Understanding Your Credit Report Repair Rights
Your credit report represents your financial reputation. It contains your personal information and history, including employment, credit accounts and payments, instances of bankruptcy and more. It also includes a list of credit inquiries made by potential lenders and other sources from the past two years. For those struggling with bad credit, two years may be too long. Credit report repair is a lengthy process; luckily, there are federal laws in place to help consumers navigate their options.
There are broad consumer rights related to credit repair, the first being a person’s right to represent themselves during the credit report repair process. While many people choose to hire a credit repair company to participate in this correspondence on their behalf, they are not required to do so.
The primary law that works to protect consumer credit rights is the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA requires Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to provide you with a free credit report every year upon request. Further, it allows you to dispute any inaccurate or unverifiable items appearing on your credit report. It costs nothing to file a dispute, and the credit reporting company must respond within 30 days while also supplying you with a free credit report (not counted as your free annual copy).
In addition to cleaning up inaccurate information, you have the right to informational privacy. The FCRA provides provisions for the type of information credit reporting companies may share. When creditors request a copy of your credit report, Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) may only give out accurate information relevant to the type of request. This is important in the credit repair process because it discourages further credit denial based on false or irrelevant information. CRAs must also protect your personal information, namely your address and Social Security Number, to prevent identity theft. In cases of false charges and identity theft, FCRA allows you to cite these items by placing a letter in your file. This allows lenders to view the context of the charges when reviewing your credit report.
An awareness of your rights during the credit report repair process is imperative to your success. Use the tools the government has given you to repair your credit; these laws were enacted to protect consumers and help them keep their financial reputations intact.