Your credit score is much more than just a number. It has far-ranging impacts on your ability to obtain credit, loans, insurance, and even work. A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit bureaus to have policies and procedures designed to ensure accurate credit reporting. Additionally, these bureaus and the creditors that provide them with information must conduct reasonable investigations of consumer disputes. The FCRA also puts strict limits on who can pull your credit report. When companies do not comply with the FCRA, they can face legal action.
The Financial Justice Initiative—a joint project of two leading consumer protection firms, Terrell Marshall Law Group and Schlanger Law Group—empowers consumers and protects their rights. If a company failed to comply with the FCRA, we can review your claim, help you enforce compliance, and depending on the situation, pursue monetary damages on your behalf. Call a Washington credit reporting lawyer with us for a free consultation.
You’ve probably taken advantage of a free credit score tool to find out what your score is. But do you know how that score was calculated?
Your credit score, a snapshot of your creditworthiness, is based on your credit report. Credit reports contain information about past credit activity and the status of current credit accounts. They also contain personal information and public records. Some of the information contained in your credit report might surprise you, including:
The three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—use the FICO score model to calculate a three-digit number ranging from approximately 300 to 850. Each credit bureau has a slightly different proprietary scoring model that results in small score variations from one bureau to another. Your credit score is affected by the information that lenders and other businesses report to credit bureaus, including most notably your payment history, outstanding balances, and available credit.
Through your credit report, your financial past affects your financial future. Unfortunately for many victims of inaccurate credit reporting, your actual credit history and the information appearing on your credit report are often very different.
According to the FTC, at least 1 in 5 consumers has an error on their credit report that could lead to them paying more for auto loans, insurance, and other products. And a survey from research group Demos found that 1 in 10 respondents said they had been denied a job because of information on their credit report.
Generally, your credit score is a measure of the risk you present to banks you intend to borrow money from and companies you intend to do business with. Having a good credit score makes most of the following easier and cheaper, while having a bad credit score can result in you paying more or being denied altogether:
Consumers have the right to dispute errors on their credit report and have them corrected.
If you have tried unsuccessfully to dispute an error, or your inquiry is being ignored, a local credit reporting attorney can help. The Financial Justice Initiative’s attorneys—drawn from the consumer protection litigation teams at Terrell Marshall Law Group and Schlanger Law Group—regularly and successfully challenge credit reporting agencies and creditors, including the “big players,” on behalf of consumers who are suffering from inaccurate credit reports.
The huge role that credit scores have on your financial life and overall quality of life underscores the importance of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Enacted in 1970 to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of credit information, the FCRA enshrines certain consumer rights, including the right to:
Our well-practiced lawyers in Washington could help you learn more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The FCRA imposes obligations on credit reporting agencies (CRAs), persons and businesses that provide, or furnish, credit information to CRAs (“information furnishers”), and third party users of consumer reports.
While government agencies have authority to enforce the FCRA, individuals whose FCRA rights were violated may be better served by filing a private consumer lawsuit. At the same time, navigating this complex statute and the vast body of case law surrounding it has its own challenges.
The Financial Justice Initiative, a joint project of the Terrell Marshall Law Group and the Schlanger Law Group, combines the resources, experience, and knowledge of two of the country’s leading consumer protection law firms. Our Washington credit report lawyers are industry leaders in bringing cases against credit reporting agencies, employers, and other responsible entities for violating consumers’ credit reporting rights. Thanks to the FCRA’s fee-shifting provision, we are able to represent consumers on a contingency-fee basis. If we don’t win your case, you pay no legal fees.
To discuss a potential credit reporting lawsuit during a free case review, please call or contact us.
The Financial Justice Initiative