The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects consumers by ensuring that their information is accurate and remains private in consumer credit bureau files. It also regulates how credit reporting agencies collect, access and use data contained within consumer reports.
Consumers have several rights under the FCRA. First, it requires that consumers are notified if information in their consumer file has been used against them. For example, if a company uses a consumer report to deny a person’s application for credit, insurance or employment, that company must notify the consumer of that impact.
Consumers also have a right to request a copy of the information that is in their file for free once every 12 months and sooner in other circumstances. They can also ask for their credit score and can dispute inaccurate or incomplete information in their file.
They can also request to have a freeze put on their credit report. This prevents potential lenders from checking the report without the consumer’s authorization.
Consumer reporting agencies can also only release a consumer’s information to people with a valid reason for the information and in some situations, the consumer must provide written consent.
Filing a claim
Consumers have a right to have their information protected. Before filing a claim, it may be helpful for the consumer to write a detailed summary of their concerns and gather copies of any supporting documentation or correspondence.
If a consumer believes that his or her rights under the FCRA have been violated, an experienced consumer protection attorney can pursue a claim on his or her behalf.