In a perfect world, one’s credit report would include only accurate information. It would never list defaults stemming from identity theft, nor would it include debts not owned by the individual for whom the report was created for. Moreover, it would never be shared without one’s permission. However, this is not a perfect world, and unfortunately, any of these situations could happen to you. That’s why the law creates avenues for consumers to right these wrongs, ones which are best explored with guidance from a consumer protection attorney in Miami.
Know Your Rights
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects consumers from the aforementioned behaviors by outlining the rights they hold in regards to credit reporting. These rights include:
- The right to know what information the credit report contains | Consumers are entitled to one free credit report every year and should check it regularly for inaccuracies.
- The right to know when your credit report is checked | If an employer, lender, or another company wishes to use your credit report in order to make a decision pertaining to you, you must first provide express consent.
- The right to dispute information | If information on your credit report is inaccurate, incomplete or outdated, you can dispute it with the agency that reported it. Your claims must then be properly investigated, and if proven, the information must be removed.
- The right to damages | If these rights are violated, you can sue for retribution.
When these rights are infringed upon, there are steps consumers can take to seek justice.
How to Handle Violations
It is important to note that some issues can be prevented before they even arise. For instance, if you are the victim of identity theft, you should take the necessary steps to keep inaccurate information from appearing on your report. That said, in the event that your credit report is deemed to contain inaccurate, unlawful, incomplete, or outdated information, the first step to take is to file a dispute. If a dispute with the credit reporting agency proves to be unsatisfactory, you can then dispute the matter with the creditor or collections agency that reported the information in the first place. Should the dispute be unsuccessful, you can request that the matter be reinvestigated. However, even then there is the chance the creditor will refuse to remove it.
Following unsuccessful disputes, you have the right to require that the credit reporting agency include a summary of “your side” of the story within your credit report. This can make a major difference in the event that your report needs to be screened for employment or lending purposes. You can also report violations of the FCRA directly to the Federal Trade Commission. Finally, it may be advisable to explore options for seeking damages. Damages can also be sought if the violation stems from the furnishing of your credit report without your consent. The presence of wrongfully displayed information can have detrimental effects on your future, and it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether you have a case.
Do you believe you are the victim of unfair credit reporting? If so, it may be time to contact a consumer protection attorney in Miami. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team so that we can begin seeking justice, together.