Burr Ridge, Illinois Attorney for Credit Reporting Problems

At Modestas Law, we help consumers who suffer from credit reporting agencies, information suppliers, or users denying them rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, also know as the "FCRA." You should know your rights under the law so you can protect your credit information and seek damages when those rights are violated.

Fair Credit Reporting Act / FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that protects the integrity and privacy of your credit information. The Act regulates how your information is handled and gives you rights to access and correct inaccuracies in your credit report. If a credit reporting agency, information supplier, or someone who uses your credit information violates your rights under the FCRA, you may be able file an action in state or federal court for damages.

What Entities Are Covered By the FCRA?

There are three types of entities subject to the FCRA:

  • Consumer credit reporting agencies, including credit bureaus like Transunion, Experian, and Equifax
  • Suppliers of consumer information, such as banks and credit card companies
  • Anyone who accesses and uses your credit information, including banks, credit card companies, landlords, employers, and others who make decisions about you based on your credit information

If anyone in these categories violates your rights under the FCRA, you may be able to recover damages in court.

Obligations of Credit Reporting Agencies

credit reporting agency includes any business or person that collects and distributes or sells consumer credit information. The most common type is a credit bureau. The “big three” credit bureaus are Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, but there are also many other companies collecting and selling your information to people who make credit decisions about you.

These agencies prepare consumer credit reports containing information about your credit history, bill payment habits, and status of your credit accounts. The report may also include public records like liens, judgments, and bankruptcies. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Under the FCRA, these specific requirements apply to all credit reporting agencies:

  • At your request, provide you with a copy of your credit report and your credit score
  • Investigate disputed credit information in your file
  • Correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information within 30 days of receiving your notice of a dispute
  • Refrain from reporting old credit information, which generally includes data more than seven to ten years old
  • Limit disclosure of your file to third parties with a valid need, such as landlords, employers, and creditors
  • Require your consent before disclosing your information to an employer

Obligations of Information Suppliers

Any person or business furnishing your credit information to a credit reporting agency is covered by the FCRA as an information supplier. Generally, suppliers include creditors like banks and credit card companies, but suppliers may also be government agencies if you owe taxes, fines, or costs.

Under the FCRA, creditors and other information suppliers are required to:

  • Refrain from reporting inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency
  • Notify credit bureaus and investigate written disputes, and refrain from continuing to report the information
  • Promptly update and correct inaccurate information
  • Tell you within 30 days when it reports negative information to a credit reporting agency
  • Maintain a reasonable procedure to respond to identity theft notices
  • Refrain from reporting information after you report that the information was the result of identity theft

Obligations of Credit Information Users

Anyone who uses your credit information for credit, employment, or insurance purposes is covered by the FCRA. The person or business is required to:

  • Obtain your credit report only for purposes permitted under the FCRA
  • Notify you if they use your credit report to deny you credit, a job, or insurance
  • Identify the credit reporting agency or information supplier, so you can contest the accuracy and completeness of the information

Employers who use credit reports to screen job applicants or employees have specific obligations. If your credit report is used as part of a background investigation, employers must:

  • Get your written permission to request and use the report
  • Advise you about how they intend to use your credit report
  • Refrain from misusing your information
  • Provide you with a copy of the report if they fire you or do not hire you based on the report
  • Give you an opportunity to dispute the information in your report before making a final adverse decision

Damages for FCRA Violations

If a credit reporting agency, information supplier, or information user violates any of the provisions of the FCRA, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages in state or federal court. You may be able to recover for:

  • Actual or statutory damages
  • Punitive damages, if the violation was willful
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs

Contact a Burr Ridge, Illinois Attorney for Credit Reporting Problems

If you experience any issue relating to your credit report, talk with our attorney for FCRA violations about whether you can bring an action to recover damages. If you are in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, or Will County, Modestas Law can help you. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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