According to the United States Federal Trade Commission, 1 in 5 American’s has inaccuracies on their credit report-link here. This is why it is so important to check your credit report at least once a year, and not just when you go to make a large purchase. Ruining your credit score can happen rather quickly, but fixing it can take much longer.
To minimize your chances of your credit report being reported incorrectly, you can pull your credit report for free once a year from all three major credit bureaus. We actually recommend you go to each of the bureaus and pull them quarterly. Experian(Click Here To Check Experian) in April, Equifax (Click Here To Check Equifax) in August, and TransUnion (Click Here To Check TransUnion) in December. That way, you’re monitoring it 3 times throughout the year and can take quick actions to repair any inaccuracies.
Although pulling your credit report through the bureaus themselves is a great way to get accurate readings of your credit, there are other 3rd party sites that enable you to see the projected scores from each of those bureaus that can keep you on track with your credit. A site that is most commonly used for this sort of research is Credit Karma (Click Here To Check Credit Karma). Credit Karma only takes a few minutes to set up and is a site that does not diminish your credit each time you check. Another cool thing about Credit Karma is that it gives you suggestions on how to improve your credit while also giving you great information about your loans and other credit cards.”
Now, what happens if you find inaccuracies in your credit report? Well, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to fix inaccuracies on the credit report when you find them. The FCRA, depending on how it's violated, can award you nominal damages, statutory damages, actual damages, and some cases punitive damages.
Basically, it’s designed to fix your credit when you find an issue on it that is causing you harm. Unlike a lot of the other statutes that we deal with, the FCRA is highly technical in that it does have requirements that you have to meet before you can even file suit.
Two Main Requirements
Examples of Damage
Picture this: You have filed for bankruptcy and the debts that you owed have been discharged, but after looking at your credit report it shows you are 120 days delinquent on a loan that was included in your discharge. This would be a good example of a damage because you no longer owe that money anymore!
That’s what makes the Dellutri Law Group so unique. There are very few bankruptcy firms that also take on Debt Defense cases, like an FCRA violation. To a lot of firms in town, once you receive your discharge they are done with you. There is no more help to be found. We believe not having a Debt Defense Department is a huge disservice to anyone who files bankruptcy and should definitely be considered if you are looking to hire a bankruptcy attorney.
Did you know that a lot of jobs today, especially government positions, pull your credit score before they hire you? Some even do them before they will interview you! That is why it is so important to be in the know of what is on your credit report so that you can take care of any inaccuracies. If you do not get a job because of inaccuracy on your credit report, this could count as damage!
Basically, anytime the credit report has impacted you in a way that you can show it in dollars and cents, that counts as damages.
Long Story Short
Under the FCRA, anytime somebody reports something incorrectly, you give them the opportunity to fix it, they don't, and it causes you actual compensatory numerical damage, you can sue them under the FCRA and get it fixed.
If you’ve already disputed the inaccuracies in writing and they have not been fixed, you should call us right away to schedule a complimentary strategy session. Even if an FCRA violation is not what you end up having, we can help you build a solid strategy moving forward so you can get this problem fixed ASAP.
Call us now at (800) 391-4337 to Request A Call From Us To Schedule Your Complimentary Strategy Session:
You must send written disputes to the credit reporting agencies. You cannot do online disputes. A lot of people think that in today’s day and age that you can just do it online or that you can use an app (because everybody's got an app these days), but the statute has not caught up with technology. It specifically still requires a written letter to be sent via US Mail.
So, we run into that problem a lot where someone comes in for a consultation and we ask them if they disputed the inaccuracies. This is very important because we cannot sue before a dispute. A lot of times people will say, “Oh yeah, I did it online.” However, that means nothing within the terms of the FCRA.
You must report the inaccuracies correctly and then give them a chance to fix it.
If you’ve now disputed it, and they still have not fixed it, what’s next in terms of having an FCRA violation? Damages.
What are damages, according to the FCRA? Well, first let’s start with what is not counted as damages.
Many people think that it’s your credit score. However, the credit score itself is irrelevant under the FCRA. Your credit score might be low because as of other things. The credit score could be low because of the actual trade lines that are on it.
That’s where knowing the difference between a credit score and a credit report is very important in terms of an FCRA violation. Most people think they are one in the same (If you’re unsure about the differences, be sure to read this blog on knowing the differences in more detail). Your credit score is just a number. How you get to that number comes from the trade lines that report to the credit agencies, creating your credit report.
The easiest way people notice they may have an inaccuracy on their report is by noticing that their credit score is low. That should be an indication that more research behind the curtain should be done. If you are suddenly showing a low credit score and you’ve been making all your payments on time and keeping low balances, you should definitely pull a report to see what may have caused that.
Damage, under the FCRA, is like any other statue and can be very broad. However, the most common damage people go after is when something has been misreported on your credit report and now you are being denied more credit as a result.