Credit Report Errors
Credit report informs creditor about the prospective debtor. In particular, whether he is solvent or not. When prospective borrower’s financial history and debt repayment need to be taken into account, credit report proves to be very helpful. Most companies trust this information when deciding upon crediting or other financial questions. They obtain this data from credit and consumer reporting agencies.
HARM CAUSED BY CREDIT REPORT ERRORS
Although credit reports are very useful and provide creditors with valuable in formation, they become the source of serious problems for both consumers and creditors when they contain mistakes.
Wrong data in credit reports is particularly harmful to prospective debtors. Good credit consumer leads to more lending opportunities with lesser cost of borrowing. Bad credit results in less lending opportunities, higher cost of borrowing, may disable unsecured loans or even lead to loan application rejection.
Credit report mistakes happen on a regular basis. Still, only few of consumers know of them, while even less know they have a right to have credit report errors corrected.
Sometimes, serious mistakes in credit reports get compensated under the guarantee.
CAUSES OF CREDIT REPORT ERRORS
There are many causes of credit report mistakes.
One of the major causes are mixed files. When credit reports of two people get merged, they become what is called “mixed files”. It occurs due to consumer reporting agencies incautiously combining files of people with similar identifying information, such as names, addresses, dates of birth and others.
Other common cause is identity theft. Identity thief gains access to other person’s identifying and personal information for his own benefit. For example, he might have gained remote access to victim’s credit card or bank account. There are many kinds of identity theft and it might lead to some serious troubles. Speaking of credit report errors, identity theft can lead to creditors giving false reports of actions looking as if they were done by the consumer, while in reality they were performed by identity thief.
And, of course, creditors may simply make mistakes on their own, such as claiming that consumer paid late when he did not, presenting inaccurate card balance etc.
Credit reporting agencies are required by the federal law to provide and guarantee information of the highest precision in credit reports. They are obligated to examine every misinformation report in order to replace it with correct and accurate data.
If a credit report mistake takes place, a consumer must report CRA’s failure to fulfil the abovementioned obligations. The FCRA (short for Fair Credit Reporting Act) protects consumers and allows them to correct such mistakes.
FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
The FCRA is a federal law that obligates proper collection, usage and sharing of consumer’s data.
It is applied to every company that gathers data about consumers and distributes it. Examples are:
- Mortgage company
- Debt collection agency
- Auto loan company
- Credit card company
The 3 biggest consumer credit reporting US companies are Experian, Transunion, Equifax. As they are affected by the FCRA, they strive to keep correct and up-to-date data too.
Statistics tell that there are errors and discrepancies in almost every second credit report.
Do not hesitate to dispute these mistakes in your report if you have found some.
When the Fair Credit Reporting Act is violated, our lawyers will assist you in fixing credit report errors. Having support of a knowledgeable lawyer is extremely important in such cases, as many of them lead to legal actions. This will guarantee that your credit report is properly fixed and your expenses get compensated, sometimes up to a point when you do not even have to pay lawyer’s fees.
Here are the types and some common mistakes met in credit reports:
- Wrong personal information (name, age, sex, address, phone number, family status)
- Inaccurate credit information (time of payment, account status, wrong cosigner)
- False public record (bankruptcy, unpaid taxes, lawsuits)
- Incorrect inquiry (for example, unauthorized ones)
- Inaccurate criminal records (arrest, felony, harassment, assault)
If you have spotted any of the errors mentioned above in your credit report, consider disputing it. As it may lead to the Fair Credit Reporting Act legal action, credit report dispute attorney’s help may be very useful.
Contact our lawyers to receive professional advice on what to do in your case. We will help you to make it clear whether mistake indeed took place or not.
CREDIT ERROR DISPUTE ATTORNEYS
Cohen & Mizrahi LLP attorneys have a great knowledge of consumer protection laws. We specialize on the cases of credit report errors, debt collector harassment and identity theft cases in particular.
In most cases, it is identity theft that causes you to find strange information in your credit report. Do you see payments for items you did not purchase? Do you seen new accounts opened with your name? These are the common signs of your identity being stolen. Never leave these signs without attention, as identity theft may cause devastating damage, especially to your credit.
If you suspect that your identity might have been stolen, get in touch with identity theft attorneys immediately. Our lawyers will aid you in composing a letter that will be sent to the 3 major credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). This letter will report incorrect data in your credit report in order to dispute it.
We will help you file a lawsuit against any credit reporting agency, should it ignore your dispute letter for 30 days by either failing to respond to you or taking no action.
HOW TO DISPUTE CREDIT REPORT ERRORS
Regularly checking credit report for mistakes and inaccurate information is of outmost importance for any consumer. However, many consumers overlook seriousness of this practice.
