AN INACCURATE CREDIT REPORT CAN COST YOU; We Can Help If A Creditor Will Not Fix Inaccuracies
You may not want to look at your credit report – but you should. Your credit report can have a huge impact on your life. It can determine whether you can get a loan for a new car or a house, or even whether a landlord will rent an apartment to you. You know it can impact what kind of interest rate you get on your credit card, but did you know it can also impact how much your insurance company charges you for car insurance? But what can you do about it, anyway? An inaccurate report could be costing you money The first thing to consider is whether the report is accurate. A 2013 study by the Federal Trade Commission found that 1 in 5 consumers has an inaccuracy on her credit report. What’s more, 1 in 20 have inaccuracies so serious that they may be charged a higher interest rate or be denied loans based on those inaccuracies. Clearing up those inaccuracies may translate to greater financial security. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can help. Order a free report The FCRA requires each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and Trans Union – to supply you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. Make sure you access the report through the free portal AnnualCreditReport.com. There are paid services which provide credit reports, so be careful not to enter those sites accidentally and incur fees. The FTC warns about “imposter” websites that use the word “free” but come with strings attached. Be careful and use AnnualCreditReport.com. You will not get your credit score, but you will get an entire report. Some people prefer to stagger their free reports, getting one from each of the three bureaus in four-month intervals to cover the full year, while others prefer to get all three at once and compare. File a Dispute If you find an inaccuracy, you have the right to have it corrected. File a dispute with the credit reporting agency. Don’t file your dispute directly with your creditor! Under federal law, the creditor does not have to address your dispute unless you report it to the credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian and Trans Union all have easy, online options for filing a dispute, but they don’t necessarily save the content of your dispute for later use. A better option is to make your dispute in writing and send it by certified mail. Be specific as to what is wrong with your report and how it should be corrected, and include any proof you have. The credit bureau is required to provide your dispute to the “credit furnisher” (i.e., your creditor) who is providing the inaccurate report. After an investigation, you should get a decision as to whether the report has been corrected. You may be able to file a lawsuit if the report is not corrected Within 30 days, you should receive a response to your dispute. The best case scenario is that the report is corrected, your credit score is increased and your interest rates go down. But if the item is not corrected and you are being harmed by it, you may be able to file an FCRA lawsuit against the credit bureau and/or the credit furnisher who reported the incorrect information and refused to correct it. This is where it may be helpful to have a copy of the written dispute. One of the consumer protections of the FCRA is that the other side will have to pay your attorney if they lose, plus you may be entitled to up to $1,000, or more if you can prove specific harm. So go ahead, and take control of your credit report. If you believe that you have a legitimate dispute about information on your credit report, and need help, contact the Law Office of Mary Higgins to schedule a free consultation. Call Mary Higgins, Esq. at 302-894-4357 – www.letsbelegal.com.
Posted on July 12, 2017