First Advantage Background Check Errors? We Help You Fight Back

Last Updated:
April 11, 2023

Whatever you apply for a new job, odds are you’ll have to submit to a background check. Companies like First Advantage offer background check services for many different companies across industries. While First Advantage normally collects and organizes accurate information, it can and does make mistakes from time to time.

If you believe your First advantage background check has one or more errors, you have rights as an American consumer and can dispute that erroneous information. Read on to learn what you can do to fight back against inaccurate background check info and how Fair Credit can assist.

What is First Advantage?

First Advantage Background Services Corporation is one of the most popular background screening services across industries. To date, First Advantage has serviced over 35,000 organizations around the world, particularly rental companies and landlords. It has offices in 14 countries and 26 distinct locations. Because of its variety of clients, First Advantage performs around 71 million background screenings per year.

Therefore, First Advantage handles a lot of sensitive personal information and plays an important role in employment decisions for many different people. First Advantage has a big responsibility, but it sometimes makes mistakes that can cost individuals job offers or jobs that they’ve already secured.

Information Included in a First Advantage Background Check

First Advantage provides very comprehensive background check information to its clients. Not every client will take full advantage of each element of the background check, but many do. First Advantage’s background check information includes:

  • Info on a candidate or applicant’s sex offender registry status (i.e., if they are on it)
  • Criminal background checks at the state, national, federal, and county levels
  • A search on the Global Watchlist
  • Civil checks at the federal and county levels
  • National and international employment and education checks (e.g., First Advantage checks to see whether a job applicant really has a degree that they claim to have on their job application)
  • Personal and professional reference checks – First Advantage will call references to see if a job applicant really did do well at their previous position, for instance
  • Driving record checks, including checks for DUI convictions or for speeding tickets and similar issues
  • Drug screening checks
  • Credit checks from all three of the credit bureaus
  • Social media activity searches
  • Social Security number tracing to check for identity theft and identity fraud
  • License and credential authentication in certain professional industries

First Advantage looks for a lot of information. However, that also means that its background check agents can make mistakes in many different areas.

What if Your First Advantage Background Check Has Errors?

First Advantage has a lot of experience in the credit and background check industry, but it’s not infallible. If your First Advantage background check has errors, those errors can affect your employment prospects, your financial flexibility and opportunities, and other things.

Consequences of First Advantage Background Check Errors

First Advantage background check errors can have severe consequences for you or others.

Say that you want to apply for a new apartment, but the landlord requires a background check. That's a fairly standard requirement, and you happily submit to the background check without worrying about an issue.

However, the landlord responds after your background check completes, stating that there’s evidence of a criminal background. You know that you’ve never committed a crime, but the First Advantage background check turned up evidence of criminal convictions regardless. Because of this, you lose out on the opportunity to get that apartment you’ve been eyeing.

First Advantage background check errors can also affect employment prospects. For example, if you apply for a new job, and the company uses First Advantage for its background screening needs, a First Advantage background check error could prevent you from getting the job even if you are otherwise qualified.

Similarly, if you are hired by a new company, but the company performs a standard background check on most of its new employees within the first few months of work, you could lose your job or the chance of a promotion if First Advantage makes a mistake. For instance, if you are up for a promotion, but First Advantage tells your employer that you failed a recent drug screening, you may not get the raise you and your family need.

In these cases and more, First Advantage’s inattention to detail or other background check errors can make a real negative difference in the lives of individuals. If you believe that First Advantage made a background check error that cost you in some way, you could have grounds for a lawsuit or other legal action. 

Common First Advantage Background Check Errors

Despite being a supposed expert in the background check industry, First Advantage has been known to make certain background check errors for job candidates, apartment and mortgage applicants, and more. These common errors include:

  • Typos in reports
  • Listing multiple entries for one criminal offense, one bill, or one debt
  • Listing incorrect data for original background check documents, like inaccurate credit report data
  • Including expunged criminal records
  • Providing corrupted files
  • Getting mixed up by identity theft (e.g., providing a prospective employer with criminal history information for someone other than yourself but who shares a similar name)
  • Providing outdated or negative background information
  • Making mistakes in the search, filing, and copy processes

Furthermore, First Advantage may present outdated information that can affect your job prospects. For example, any bankruptcies older than 14 years can’t be used unless the screening is being performed in connection with a credit transaction of $50,000 or more (or similar financial transactions). In essence, if information about a bankruptcy older than 14 years is used on a background check for a job application, it’s irrelevant.

Any of these errors can cause you to be denied for an apartment, a home, a job, or a promotion. Therefore, it’s important to jump on any potential errors and get them corrected as quickly as possible.

