SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Aug 18, 2014) - There was a time when credit reports were secret, hidden documents that only banks knew about. These hidden reports served the same function -- determining the creditworthiness of a customer -- but they were not public. As the credit report has emerged from the shadows, the United States government has given consumers more rights. CreditCardChaser.com, a leading credit website, has created this comprehensive guide to cleaning up credit report errors. Here are some of the laws giving consumers the rights and powers to clean up credit report errors, followed by some tips on how to correct these errors.
Whose Credit Report is It?
All of the information on the credit report belongs to you in theory. But it has taken awhile for the consumer to be given power over controlling this powerful document.
The most important rights that consumers have over credit reports is the right to one free credit report annually, right to be treated fairly by collection agencies and the right to have an accurate credit report.
Truth in Lending Act of 1968
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) was issued to standardize and popularize the use of credit cards. This law regulates the most basic credit card practices including interest rates, conditions and the requirement for fair resolution of credit card billing disputes.
Fair Credit Billing Act Amended in 2003
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is very important because it establishes the basic rules that if your credit card were stolen, misused or misidentified, then you are not liable. More specifically, you don't need to pay for the following: unauthorized charges, ordered merchandise that was not received, goods that did not meet your standards and incorrect charges. This law took away the apprehension that consumers initially had for using credit cards for expensive purchases.
Fair Credit Reporting Act Amended in 2003
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the most important for correcting any errors you might find on your credit report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003 also gives consumers important rights. The consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) are the third-party collectors of consumer information on behalf of the banks. Here are the important rights listed under these laws:
- Right to one free credit report each year
- Right to dispute errors
- Right to have inaccurate information removed
- Time stipulations for financial institutions to correct errors
- Negative information cannot be reinserted in report without notifying consumer
- Bankruptcies and liens fall off report after certain period of time
Consumers have the right to an accurate credit report with all of the legal ramifications that this entails. Once a consumer receives his annual credit report from the three CRAs, the consumer should go through it with a fine-toothed comb. Errors can pop up for a wide number of reasons.
Information is collected from banks, insurance companies, collection agencies and housing units. Someone might have mis-typed a number or letter during data entry. If your name is common, you might have someone else's name on your credit report.
Correcting Credit Report Errors
Many consumers are very busy and trusting, assuming that everything in their credit report is accurate, correct and proper. But that might not be true. An error could lead to higher interest rates or having your credit application rejected for the wrong reason. Consumers must check all three of their credit reports -- each is slightly different.
Once you find an error, document the correct information and make copies. Write a friendly letter to the credit reporting agency discussing the error and what the correct information should be. Consumers can refer to the applicable credit card law and the time period for resolution of the dispute. Send the written certified letter to the credit reporting agency.
The agency must remove the error or prove that you are incorrect within a certain period of time, usually 30 days. Once the error is gone, it cannot be added back onto your report without due notice. The consumer has plenty of power to clean up credit report errors.
About Credit Card Chaser:
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