Your credit report has an extraordinary influence on your life.  It is used to determine whether you can get a new credit card, or financing for a new home, vehicle, or education.  It can also impact your ability to get a new job.

Unfortunately, there is a good chance that your credit report contains inaccurate information. In addition to undermining your good credit, an inaccurate report can even cause you to be charged higher interest on your credit cards, home and car, or to pay more for an insurance policy. You may be charged higher interest or pay more for an insurance policy.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies each year.

You can get your free credit reports from the centralized request service by:

  • Going to www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Calling 1-877-322-8228; or
  • Completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Services
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Everyone should  review his or her credit report annually to make sure that it is accurate and to get inaccurate information corrected before applying for a new job or requesting a new loan. Please contact us if you have a blemish on your credit report. Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s- which also refers to credit reporting agencies) have a duty to correct inaccurate information.

Examples of credit reporting errors are:

A. identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft is the most common consumer complaint filed with the FTC. Furnishers (creditors) and consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s) have a duty to investigate and correct inaccurate information on your credit report. You should write to the three major CRA’s and request that your credit record be corrected. You should use all available supporting information to dispute all inaccurate information and prevent further fraudulent reports.

B. Identity Mix-up

When someone else’s credit file is mixed up with yours, you could get a negative credit history through no fault of your own. Sometimes the negative information of different people who have similar names, addresses, or social security numbers are mixed in with your file. The person with a clean credit history is hurt by the CRA’s merging inaccurate information with the beneficial information in your report.

C. Wrong Entries

Sometimes creditors submit inaccurate information to the CRA’s. If you are aware of inaccurate information, you should send a certified letter to the CRA’s notifying them that you dispute the information. You should attach all supporting information which helps your case. You should ask the CRA’s to conduct an investigation and correct your report. After you have made efforts to notify the CRA’s of the problem and they fail to correct, you may have a cause of action against the credit reporting agencies for the credit damage they have caused you.

D. Old Information/Bankruptcy Discharge

Creditors may report a debt for seven years and a bankruptcy discharge for ten years. Sometimes creditors (or debt collecting agencies) do not report debt as being zero or “re-age” information and submit a false date to the credit reporting agencies to continue reporting a debt which should no longer be reported. This can severely damage your ability to rebuild your credit.

E. Faulty Criminal Background Checks

Recent studies show that 9 in 10 employers now use criminal background checks for job applicants and, unfortunately, the data received are often inaccurate. These checks are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the law requires that companies furnishing reports notify the people named so that any inaccuracies in the data can be corrected. If you have not been hired because of a faulty background check, you may have an action against the employer or the CRA’s. In all cases, you should request that inaccurate data be corrected.

If any of the above credit reporting errors have happened to you, please contact us for a free consultation and ask for our assistance in correcting these problems.

We handle cases on either an hourly basis or, in many litigation matters, on a contingency fee basis, which means we only charge a fee if you win and receive an award of damages. Clients are responsible for expenses and costs, which are sometimes advanced by the client or deducted from recovery at verdict or settlement.

Roger Phillips is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a non-profit association of attorneys and consumer advocates committed to representing consumers’ interests.  Its members’ primary focus is the protection and representation of consumers. Please call Roger Phillips at (603) 225-2767 or use the email box  on the top right of this page.