For those learning about their credit protections, rights, and regulations, the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, or just FCRA, is one of the most crucial pieces of legislation for consumers. It safeguards consumer rights in the context of the information stored in other files at each of the 3 major credit bureaus. Specifically, Section 623 of the FCRA has significant implications for the consumers it covers and the creditors and bureaus that it regulates.
We’re going to take an in-depth look at what Section 623 is, and what its key points mean for consumers. We’ll also cover how you can leverage it to ensure accurate and fair credit reporting, now and in the future. If you find that, despite best efforts, Section 623 simply isn’t ensuring your credit report inaccuracies are being addressed, you may be in a position to take legal action.
If that’s the case, there’s a resource we’ll mention at the end that can serve as a powerful legal advocate in credit or FCRA-related matters.
Section 623 of the FCRA sets forth the responsibilities of “furnishers of information”. This may sound nebulous, but furnishers of information are simply entities that provide information to the credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These furnishers can be banks, utility companies, lenders, or even landlords.
These furnishers of information are legally required to follow specific guidelines when providing information to the credit bureaus, to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data that populates the consumer’s credit report.
Furnishers of information must create and implement reasonable measures and processes to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information they are providing to the credit bureaus. This includes providing accurate, and complete, information on their credit history, payment history, outstanding debts, and credit limits.
When a consumer files a dispute about an item on their credit report, the furnisher of the information is obligated to investigate the dispute within 30 days. If the investigation determines that the information that was reported is incomplete or incorrect, that furniture is required to let the credit bureau know, and the information must be corrected immediately or removed entirely, from the credit report.
When a consumer thinks that they may be the victim of fraud or identity theft, they can place either an “initial” or an “extended” fraud alert on their credit report. Furnishers must have policies in place to ensure they do not furnish information related to or resulting from that identity theft.
When a consumer dies, furnishers of information are required to report the account as “deceased” to the credit bureaus. This is a measure intended to help permanently establish the closure of a particular consumer’s credit file. This is a way of preventing posthumous identity theft.
Furnishers of information are required to provide very clear and conspicuous notice to the consumer before reporting any negative information to the credit bureaus. This notice must be sent to the individual at least 30 days before the planned reporting of the negative item.
The primary way Section 623 protects consumers is by putting in place safeguards against inaccurate and unfair credit reporting. With the requirement that furnishers maintain complete and accurate information, it is easier for consumers to help maintain their credit reports, as well as easier to ensure that those credit reports accurately reflect their particular credit history. This is critical for being approved for loans, opening new credit cards, and even gaining employment in many cases.
Also, Section 623 helps to empower the average consumer by giving them the right to dispute any inaccuracies they find on their credit reports. This allows consumers to help hold furnishers of information accountable for their reporting practices, while also ensuring that any errors or inaccuracies are promptly addressed and either corrected or removed.
To make the most of the protections Section 623 affords them, consumers should:
Generally, when there are inaccuracies on a credit report, the consumer can find satisfaction by filing a dispute with the credit bureau that is reporting the inaccuracy. However, there are some instances where a particular consumer may exhaust all of the other avenues for resolution, with the furnisher of the information still failing to fulfill its obligations under Section 623.
In cases like this, it may be time to consider legal action. Working with a knowledgeable and experienced legal advocate like Fair Credit can help consumers navigate the often complex landscape of FCRA Section 623 lawsuits, and help them clear their credit inaccuracies.
Section 623 is one of the most vital components of the entire FCRA, and the accuracy and integrity that it legally ensures means you should be able to expect only the highest degree of privacy and protection. By understanding the subtleties of how Section 623 affects furnishers of information and the protections that it provides for the average consumer, consumers are in a much better position to keep their credit reports accurate.
If you find that you’ve gone through all of the proper channels, submitting dispute after dispute, only to have them ignored or put on the back burner, you may have grounds to seek a legal remedy. Fair Credit specializes in credit and FCRA-related litigation and is ready to act as your advocate when dealing with companies or credit bureaus that continually violate your rights. Reach out today to learn more and to get started.