If you have a high credit score, merchants see you as more likely to pay your bills on time, follow through with payments, etc. People with high credit scores often get lower rates on loans and have more financial opportunities, too. That’s why you don’t want errors on your report that will lower your score!
Common Credit Report Errors
Several different credit report errors cause great amounts of harm.
- Mistaken or Misplaced Records: If someone has a similar name to you, a credit agency might place their delinquent account in your file! This will bring down your score until you find the error and dispute it.
- Expired Delinquencies: Delinquent or terminated accounts, bankruptcies, and foreclosures hurt your credit. They can only stay on your file for so long. Many agencies don’t take them off when they are supposed to.
- Stolen Identity: If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, all someone’s delinquent activity is being attributed to you. This needs to be addressed immediately.
Sometimes, other errors don’t seem quite so significant. Yet, these errors can still show up as flags on your credit report which can prevent loans from happening or raise your rates. These errors could be:
- Incorrect addresses
- Incorrect phone numbers
- Misrepresented dates
- Wrong names or dates of name change
How These Errors Affect Your Life
If your credit score is being weighed down by errors, there are many areas where your financial life will struggle.
- Your mortgage interest rate could skyrocket.
- You could be denied credit lines.
- Student loans might be denied.
- A car loan could cost much more money.
There are also emotional aspects to this stress and frustration! Those emotional damages should be added to a case.
If you’ve found that someone is trying to steal your identity and no one is doing anything about it, this could be a disaster, as well! If someone tries to open an account in your name, each time they put in an application it brings down your score. You have the right to notify the merchant and make them stop.
Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA
You have several rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. This act ensures that every consumer has the right to a clean, accurate credit report. If it’s not correct, it must be fixed! You have the following rights.
- Notification: You must be notified if someone runs a credit check on you. If there is a flag and they deny you something, you have to be notified.
- Copy of Your Report: You have the right to a free copy of your report each year. You can receive one from each of the three major credit bureaus.
- Dispute of Errors: If there are errors, you can dispute them. These errors must be resolved within 30 days.
- The Right to Sue: If the errors aren’t fixed within 30 days, you can sue the credit reporting agency.
How to Get Compensation for a Damaged Credit Rating
Getting your credit back up into positive numbers can be a real hassle and take a long time. If your credit has been damaged by errors on your report, you have the right to sue.
You can sue:
- Credit agencies
- Credit bureaus
- Debt collectors
You must show the courts that any entity you are suing did three things.
- They had a legal obligation or duty to “care” for your credit.
- They violated that duty.
- This violation caused you harm. When you can prove how much that harm cost, you can recover damages.
When you sue over FCRA violations, you also don’t have to pay the lawyer fees! The offending party is responsible for the costs required to represent your case.