In a perfect world, credit reports would always contain accurate consumer information, however, the system is plagued with errors. At times, credit files can be mixed or merged by credit reporting agencies. Additionally, creditors may misreport information, or inaccurate reports may be the result of identity theft. When consumers sustain financial harm from such errors, federal law allows them to file lawsuits to obtain corrected reports and recover damages.
The Law Office of William J. Roe has extensive experience handling credit report claims on behalf of consumers throughout the state of Florida. If your credit rating has been damaged by credit reporting errors, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Our legal team will work to enforce your rights and hold the responsible parties accountable. We are well versed in the applicable consumer laws and have a proven history of successfully resolving errors on your credit report inside and outside of the courtroom.
How Does the Credit Reporting System Work?
The three largest credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, compile information in credit reports such as consumers’ past credit use, payment histories, and total amounts owed to creditors. This information is reported by credit card companies, home and auto lenders, and consumer finance companies. Creditors rely on this information when making determinations about the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. Unfortunately, consumers are often harmed by inaccurate information in credit reports.
Finally, the credit reporting bureaus calculate credit scores based on consumer credit profiles and payment histories. Lenders rely on these scores to make credit determinations, including loan amounts and interest rates. However, your credit score can also affect how much you pay for car insurance, hiring decisions, as well as your rental applications. Errors on your credit report can unfairly lower or damage a consumer’s credit score, which can result in credit denials or higher interest rates.
Common Causes of Credit Report Errors
Credit report errors can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Credit Bureau Errors — Credit files can be mixed or merged when a consumer reporting agency inadvertently combines the information of two consumers. This often results when individuals are related, or have similar or identical names, addresses, or other identifying information, such as a Social Security number. In this situation, inaccurate or unfamiliar entries may appear on a consumer’s credit report. In addition, every year, millions of Americans have life changes, from moving, to changing their job or name, and getting married or divorced.
- Creditor Errors — Creditors may report that payments were missed when they were made on time or report incorrect balances due. Although creditors and credit report bureaus have a duty to report accurate information, consumers must take steps to correct credit report errors to protect their creditworthiness.
- Identity Theft — Credit report errors may also be the result of identity theft, even though a consumer was not responsible for reported charges. Identity thieves can hack into computer systems to obtain consumers’ personal information, engage in phishing scams to access passwords to bank and credit accounts or even steal discarded copies of credit card bills from people’s trash.
Regardless of the reason, errors on your credit report can have a devastating impact on your financial future. A damaged credit rating may prevent you from obtaining a mortgage or an auto loan, or renting an apartment. Some employers even consider the credit rating of prospective employees when making hiring decisions.
For this reason, it is a good idea to request a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to receive one free copy of your credit report each year. You can order a report from all three CRAs or request a report from annualcreditreport.com. If you see any inaccuracies, please contact the Law Office of William J. Roe and see if we can help you.
Legal Remedies for Credit Report Errors
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumer reporting agencies are required to implement procedures to ensure the accuracy of credit reports. However, flaws in the credit reporting system often lead to inaccurate, derogatory information that can lower a credit score. Rights afforded to you under the FCRA include:
- Access to credit information in your file
- Your credit score (“FICO” score)
- Notification if information in your file has been used to make an adverse credit determination
- The ability to dispute inaccurate information
- Having verified inaccurate information removed from your file
- Ensuring outdated negative information is not reported
- The ability to limit access to your credit report
When the credit reporting agencies violate provisions of the FCRA the law provides consumers with powerful legal remedies.
Disputing Credit Errors
Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting agencies and the entity reporting the information (furnishers) have an obligation to correct inaccurate information on your credit report. Our dedicated attorneys can help you dispute inaccurate information. The first step involves notifying the consumer reporting agency in writing about the inaccurate information. After receiving the dispute letter, the CRA must investigate the claim and forward any information to the reporting entity, which must then conduct its own investigation and report back to the CRA.
If the errors are not corrected, we may recommend filing a lawsuit to obtain a revised credit report. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation, including damages for financial harm and emotional suffering. If you were the victim of identity theft or a creditor reported false information, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Finally, the FCRA also allows you to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Contact Our Florida Credit Report Claims Attorney
If you have been harmed by inaccurate information in a credit report, the Law Office of William J. Roe will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help restore your creditworthiness. Our legal team is highly regarded for achieving successful outcomes in credit report claims. Every case is handled on a case by case basis, but The Law Office of William J. Roe can actually take your case whereby you do not pay us directly. Generally, we will not get paid unless the case is settled or we win at trial. The opposing party would pay your attorney’s fees. Essentially, it would be nothing out of your pocket to file, and if the lawyer loses -which is always a possibility- we will not send you a bill. Please contact our office for a free consultation today.