The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that dictates how your personal and financial information may be used by other people and agencies. Its main goals are to protect the privacy of your credit information, ensure the accuracy of your credit report, and to provide a basis for suing Consumer Reporting Agencies when your rights as a consumer have been violated.
FCRA protects consumers from unlawful use of information by:
Creditors. Your creditors are responsible for supplying financial information about your lines of credit and payment history to credit reporting agencies. As this information can greatly impact your ability to be approved for future loans, employment, and other opportunities, creditors are required to ensure the accuracy of the information they pass on. If they supply inaccurate information to a credit bureau, the are responsible for correcting the mistake. They must also notify you if they have sent any credit information to a reporting agency that could have a negative impact on you.
Reporting agencies. Any Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or credit bureau must give you access to your own credit report, correct any inaccurate information within 30 (or 45) days of receiving a dispute regarding the error, and release your information only to those who have a legitimate purpose. If a CRA continues to report misinformation about you, you may be entitled to correction of your report and payment of damages and attorneys' fees.
Users. If a lender, creditor, or any other person has accessed your credit report and denied your request for credit, he or she is required to notify you of the information that was used in the decision, as well as provide the name, address, and phone number of the agency that gave him or her the information.
How to Take Action for Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
If you think that someone misused your credit information, or you even think you might have inaccuracies on your credit report, you should investigate and personally and properly dispute each and every item with both the credit bureaus AND the creditors who furnished the information.
Don't do it online because you won't have the evidence necessary if it turns out that you need to file a lawsuit later on!
To see the bare basics of how disputing works, check out the Federal Trade Commission website,
To get more info on how to dispute for maximum effectiveness and to build a good case (if necessary) check out the benefits of owning The Ultimate Credit Clean-Up Machine! (hint: you need to know a little more about what constitutes "inaccurate" in order to achieve quality results)