Consumer credit reports contain information about where the consumer lives, how they pay their bills, and whether they have been sued or have filed for bankruptcy in the past. Credit agencies compile consumer data into a credit report and sell the information to businesses such as lenders, creditors, employers, and landlords. The information is generally used to evaluate a consumer’s application and to gain insight into the consumer's past behavior, including credit history, criminal background for a job application, or tenant history for housing.
The users rely on the consumer’s credit report to determine his creditworthiness and to decide if the consumer is a high or low-risk borrower for a range of consumer transactions such as auto purchases, credit cards, and home loans. Therefore, credit reports are an essential part of a consumer’s financial well-being and impact so many areas of their lives. The Fair Credit Reporting Act promotes the accuracy and privacy of credit information for this very purpose.
The FCRA gives consumers the right to access the data so that they can ensure accuracy themselves and can ultimately dispute in the case of inaccurate data displayed on their credit report. Credit agencies are obligated to provide a consumer with a copy of his credit report in several circumstances.
Obtain your Credit File for Free
The credit agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit file at your request once every 12 months. The consumer can acquire a free copy of his credit report once a year through www.annualcreditreport.com. Credit scores can also be obtained at the time of the credit report request or at a later date.
Additionally, if you're unemployed, and intend to look for work within 60 days, you are entitled to one free report per year.
When an Adverse Action is Taken Against The Consumer
The consumer is entitled to a free credit report from the relevant credit agency if a user takes adverse action against him such as; denying the application for credit, insurance, or employment based on information in his credit report. You can request the report within 60 days of receiving the notice; the notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting company. The potential creditor must also inform the consumer that he has the ability to find out more about the reasons for an unfavorable decision. Additionally, in accordance with the FCRA amendments, the creditor must offer the credit score with adverse action or risk-based notice.
Mortgage lenders who utilize the credit scores for applications for residential real estate-secured loans must submit the credit scores and other variables used.
If the employer takes adverse action based even in part on the consumer report, he should inform the employee.
Reporting of Fraud or Identity Theft
Consumers who report fraud involving their identity or consumers reporting files to credit agencies are entitled to a free credit report. They can obtain this either at the time that the suspicion of fraud is reported or after informing law enforcement by submitting identification documentation and a report of the fraud.
You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The copy must contain all of the information in your file when you make the request.
To know more about your rights, contact Tariq Law at firstname.lastname@example.org.