How to Sue Credit Bureaus (And Win)

Credit bureaus are obligated to address credit report errors you dispute

Failure to do so is a violation of the FCRA & you could be entitled to compensation

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It isn’t uncommon to find errors on your credit report (which negatively affect your score). You can dispute these mistakes, but if the dispute is unsuccessful or ignored, this is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and you may be entitled to compensation/settlement.

Can You Sue the Credit Bureaus? 

Yes, you can sue the credit bureaus which include Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. However, suing the credit bureau is a lengthy and technical process. You must take certain steps to have a viable case against them in court. 

What Can You Sue a Credit Bureau For?

It’s important to know what constitutes a lawsuit and what does not before beginning the legal process. Below are some of the common violations that may potentially warrant a lawsuit:

  1. If the credit bureau refuses to correct information on your credit report after being provided with proof (i.e. a dispute letter and supporting documents), you can sue them for defamation and willful injury. (FCRA Section 623).
  2. “Re-aging” an account is a violation of the FCRA (Sec. 605) If the bureaus change the date of last activity on your credit report with the intention of keeping negative information on your account longer, you can sue them.
  3. If the credit bureaus reinsert a removed item from your credit report without alerting you in writing within five business days, you can sue them for violating FCRA Part (A)(5)(B).
  4. If the credit bureaus fail to reply to your written disputes within 30 days (sometimes 45 depending on the circumstances), you can sue them for violating FCRA Section 611 Part (A)(1) 
  5. If you have submitted a formal dispute, contacted the CRA and the creditor, and after 30 days there is no response and/or correction, you may sue.

How Do You Sue Credit Bureaus?

The process to sue them can be technical and long. It’s important that you understand how to take legal action against a credit bureau for the best results.

Below, find the appropriate steps that should be taken to sue the credit bureaus.

Before You Can Begin Legal Action:

  1. Get a consumer disclosure. This is a more detailed version of your credit report. Only you will have access to it, lenders will not.
  2. A dispute must be filed first. If you haven’t done so already, you should file a dispute with the CRAs regarding the error on your report. 
  3. Disputes, once submitted, are allowed 30 days for review and correction by the bureau. 

Preparation For the Lawsuit:

  1. Get a good consumer protection attorney. Consumer protection law is complex and you will need representation to help you. Ideally, you will find an attorney who has experience representing individuals against credit bureaus. 
  2. Understand your state and federal laws. You may be able to sue the credit bureau in either state or federal court. If you're suing under the FCRA, you generally would sue in federal court as it is federal law. 
  3. Contact your state or local consumer protection agency. 
  4. Your attorney can help you determine what court you will sue in. The court chosen needs personal jurisdiction, which means you must use a court that has power over the credit bureau. 

Initiating the Lawsuit:

  1. File an official complaint. Your complaint letter is a legal document that will introduce you and the credit bureau to the court and explain the dispute. 
  2. Have the credit bureau served with the complaint. The official complaint needs to be delivered to the credit bureau so they have notice that you are suing them. 
  3. Start the discovery phase. After the credit bureau has responded to your lawsuit, you will enter the discovery phase. This phase involves the sharing of information that may be used in court. This may include written questions (called interrogatories) and requests for documents related to the dispute. 

Discuss Settlement Offers

Most civil litigation suits are settled before they reach trial. You may even get a settlement offer in response to your complaint. The credit bureau's attorneys know how much time and money is involved in a trial. 

They will likely attempt to offer enough money to get you to drop the case. Your attorney can present you with the settlement offer, but whether you choose to accept is always your choice.

Prepare For Trial

If you do not accept any settlement offers, you will need to prepare for trial. You should be prepared to testify and answer any questions from the credit bureau's attorney. Your attorney should guide you in how to answer questions properly before the trial. 

Bottom Line

If you have taken all actions to resolve an error reported by a credit bureau, but still don’t get answers, you may sue. You may accept a settlement offer or decide to go through with the trial. In any case, when planning to sue a credit bureau, make sure to hire a good consumer protection attorney.

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If you’re a victim of credit reporting/background check errors, or debt collection harassment, it’s time to take a stand. Contact us today & reclaim your financial future.