of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The federal Fair
Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness, and
privacy of information in the files of every "consumer reporting
agency" (CRA). Most CRAs are credit bureaus that gather and sell
information about you -- such as if you pay your bills on time or have
filed bankruptcy -- to creditors, employers, landlords, and other
businesses. You can find the complete text of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C.
1681-1681u, at the Federal Trade Commission's web site (http://www.ftc.gov).
The FCRA gives you specific rights, as outlined below. You may have
additional rights under state law. You may contact a state or local
consumer protection agency or a state attorney general to learn those
must be told if information in your file has been used against you.
Anyone who uses information from a CRA to take action against you --
such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment --
must tell you, and give you the name, address, and phone number of the
CRA that provided the consumer report.
can find out what is in your file. At your request, a CRA must give you the information in your
file, and a list of everyone who has requested it recently. There is
no charge for the report if a person has taken action against you
because of information supplied by the CRA, if you request the report
within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. You also are
entitled to one free report every twelve months upon request if you
certify that (1) you are unemployed and plan to seek employment within
60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate due
to fraud. Otherwise, a CRA may charge you up to eight dollars.
can dispute inaccurate information with the CRA. If you tell a CRA that your file contains inaccurate
information, the CRA must investigate the items (usually within 30
days) by presenting to its information source all relevant evidence
you submit, unless your dispute is frivolous. The source must review
your evidence and report its findings to the CRA. (The source also
must advise national CRAs -- to which it has provided the data -- of
any error.) The CRA must give you a written report of the
investigation, and a copy of your report if the investigation results
in any change. If the CRA's investigation does not resolve the
dispute, you may add a brief statement to your file. The CRA must
normally include a summary of your statement in future reports. If an
item is deleted or a dispute statement is filed, you may ask that
anyone who has recently received your report be notified of the
information must be corrected or deleted. A CRA must remove or correct inaccurate or
unverified information from its files, usually within 30 days after
you dispute it. However, the CRA is not required to remove
accurate data from your file unless it is outdated (as described
below) or cannot be verified. If your dispute results in any
change to your report, the CRA cannot reinsert into your file a
disputed item unless the information source verifies its accuracy and
completeness. In addition, the CRA must give you a written notice
telling you it has reinserted the item. The notice must include the
name, address and phone number of the information source.
can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information.
If you tell anyone -- such as a creditor who reports to a CRA -- that
you dispute an item, they may not then report the information to a CRA
without including a notice of your dispute. In addition, once you've
notified the source of the error in writing, it may not continue to
report the information if it is, in fact, an error.
information may not be reported. In most cases, a CRA may not report negative
information that is more than seven years old; ten years for
to your file is limited.
A CRA may provide information about you only to people with a need
recognized by the FCRA -- usually to consider an application with a
creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business.
consent is required for reports that are provided to employers, or
reports that contain medical information. A CRA may not give out information about you to
your employer, or prospective employer, without your written consent.
A CRA may not report medical information about you to creditors,
insurers, or employers without your permission.
may choose to exclude your name from CRA lists for unsolicited credit
and insurance offers.
Creditors and insurers may use file information as the basis for
sending you unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. Such offers
must include a toll-free phone number for you to call if you want your
name and address removed from future lists. If you call, you must be
kept off the lists for two years. If you request, complete, and return
the CRA form provided for this purpose, you must be taken off the
may seek damages from violators. If a CRA, a user or (in some cases) a provider of CRA data,
violates the FCRA, you may sue them in state or federal court.
FCRA gives several different federal agencies authority to enforce the
FOR QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS REGARDING:
Credit Reporting Agencies and Creditors
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center - FCRA
Washington, DC 20580