According to some studies, as many as half of all people have inaccurate information on their credit report. Many inaccuracies may be the result of identity theft. Getting a copy of your credit report and disputing it is much easier than you may think.
HOW DO I GET MY FREE CREDIT REPORTS?
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website and a toll-free telephone number through which you can order your free annual report.
- To order online, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
- To order by phone, call 1-877-322-8228.
- If you prefer to order by mail, you can obtain a request form at www.ftc.gov/credit.
- After you have completed the form, mail it to
Every adult in your household is entitled to a free report. There is not a consolidated report for married couples; each partner should order their individual report.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR ON MY REPORT?
Over half of all credit reports have some inaccurate information on them. You should look for accounts that do not belong to you. If you find such accounts, you may be a victim of identity theft, or someone else's information may have gotten onto your report. You should also look for information regarding accounts that have been closed or that were written off more than seven years ago. Such information should not be included on a report.
You should also make sure that the information that is reported is accurate. You should also check to see if someone has requested your report without having obtained your permission to do so. Creditors with whom you have accounts are permitted to check your report, but others (such as car dealerships) may not check your report unless you give them permission or you apply for credit.
WHAT DO I DO IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH MY REPORT?
If you there is inaccurate information on your credit report, you should send a written dispute to the credit bureau. It is important to send the dispute by certified mail, return receipt requested. The return receipt will show you when the credit bureau received the dispute. In the dispute letter, you should give the credit bureau as much information as you can so that they can properly investigate the matter. Be sure to keep a copy of what you send the credit bureau so that you have a record of what you told them and when you did it. The credit bureau will have 30 days to investigate, and they will notify whoever gave them the information of your dispute.
WHAT IF THE INACCURATE INFORMATION DOES NOT COME OFF MY REPORT?
If the credit bureau refuses to take the inaccurate information off of your report, then you may have the right to sue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In order to have a claim, it will be necessary to show that someone, like a potential creditor, has seen the information on the report. It is not proper to apply for credit just so that someone will look at your report so that you can bring a lawsuit. On the other hand, you should not avoid asking for credit just because you know that there is a problem with your credit report. You should go on with your life, and if you find yourself in a position where you would like to apply for a credit card, a car loan, or any other type of credit, simply go ahead. If the potential creditor sees the credit report, then you may have a claim, and you should contact us.
IF I HAVE A CASE, WILL I HAVE TO PAY ATTORNEY'S FEES TO PURSUE IT?
Probably not. Although each case is different, Consumer Law Group handles the vast majority of our fair credit reporting litigation on a contingent fee basis, and we do not require any payment from our clients other than from the proceeds of the litigation.