The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles every American to a free copy of each their credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. At any time, you may choose to purchase additional copies. Residents of the Fairfax area who exercise their credit reporting rights by regularly reviewing their credit reports are likely to come across errors at some point. These errors are sometimes fixable with a credit report dispute. When an error lingers, it is time to contact a credit lawyer to discuss other options.
File a Credit Report Dispute
After detecting a credit report error, your first step is to file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. Although the credit bureaus try to make it easy for consumers to file disputes online, it is best to send a dispute package through the mail. Type a formal letter that includes your full name and address, a succinct description of each item you are disputing, and a clear explanation of why the information is inaccurate. Close the letter by requesting that the credit bureau delete or correct the erroneous information. Sign your letter, enclose copies of documents that support your argument, and mail the dispute package return receipt requested. Be sure to maintain good records of all of your correspondence.
Contact the Creditor
You may also mail a dispute letter to the creditor associated with the erroneous information. Include a copy of every document you submitted to the credit bureau. Include an additional letter informing the creditor that you are disputing the information with that entity as well. While you may dispute directly with the creditor, you must dispute with the credit reporting agencies in order to trigger many of your credit reporting rights.
Consult a Credit Lawyer
It can take time for a credit bureau to correct its mistakes. However, if you do not hear back from the credit bureau or the creditor in a timely fashion, consider talking to a credit lawyer. Often, credit bureaus drag their heels when it comes to fixing their mistakes. Having a credit lawyer on your side can encourage the credit bureau to correct the error. Depending on your situation, you might also consider filing a lawsuit. A credit lawyer can help you consider the merits of seeking compensatory damages in court.
You may already know that if you have poor credit, you may have difficulty obtaining a car loan, mortgage, or credit card. But did you know that you could also jeopardize your candidacy for a job? Many employers run background credit checks on job candidates. By reviewing a candidate’s financial history, it is thought that employers are better able to weed out candidates who have previously demonstrated irresponsibility or who may be more likely to pilfer from the office petty cash. Unfortunately, many responsible job candidates are at risk of being turned down for a position because of credit report errors. If you have suffered damages of this nature, consider talking to a credit lawyer located near Fairfax. A credit lawyer at a consumer law practice can help you get these mistakes corrected.
Checking Your Credit Reports
If you are in the market for a new job and there may be a possibility that potential employers will check your credit history, it may be a good idea to check your credit reports in advance. It can take months to fix credit report errors; staying on top of your financial information is crucial. If you do find errors, consider contacting a credit lawyer for help fixing them.
Signing a Release Form
Employers are not allowed to check your credit history without your permission. You will be asked to sign a release form. Of course, you can choose not to sign the release form. However, refusing your permission for a credit check is not likely to lead to a job offer. You should retain copies of all documents that you sign or that you are provided by prospective employers including any application that you complete.
Consider Disclosing Additional Information
If you choose to sign the release form and you already know that your credit history is less than favorable, you could provide an explanation to the hiring manager. For example, you could say that you are currently disputing erroneous information on your credit report and that the information currently available is not an accurate representation of your fiscal responsibility. If the information is accurate, but unfavorable, you could still offer an explanation if you choose. You might say that you have unpaid medical bills due to a family member’s long, unexpected illness, for instance, and you are working to repay these bills. However, it is your choice whether to disclose your financial information to a prospective employer.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you have the right to request a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus once every 12 months. The annual reports are free of charge. Reviewing one of your free credit reports every three or four months allows you to quickly detect any erroneous information that may adversely affect your credit score and your ability to obtain lines of credit. If you do find an error, you can contact a credit report lawyer in Fairfax to assist you with any inaccurate credit report items.
Submitting a Credit Report Dispute Letter
Your credit lawyer can review your credit report dispute letter that you intend to send to the credit bureaus. The dispute letter should clearly identify the erroneous information and concisely explain why it is inaccurate. It should state that the inaccurate information should be removed or corrected. A credit report attorney will recommend that the dispute letter is accompanied by all necessary documentation to support your claim. For example, it may be a good idea to enclose copies of your credit report, account statements, or receipts. Do not send original documents. Your credit lawyer will advise you to mail the dispute letter via certified mail, return receipt requested. Be sure to sign your dispute letter and keep a copy of the dispute letter for your records.
