Understanding How the Fair Credit Reporting Act Helps You

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has been created to protect the rights of consumers. Are you aware of the stipulations of the FCRA? Understanding your your rights under the fair credit reporting act can help you to improve your credit.  In this article, let’s take a closer look at some of these stipulations.

Free Annual Credit Report

Under the FCRA, all consumers are entitled to receive one free credit report from each credit reporting agency annually. The three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) have set up an official website where consumers can request for their free annual credit report. You can get all your three reports at once or order one copy at a time throughout the year.

To get your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or print out the Annual Credit Report Request Service form from the FTC’s website (ftc.gov/credit) and send it via post mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can also request through telephone by calling this toll-free number, 1-877-322-8228.

You will be asked to provide personal information such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. Hence, it is very important to make sure that you are on the official website when requesting for your free online credit report. Instead of clicking on a link, it is recommended that you manually type the URL (http://www.annualcreditreport.com) in the address bar of your browser.

Take note that annualcreditreport.com is the only website authorized by the government to distribute free consumer credit reports. You might come across other websites that offer free credit reports but these sites might be owned by unscrupulous lenders or identity thieves who are trying to victimize people.

Free Credit Reports

There are also other circumstances that entitle consumers to a free credit report. For example, if you think you have been a victim of identity theft, or if you have been denied by a creditor on account of your credit history, you can request for a free report. You can also ask for your free credit report if you are unemployed and plans to look for a job within the next 60 days.

The Right to Dispute

According to the FCRA, consumers have the right to dispute errors and unauthorized charges in their credit reports. You can also request the bureau to remove outdated information from your file particularly when they are derogatory. Examples of negative remarks that should not remain in your file for more than seven years are bankruptcy, tax liens and court judgments.

If you discovered errors in your credit report, you can send a credit dispute letter to the bureau that issued your report. In your letter, you should clearly identity the items in your file that needs to be corrected. If applicable, enclose copies of documents that support your claim.

The Right to Free or Affordable Credit Repair Service

Under the law, a legitimate credit repair agency must provide a customer with a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights under State and Federal Law” before signing a contract. This document stipulates your consumer rights and obligations to make sure that you will not be scammed or ripped-off by fraudulent credit repair agencies.


About the Author:

Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website EZCreditRepairSolutions.com. She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans.  Copyright © 2013
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