnishers under the FCRA.
If you’ve gone through all of the usual correction and dispute measures, and the false credit reporting still hasn’t been resolved, it may be time to start considering filing a lawsuit. Here are some general guidelines for understanding when it’s time for legal action, and how to take that action effectively.
Knowing when to file a lawsuit is one of the most important things. You should consider seeking legal remedies if:
Consult with an attorney experienced in consumer law, and who specializes in credit reporting and FCRA violations, like Fair Credit. They will be uniquely equipped to help you determine if you have a viable case and will help guide you through the entire legal process. Before making any decision, be sure you do some research, seek recommendations, read online reviews, and more.
When you partner with a credit repair attorney, they will work closely with you to gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for damages. This will commonly include:
False credit reporting can have a severe negative impact on your financial well-being and overall quality of life. By understanding your rights under the FCRA and following the steps we’ve outlined for you here, you’ll be able to take more effective action to get your credit report inaccuracies resolved. After other avenues of resolution have been exhausted, you may decide that a lawsuit is needed to get your credit report fixed.
At this important stage, working with Fair Credit can help you take effective legal action to rectify the situation and restore your credit reputation. Reach out today to get started.