When your loan application gets rejected or credit score lowers with no obvious reasons, it is the right time to finally examine your credit report carefully.
If you think you have found an error, contact our lawyer for credit report dispute in NYC.
You can learn how to dispute credit report error below.
Get in touch with the credit reporting agency. Ask them for a copy of your credit report. It is best to do so by sending them a letter by certified with a request in writing.
Avoid receiving online copies. Many of online request slips contain section by agreeing with which you will have to resort to arbitration in case of any dispute.
Of course, it is best to ask for a credit report not any company, but one of the three major credit reporting agencies mentioned previously – Equifax, TransUnion, Experian. You can learn how to send them a letter or get in touch on their websites.
Also, AnnualCreditReport.com can provide you with a credit report free of charge.
Compose and send a dispute letter to the credit reporting agency. You are able to do it once you have received a copy of your credit report (from TransUnion, Equifax or Experian) and are sure there are mistakes in it.
Your letter must be unambiguous and comprehensive. Specify the errors in your credit report with great precision. And, of course, request that the credit reporting agency corrects every mistake.
Agency must answer your letter and fix every error during 30 days, starting with the day they have received it.
Delivery receipt should be very useful, as it will inform you that the credit reporting agency has indeed received your letter.
In case you need some help with composing credit report dispute letter, call our lawyers. You can also find samples at consumer.ftc.gov.
In case the credit reporting agency ignores your credit report error dispute letter for 30 days (by giving no response or leaving the described mistakes uncorrected), you have the grounds to bring an action against it.
PREPARATION FOR LAWSUIT
Public information about the company you want to bring a legal action against must be examined beforehand. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) websites can provide you with some valuable information.
If you are going to claim non-economic loss damages, we will need to talk to your friends, family members, doctors, acquaintances and anybody else who could support your position.
If a background check has been done recently, we are going to examine their copies in order to make sure that information they contain is correct.
When the legal process reaches its advanced stages, sometimes, credit card (and many other) companies want to receive a deposition from a consumer regarding the type of damage or distress he or she has sustained.
While you are not obligated to go to a doctor or verify that you have experienced an emotional distress, we always emphasize the importance of writing down what you feel and recording any issues you have faced because of the law violation that took place, be it depressed state, anxiety symptoms, embarrassment or any other.
Many consumers feel as if they are wasting time while trying to deal with credit report errors, experiencing immense irritation and frustration, and no physician is going to cure your credit score.
No matter how unwise and short-sighted it is to ignore consumer’s request to correct mistakes in his or her credit report, some credit reporting agencies still demonstrate such carelessness and recklessness.
Credit report error attorneys at Cohen & Mizrahi LLP will come to your aid to help correct your credit report, recover your true credit score and receive compensation when a credit reporting agency avoids undoing the damage done to your report.
CREDIT REPORT ERROR COMPENSATION
According to the FCRA, consumer can count on three types of damages: economic loss, non-economic loss, business damage.
Employment application or insurance rejection, refusal of low rate of interest, lost housing opportunity, being fired from a job – these are all examples of economic loss.
Non-economic losses are emotional distress, such as depression or anxiety, tarnished reputation, health decline and many others.
Business damage is done, for example, when an entrepreneur had been planning to start his own business, but missed out on a great opportunity because of a denied load or failed credit qualification.
PREPARING FOR CREDIT REPORT DISPUTE
Credit report dispute lawsuit requires some preparation. The most important thing to be done by a victim of credit report mistakes is to collect as much information and evidence as he or she possibly can.
First, make a comprehensive call list. It should include information about every call to the company in question, both outgoing and incoming. Time of calls, their duration, topics of discussion, full names of the people you were talking to, email addresses, phone numbers themselves – every bit of information will prove useful. Any fact can change the course of judicial process in your favor, even the one that seems totally insignificant to you or your lawyer right now.
Of course, voice records will be the most beneficial. Keep in mind that in some states it is illegal to record phone calls without other person’s consent, although it is legal in most.
Second, make copies of the letters you’ve written and sent to the Credit Reporting Agency. Do so for any letters you have received from them. If these were not written letters but emails, collect them nonetheless. Credit offers and application rejection emails count too.
Finally, copy credit reports you have got in the past.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our credit reporting lawyers in New York can greatly help you to correct your credit report errors and receive compensation, in case there are some.
In most cases, consumer is not going to pay lawyer’s fees, because they are going to be compensated as a part of judicial expenses. Anyway, laws protect consumers and guarantee FCRA requirement are met. With the help of experienced lawyers, your credit report error lawsuit in New York will be easily won.
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