Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit reporting agency and the reporting organization are responsible for information in a consumer's credit report. If they fail to correct the inaccurate information when a consumer disputes it, the consumer has a right to file a lawsuit against one or both of them.
Obtaining Credit Reports
Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per calendar year from each of the three credit bureaus. Request reports from the credit bureaus to have a full picture of your credit situation. Companies may only report information to one or two of them. Review the information and note the inaccuracies, such as incorrectly reported late payments, collection accounts that have been closed and accounts affected by or opened as a result of identity theft. File a dispute with the credit bureau and the reporting company in writing and explain why you believe the information is not correct. Include copies of any supporting documents. When filing a dispute of accounts affected by identity theft, a consumer must include a police report.
The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate. It contacts the reporting organization, which either confirms or corrects the information it provided. When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must send the consumer a written report with a decision either to uphold or correct the disputed information. If a consumer disagrees with the decision, he has a right to request any documents relating to the investigation. He can request to have a free credit report mailed to those agencies which have requested your credit file within six months.
Filing a Lawsuit
You have a right to file a lawsuit against the credit reporting agency and the information provider if they do not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If not satisfied with the results of a dispute investigation, you must send the credit bureau and the reporting organization a notice of the intent to file a lawsuit. Keeping accurate and detailed information of all communications is the key to winning. A qualified attorney will advise how to proceed. A judgment in a consumer's favor must include attorney's fees and may include other compensation for damages determined by the court.
Reporting Credit Reporting Violations
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that any violations of Fair Credit Reporting Act be reported directly to the FTC. By filing a complaint, consumers help stop fraudulent and unfair business practices. When filing a complaint, one must include copies of the supporting documents to help the FTC conduct a thorough investigation.