Continuing from The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) & Your Rights (Pt. 1), here, we will continue to highlight and discuss the specific rights that borrowers have according to the FCRA.
Additional borrowers’ rights, as outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, include the right to:
- Know the details of their credit reports – Specifically referred to as file disclosure by the Federal Trade Commission, this right entitles borrowers to access to a complete, detailed copy of their credit reports (upon providing proof of one’s identity with, for example, a social security number).
As of September 2005, borrowers legally have the right to obtain 1 free copy of their credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) every 12 months; fees may be charged for copies requested in excess of the one free copy within a 12-month period.
Additionally, the FCRA stipulates that borrowers have the right to a free file disclosure if:
- They have had their identity stolen and a fraud alert placed on their account.
- They are on public assistance.
- Adverse action has been taken against them due to information on their credit report.
- Certain other circumstances apply (check with the FTC for additional circumstances that may be applicable).
- Dispute errors or incorrect information on their credit reports – When borrowers’ credit reports contain wrong or inaccurate information regarding debt (or, really, anything), these borrowers have the right to dispute this information and have it corrected.
In these cases, borrowers typically have to send letters to the credit reporting bureau (and potentially even the creditor associated with the misinformation) to explain the error and provide evidence of the proper information. Common errors that borrowers find on their credit reports can include inaccurate reports of late or missed payments, persisting debt that should have been discharged or debt that they did not actually accumulate on their own (which is often associated with identity theft).
Credit reporting bureaus, upon receiving letters regarding inaccurate credit report information, will then investigate the claims, inform borrowers of their findings and correct the errors (if they agree with borrowers’ contentions about the information being erroneous).
Look for the final part of this blog coming in early May for some additional borrowers’ rights that have been granted by the FCRA.
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