The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was put in place to ensure safety of consumer information by promoting the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information provided by consumer reporting agencies. These agencies include credit bureaus and other agencies that report information about medicals records and rental history. Whichever the reporting agency, this act guarantees the consumer the following rights to ensure that the information is fairly reported. This brief summary of your rights under this act, and the information listed above has been taken from the Federal Trade and Commission official website. For additional information please visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
The rights summarized by the act are listed and described briefly below:
- “You must be notified of any information used against you”. If a credit report or any other consumer report was used to take adverse action against you such as deny your application for credit, employment, etc you must be notified.
- “You have the right to know what is in your file”. Ask consumer reporting agencies for “file disclosure” if adverse action has been taken against you based on your credit report. In this instance, and several other special circumstances (identity theft, unemployment, public assistance status) you are entitled to a free copy of your file. Even if you can’t obtain a free copy, you should still check your file to make sure there isn’t inaccurate information that can be harmful.
- “You have the right to ask for a credit score”. Your credit score is an evaluation of your “credit-worthiness” provided by credit bureaus. Credit scores from consumer reporting agencies will cost you though, they are not free of charge unfortunately. However mortgage lenders will most likely provide a free report during some transactions.
- “You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information”. Report the information that you believe is inaccurate or incomplete, to consumer reporting agency to prompt investigation. A description of this process can be found at www.ftc.gov/credit.
- “Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information”. This usually happens within 30 days.
- “Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information”. If something negative appears on your report that is older than 7 years, it doesn’t belong there (10 years for bankruptcy).
- “Access to your file is limited”. Only those identified as having a “valid need” are allowed to access your information. These include those requesting information for application like employers, landlords, insurers, etc.
- “You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers”. Consumer reporting agencies must have your written consent (given to the employer).
- “You may limit ‘prescreened’ offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.” These are often unsolicited and you may request to have your address and phone number removed from the number they provide. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out nationwide credit bureaus.
- “You may seek damages from violators.” If the FCRA is violated you may be able to sue federally or at the state level.
- “Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.”
Apart from contributing public service and active involvement on campus, Sybria is very passionate about creative writing and writing in general and hopes to bring a sociological point of view to her articles. Her interests outside of writing and public service include reading books concerning fashion and spending time with her family.
A well rounded curriculum involving Business and English academics in addition to sociology, have helped shaped this young writers’ unique voice. She is eager to share her newly acquired skills and looks forward to helping others approach every day problems from a new, and perhaps, sociological outlook.