Contacting the Furnisher
The furnisher is the creditor or other entity that reported the erroneous information to the credit reporting bureau. You may submit a similar dispute letter to the furnisher with copies of your credit report and supporting documents, but do not fail to send a notice of dispute to the credit reporting agencies as you need to notify them to protect all of your rights.
Receiving Written Notices
Credit reporting bureaus are required to investigate disputes within a reasonable time period. Usually, this is 30 days. Likewise, the furnisher must investigate the dispute and report its findings to the credit bureau. Sometimes credit reporting agencies send consumers a letter stating that a credit dispute is frivolous, suspicious, or irrelevant. If you receive a letter like that after initiating a credit dispute, you should contact a credit report lawyer immediately. After investigating the information, the credit reporting agency will send you written notice regarding its findings.
There are many different types of credit report errors that can adversely affect your credit history and score. It is not uncommon for a credit report lawyer to discover that a client’s credit report contains information from another person’s file. Occasionally, two separate files may become an inaccurate mixed credit file. This is a serious problem that often requires the intervention of a credit report lawyer.
When your credit report is mixed up with that of another person, it is possible that your credit score will be reduced. The other person’s file may contain a history of late payments, defaulted accounts, collection actions, and other information that may jeopardize your own credit score. This can create problems when you need to take out a line of credit, purchase a new car, or become qualified for a mortgage. The most effective way to deal with this problem is to seek the counsel of a credit report lawyer who is well-versed in consumer rights. A Fair Credit Reporting Act law firm can protect your financial interests and your good name.
It is advisable to check your credit reports regularly and to promptly submit a credit report dispute near Fairfax if you detect any errors. You have the right to consult a credit report lawyer for Fair Credit Reporting Act guidance. One common mistake people make when submitting a credit report dispute is failing to sign the document. Always sign the letter and type your name below your signature. Make sure to include all documents supporting your dispute as to why you have an inaccurate credit report in Fairfax. Additionally, send the letter via certified mail with a return receipt request.
For more information on writing a credit report dispute letter, watch this video or consult your credit lawyer. This video discusses which information you should include, such as the contact information of the creditor associated with the error. It also provides a sample statement for describing erroneous information.
It is often surprising for individuals to learn that having no credit history can be just as much of a burden as having a poor credit history. Many lenders are reluctant to extend lines of credit to those who have not yet officially proven their credit trustworthiness. For these individuals, a credit report lawyer near Fairfax may recommend reviewing your credit report to make sure you do not have an inaccurate credit report.
What Is a Non-Traditional Credit Report?
Non-traditional credit scoring methods were developed by credit bureaus and credit scoring companies to enable financially trustworthy consumers to access lines of credit. The most commonly used non-traditional credit report is called the FICO Expansion Score, which was developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. As with conventional FICO credit scores, the Expansion score ranges from 300 to 850, with the higher numbers being the most desirable.
Can Anyone Use Non-Traditional Credit Reports?
Unfortunately, non-traditional credit reports are not available for every consumer. They typically are accessed on consumers who lack a traditional FICO score. For example, if you have required the services of a credit report lawyer to submit a credit report dispute regarding erroneous information, you cannot use a non-traditional credit report to counteract your delinquent credit accounts. However, you can improve your credit score by working with your credit report attorney to correct the erroneous information on your reports.
Which Financial Information Is Included?
Usually, a person’s FICO score reflects payment history, percentage of credit utilized, and other factors from sources such as credit cards and installment loans. A non-traditional credit report relies on other financial information, such as information from your landlord if you are a renter or the utility company if utilities are not included with your rent payment. A track record of payments made to a cable company, home phone service, or even a childcare service could help you obtain lines of credit. School tuition, furniture, and appliance rental services, and retail store accounts may serve as the basis for a non-traditional credit report. Non-traditional credit reports may also be inaccurate, so consumers should obtain copies of those credit reports if they are denied credit or the ability to cash a check because of the inaccurate non-traditional credit report.
Credit reporting agencies assemble information about consumer credit histories and evaluate that information on behalf of third parties. Banks, landlords, and other creditors supply information about financial behavior – such as payment histories – to credit reporting agencies. They also may request information about consumers’ histories with other creditors when they are making decisions about extending credit. If you have errors on your credit report, your credit report attorney near Ashburn will dispute that information with the credit reporting agency that is reporting it.
