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Facts About the Fair Credit Reporting Act Every Consumer Should Know

Credit reports have the power to preclude a consumer from obtaining a crucial home loan, buying a much needed car, or even renting an apartment. In some cases, these credit profiles may even hinder th...

Credit reports have the power to preclude a consumer from obtaining a crucial home loan, buying a much needed car, or even renting an apartment. In some cases, these credit profiles may even hinder the consumer from finding employment for which s/he is perfectly qualified. Credit reports contain information that is compiled by credit bureaus, which, in turn, receive information on consumers from their lenders and other business entities. There is legal oversight that ensures that all the information that is gleaned from these sources is reported accurately, and that along with the bad notations, the good accounts are also placed on the reports.

Consumers have the right to examine their credit files at any time. Usually there is a fee associated with downloading a credit profile or having a credit report compiled and sent in the mail. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, each consumer may request a free credit report once a year. What is more, if a consumer has applied for credit but has been denied, credit bureaus have the obligation – upon the consumer’s request – to send out a credit profile and allow the consumer to see why the credit was denied. The latter is not an open ended invitation for consumers to keep requesting their credit files; instead, it is usually limited to 30, 60, or 90 days after being notified that a credit application has been denied.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act specifies that any consumer has the right to dispute any item that is reported on the credit report. Now, these disputes must be factual in nature, such as a claim that a reported bad debt does not belong to a consumer, or that an item that shows as being unpaid is – in fact – paid in full. The credit reporting agency has the duty to research such consumer allegations within 30 days of receiving the dispute. If it turns out that the credit report cannot validate the debt, then it must strike it from the consumer’s credit profile. If, on the other hand, the debt is validated, the credit report is duty bound to inform the consumer of the source that verified the debt, so that s/he may take up the dispute with the actual creditor.

In some cases consumers who still disagree with the information in their credit profiles --even after disputing it with the credit bureau and perhaps also the creditor – opt to have their voice heard by putting a comment into their credit profiles. This quick summary forms a rebuttal to the information contained in the credit profile; but it has no bearing on the actual credit score that potential lenders will see. It is also noteworthy that erroneous information may not be added back onto a consumer’s credit profile, after a dispute yielded no way of substantiating it. The only exception to this rule set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act is the point in time when a creditor actually does come forward and validate a debt which a consumer previously disputed.

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Krista Scruggs is an article contributor to Debt Settlement 411 connects you with credit card debt settlement companies that can help you avoid bankruptcy. We have several debt negotiation companies within our network, each with their own strengths and specialties. Depending on your specific situation, we will match you up with the right company.

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