What to Do if a First Advantage Background Check Costs You a Job

As an American consumer, you have certain rights that you can exercise if First Advantage costs you a job or some other opportunity, like an apartment.

Your Rights as a Consumer Under the FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA outlines the regulations and rights related to the credit and background information industry. In a nutshell, all consumers:

  • Have the right to accurate background information, which can be used for apartment applications, job applications, etc.
  • Have the right to dispute inaccurate background information. For instance, if you discover inaccurate information in your credit report, you have the right to dispute that information and get it corrected immediately
  • Have the right to know if they were denied for a job, apartment or other opportunity on the basis of credit background information

Information about an opportunity denial should be provided in an adverse action letter. Each adverse action letter includes:

  • Information about where the landlord or background check company got the information that resulted in the denial. For instance, if you are denied an apartment because of a low credit score, the adverse action letter will tell you which credit bureau provided the credit score
  • The contact information for the background screening company and for any other relevant organizations, like credit bureaus or credit furnishers

In addition, many adverse actions letters include up to five reasons for why you were denied the opportunity in question. This isn’t required by the FCRA, but it’s a courtesy many companies provide to job or apartment applicants.

The adverse action letter can be frustrating and disheartening, but it’s actually a powerful tool. With the information in your adverse action letter, you can immediately identify inaccurate information and take steps to correct it.

How Can Fair Credit Help?

As experienced background check and credit check mistake lawyers, our law firm has the expertise and focus you need to successfully file a lawsuit against First Advantage when they make a mistake on your background check.

With Fair Credit, you’ll be able to ensure that First Advantage fixes any inaccurate information it may have provided to a potential employer. Our lawyers can also advise you about the likelihood of winning a lawsuit. Lawsuits can provide you with damages to compensate you for lost job opportunities, lost loans and much more.

Unlike larger law firms, Fair Credit is a specialized in boutique agency that will treat your case with the attention and focus it deserves. In addition, Fair Credit can help you identify whether any inaccurate information was the cause of a job or loan denial. We know all about the common mistakes that background check agencies can make regarding identity confusion, credit scores, and much more.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation and more information about how we can help.

Disputing a First Advantage Background Check 

Your first step to disputing any First Advantage background check or inaccurate information is to contact First Advantage itself. As a professional credit screening service, First Advantage knows your rights as an American consumer and knows that it has to correct any errors that you bring to its attention. You can dispute inaccurate background check information in four different ways: by phone, fax, email, or by physical mail.

In any case, each of these methods will require you to file a dispute claim (or dispute letter). In the dispute claim, you should include all the information you have about the erroneous information, like erroneous credit information, erroneous criminal background information, etc. State that you want First Advantage to look into the issue and correct the inaccurate information at the earliest opportunity.

Under the FCRA, First Advantage has 30 days upon receiving your complaint to investigate the issue and correct any inaccurate information. If First Advantage does discover inaccurate information, it has to tell you that within five business days. There’s one exception to this; if First Advantage requests more information to further its investigation, it has 15 extra days upon receiving that information from you.

Still, filing a dispute claim with First Advantage should see the inaccurate information corrected within 2 to 6 weeks on average. That may not be enough time for you to at the apartment or job you originally wanted, but at least you’ll know that the inaccurate information won’t affect you in the future. 

Filing a Lawsuit Against First Advantage

But what if First Advantage decides not to correct any inaccurate information or disputes your claim that the information is erroneous in the first place? Under the FCRA, you still have rights.

Specifically, you can file a lawsuit against First Advantage. That’s because First Advantage’s mistakes have directly cost you in some way, be it in a job opportunity, an apartment or home opportunity, or something else. If your lawsuit is successful, you could recover monetary damages to compensate you for those losses.

That said, you’ll want to file a lawsuit against First Advantage with the assistance of knowledgeable legal representatives, such as Fair Credit’s lawyers. The right legal representatives can break down your options and help you understand the lawsuit process from start to finish, which can get quite complex.

Furthermore, they'll be able to recommend whether a lawsuit is the wisest course of action given the specifics of your case. Lawsuits can take a long time to settle, and they are never guaranteed wins. Even if you win, the damages you may recover may not be worth the fees you'll have to pay in the meantime.

Bottom line: if you want to file a lawsuit against First Advantage, be sure to speak to attorneys first through a free consultation before paying any money or signing any contracts. 

Wrap Up

When you submit to a First Advantage background check, you have the right to ensure that any information they provide to companies is accurate and up-to-date. If you discover erroneous information in your background check, you can dispute that information with Fair Credit’s help. Contact us today to learn more.

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