Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to sue creditors and the credit bureaus like Equifax, Trans Union and Experian for monetary damages and a free legal representation.
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The FCRA seeks to ensure the "[a]ccuracy and fairness of credit reporting." 15 U.S.C. § 1681(a). Toward that end, the FCRA mandates that consumer reporting agencies ("CRAs") "follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy" of the credit reports that they create. 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). The FCRA also provides that, if a consumer disputes "the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in [his] file," the CRA must "conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate. . . ." 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A). A CRA that negligently fails to comply with the FCRA can be held liable for actual damages, costs, and attorney's fees. 15 U.S.C. § 1681o. A CRA that willfully fails to comply with the FCRA can be held liable for actual damages (or statutory damages of up to $1000), punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees. 15 U.S.C. § 1681n.
The FCRA requires creditors, also known as furnishers, to do several things regarding their credit reporting of Americans. The FCRA requires the crediting reporting agencies to do several things regarding the accuracy of the credit reports they sell.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows citizens to file a lawsuit and directly recover certain damages and attorney fees. Some provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act can only be enforced by the government or state governments.
Each state can add additional provisions to the FCRA subject to certain issues with federal preemption.
You have a right to disputed anything on your credit report if you think it is wrong. You should always send your disputes to the credit agencies. If the errors is not fixed, you should consider taking legal actions.
Arizona, for example, has added liability for not removing security freezes when requested.
Some states, such as Connecticut, has expanded the protections of the FCRA to its residents by completely removing an employer's ability to review past criminal history even if the conviction was within the last 7 years, even if the job has a salary of over $25,000, and even if the job is in the financial sector.
The FCRA is a consumer protection act that imposes certain duties on CRAs and "furnishers of information" to CRAs. Furnishers of information, including mortgage lenders, are required to (1) report accurate information to CRAs regarding consumers, see 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a); and (2) conduct an investigation after receiving notice from a CRA of a dispute lodged by a consumer regarding information provided by the furnisher, see id. § 1681s-2(b).
Consumers have a private right of action against furnishers for violations of § 1681s-2(b), which requires furnishers to conduct an investigation following notice of a dispute. See id.
Section 1681s-2(b) is the basis for SAVAGE’s claim here: he alleges that CHASE— a furnisher of information to the CRAs regarding SAVAGE’s compliance with his payment obligations under the Loan — failed to conduct a reasonable investigation in response to disputes he lodged with the three major CRAs regarding the information CHASE reported.
Upon receipt of a notice from a CRA that a consumer disputes the completeness or accuracy of any information provided by a furnisher, the furnisher must (1) conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information; (2) review all relevant information provided by the CRA; and (3) report the results of the investigation to the CRA. See id. § 1681s-2(b)(1).
If the furnisher finds, following an investigation, that an item of information disputed by a consumer is incomplete, inaccurate, or cannot be verified, the furnisher must either modify, delete, or permanently block reporting of that information. See id. § 1681s-2(b)(1)(E).
Section 1681s-2(b) thus "contemplates three potential ending points to reinvestigation: verification of accuracy, a determination of the inaccuracy or incompleteness, or a determination that the information `cannot be verified.'" Hinkle v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 827 F.3d 1295, 1301-02 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b)(1)(E)).
A furnisher may verify that the information is accurate by "uncovering documentary evidence that is sufficient to prove that the information is true," or by "relying on personal knowledge sufficient to establish the truth of the information." Id. at 1303.
The "appropriate touchstone" for evaluating a furnisher's investigation under § 1681s-2(b) is "reasonableness." Id. at 1301-02. "[W]hat constitutes a `reasonable investigation' will vary depending on the circumstances of the case and whether the investigation is being conducted by a CRA under § 1681i(a), or a furnisher of information under § 1681s-2(b)." Id. at 1302.
We have explained that "[w]hether a furnisher's investigation is reasonable will depend in part on the status of the furnisher — as an original creditor, a collection agency collecting on behalf of the original creditor, a debt buyer, or a down-the-line-buyer — and on the quality of documentation available to the furnisher." Id.
When a furnisher ends its investigation by reporting that the disputed information has been verified as accurate, "the question of whether the furnisher behaved reasonably will turn on whether the furnisher acquired sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the information was true." Id.
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Basics of the Fair Credit Reporting Act:
The credit reporting agencies are required to keep accurate credit files. 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)
When a consumer disputes information with a credit reporting agency, the agency must “conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A).
The FCRA requires CRAs and entities that furnish information to CRAs (“furnishers” or “furnishers of information”) to investigate disputed information.
The furnisher of information must: (1) “conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information”; (2) “review all relevant information provided by the consumer reporting agency” in connection with the dispute; and (3) “report the results of the investigation to the credit reporting agency.” Id. § 1681s-2(b)(1)(A)–(C).
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