What are My Legal Rights Concerning My Credit Score?
Originally, when the credit reporting agencies were using the FICO Credit Score, most customers didn’t even know it existed. It was nearly impossible for consumers to correct their credit scores in any way, shape, or form. Eventually, Congress passed a number of laws that gave consumers the right to view, update, correct, and dispute their credit scores.
Laws Protecting Consumer Legal Rights
A series of laws established the legal rights that consumers have with respect to their credit scores:
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) – Credit reporting agencies must give customers access to credit report, including a free credit report each year.
- Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) – Customers have the right to challenge inaccurate credit history.
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – Protects accuracy, fairness, and privacy of credit reporting process.
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – Bill collectors must validate their legitimate right to collect debt, provide notice of debt with right to dispute, and stop contacting a debtor after written request.
Free Credit Report Each Year
Consumers have the right to a free credit report each year. The credit score is free if it was run during a loan application.
Some companies try to deceive customers into signing up for their credit services with the promise of a free credit report as an additional perk.
Legal Rights with Credit Card Errors
Keep all your credit card receipts, in case you need them for a dispute.
When you find a credit card error, you might need to correct the mistake with the credit card company and the credit reporting agencies.
You have 60 days to dispute a billing statement; this process is called a “charge back.” Make all disputes in writing. Use the “Notification of Disputed Item” or “Description of Error” forms to challenge mistakes on your credit card.
Legal Right to Dispute Errors
You have a legal right to an accurate, up-to-date credit report. When you notice an error on a past due account, you should send a written letter to the credit reporting agency to request its correction. The “credit reporting agency” has 30 days to respond to your letter explaining how it will handle the challenge.
When a credit report is corrected, customers can request that it be sent to any company that has received the information in the previous 6 to 12 months.
If the credit reporting agencies still does not correct the error, you have the right to sue the creditor or collection agency.
Be careful when filing a lawsuit because credit reporting agencies might shut down access to your credit report due to “pending litigation.” This makes it difficult for you to get credit because banks will see “file under review” whenever they try to check your credit report.
You have the right to include your own written statement in your credit report.
Other Legal Rights Concerning Your Credit Score
A company must have a valid need to request your credit score.
If someone else’s account info is on your credit report, then send a “do-not-confuse” statement.
You can fix public records by going to the county clerk’s office.
If a customer has had a loan application rejected, he has the right to receive a letter from the creditor explaining “Why” and “Which credit reporting agency supplied the information.” The customer can also get a free credit report.