Donner Applewhite, Attorneys at Law
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Fair Credit Reporting Act: what file information can I receive?

A common reason that Missouri consumers find themselves targeted for abuse from debt collectors, credit agencies and others is that they are unaware of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). With FCRA, people are accorded the right to have accurate, fair and private information about their finances used in an appropriate manner. Part of that is designed to stop abuse and protect people regarding information that is in their credit file. Knowing about how information in the file is shielded under FCRA, the consumer's rights is imperative and there is legal recourse if there are problems.

If there is information in the file that is being or has been used against the consumer, he or she has the right to be told about it. If there is a credit report or other report that is used as a basis to deny a credit application, for insurance or to get a job, this must be told to the consumer. Other adverse actions are also in this category. The name, address and other information of the agency that provided the information must be given.

The consumer has the right to know what is in the file. The person can ask for and receive all information that is in the file of a consumer reporting agency. This is also referred to as full disclosure. To get it, the person must give the necessary personal information, and it is often free of charge. Free disclosure can be received in the following circumstances: there has been an adverse action against the person because of information contained in the credit report; there has been an identity theft, and the file has a fraud alert; the person is receiving public assistance; and if the person is unemployed, but plans to apply for a job within 60 days. Since 2005, people can get one free disclosure every 12 months, when they request it.

A person's credit reporting file can be a significant issue if there is inaccurate information in it. Because credit is an essential part of functioning, those who are confronted with negative information in their file should be aware of it and have a chance to take the necessary steps to correct the information if it is inaccurate or take the steps to get their credit on stronger ground. A lawyer who is experienced in how the Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers can help if there are problems with information in the file.

Source: Consumer.FTC.gov, "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act," accessed on May 1, 2018

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