Credit reporting agencies track an extremely large amount of information, and mistakes are common. However, they can also be reluctant to fix errors, which is why having a credit report lawyer on your side is so important. Your credit report attorney has knowledge of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and can insist on fair and fast corrections of your credit history. If your credit report has merged files, incorrect information, or outdated debts, let a credit report lawyer challenge the reporting agencies on your behalf.
Your credit history is proof of your financial credibility and stability, yet it may contain erroneous information. This can negatively affect your credit score and compromise your ability to secure lines of credit. You do have rights under consumer law. For example, credit reporting bureaus are required to fix inaccurate information, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). However, credit bureaus may not necessarily act in accordance with these requirements, which is why it is a good idea to go to a consumer protection law firm near Ashburn and speak with a credit report lawyer about your situation. Your credit report attorney can answer any questions you may have about credit report disputes.
Should I Contact the Furnisher or the Reporting Agency?
Sometimes, erroneous information does not arise from the credit bureau itself, but rather from the furnisher. It may seem like common sense to contact the furnisher directly to correct the error, and in fact, consumer law does allow individuals to do so. However, it is always best to begin a credit report dispute by contacting the credit bureau
directly, rather than the furnisher. This is because doing so will require the credit bureau to begin an investigation of the dispute and trigger duties for the furnisher of the information to investigate as well. If you find that the mistake is not resolved, you can only file a claim if you have already disputed the error directly with the credit bureau.
How Can I Document My Dispute?
Your credit lawyer will advise you to maintain comprehensive documentation. You should save documents such as certified mail receipts in order to prove that the credit bureau did indeed receive your dispute notice. You should also save any proof that you have been harmed as a result of the credit bureau’s failure to fix the error, such as denials of credit.
When Can I File a Lawsuit?
It is a common misconception that a lawsuit may be filed against a credit bureau solely based on the existence of inaccurate information in a credit report. In fact, you will need to dispute the incorrect data at least once before a credit lawyer can file a claim on your behalf.
If you are thinking about buying a home, one of the first factors to consider is whether your credit score is adequate. You should regularly request copies of your credit history to keep an eye on your score. As a credit report lawyer in Ashburn can explain to you, you are entitled to receive one free copy of each of your credit reports every 12 months under consumer law. Your credit lawyer will advise you to carefully review each report to see if there are any errors that might be adversely affecting your score. If so, a credit report lawyer at a consumer protection law firm can help you correct these errors.
You can also use your credit reports to find ways of improving your score, such as paying off old accounts. Watch this video to discover how high of a credit score you may need to obtain a mortgage. This financial advisor explains that the ideal range can vary depending on the type of lender and the amount of the loan.
Consumer law in Alexandria provides for the right to request a free copy of a person’s credit reports every 12 months. This applies to all three of the major credit reporting bureaus, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It is highly advisable to take advantage of this free service to keep track of your credit history and fix any errors as quickly as possible. If you do notice inaccurate information on your reports, you can contact a credit report lawyer for assistance. A credit report lawyer can help you restore your financial credibility.
Incorrect Identifying Information
One of the most common credit report errors involves incorrect identifying
information. These errors will not always affect your credit score. For example, one or more of the credit reporting bureaus may list your address incorrectly. A more serious error is known as a mixed file. This refers to the inappropriate mixing of information among different consumers’ files. For example, if your name is John Anderson Roberts, your credit report might inaccurately list information from the file of John Anderson Robertson. It is important to scrutinize every detail of your credit report, from your middle initial to your employment information to your Social Security number. Bring any errors to the attention of your credit report attorney.
Inaccurate Account Information
Your credit report lawyer can help you resolve inaccurate account information that may be adversely affecting your credit score. These errors may originate from the credit reporting bureau or from the furnisher, also known as the creditor. Some examples of inaccurate account details include listing closed accounts as open and incorrectly listing accounts as late or delinquent when they have been paid on time. The report may provide an inaccurate date of last payment, date of first delinquency, or date on which the account was opened.
Erroneous Data Management
Another common problem that a credit report lawyer can help you resolve stems from improper data processing or data management. A data processor may have re-entered incorrect information after this information was already corrected. An account in collection may be listed multiple times with various creditors. Or, the report may contain information that should no longer be listed, such as a debt that is older than seven years.