Fair Credit Reporting Act

What Does The Fair Credit Reporting Act Do?

“The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records).” https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0096-fair-credit-reporting-act.pdf. The basic rights afforded under the FCRA are outlined below.

You Must Be Told if Information in Your File Has Been Used Against You

Any party who uses a credit report or any other type of consumer report to deny an application for credit, insurance, or employment – or to take another adverse action against another party – must tell that party, and provide the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

You Have the Right to Know What is in Your File

One has the right to request and obtain all the information about oneself in the files of a consumer reporting agency.

You Have the Right to Ask for Your Credit Score

One may request a credit score from a consumer reporting agency, but generally the requesting party must pay for the report.

You Have the Right to Dispute Incomplete or Inaccurate Information

If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous.

Consumer Reporting Agencies Must Correct or Delete Inaccurate, Incomplete, or Unverifiable Information

Consumer reporting agencies must remove inaccurate incomplete, or unverifiable information, usually within 30 days.

Consumer Reporting Agencies May Not Report Outdated Negative Information

Generally, consumer reporting agencies may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.

Access to Your File is Limited

The FCRA outlines what types of parties have a valid need for access to someone’s file. The situations generally included an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business.

You Must Give Your Consent for Reports to be Provided to Employers

A consumer reporting agency may not give out information about you to your employer, or a potential employer, without your written consent given to the employer.

You may limit “Prescreened” Offers of Credit and Insurance You Get Based On Information in Your Credit Report

Unsolicited “prescreened” offers for credit and insurance must include a toll-free phone number you can call if you choose to remove your name and address from the lists these offers are based on.

You May Seek Damages from Violators

If a consumer reporting agency, or, in some cases, a user of consumer reports or a furnisher of information to a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you may be able to sue in state or federal court.

Amazon has begun to make loan services available to sellers. Amazon must comply with the FCRA and the general policies outlined above.

  • Williams v. Amazon.com, Inc., 312 F.R.D. 497, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163326, 93 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 811 (N.D. Ill. 2015).

This is a case involving potential violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 68 states that if a plaintiff declines an offer for settlement in a suit and the case proceeds to litigation, and the plaintiff must reimburse the defendant if the judgment is less than the declined offer. The court here denied the plaintiff’s motion to strike the defendants offer.