A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS
UNDER THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of every
“consumer reporting agency” (CRA). Most CRA’s are credit bureaus that gather and sell information about you – such as if you pay
your bills on time or have filed bankruptcy – to creditors, employers, landlords and other businesses. You can find the complete text of
the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681u, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) web site (
http://www.ftc.gov). The FCRA
gives you specific rights, as outlined below. You may have additional rights under state law. You may contact a state or local
consumer protection agency or a state attorney general to learn about those rights.
• You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses information from a CRA to
take action against you such as denying an application for credit, insurance or employment must tell you, and give you the
name, address, and phone number of the CRA that provided the consumer report.
• You can find out what is in your file. At your request, a CRA must give you the information in your file, and a list of
everyone who has requested it recently. There is no charge for the report if a person has taken action against you
because of information supplied by the CRA, provided that you request the report within 60 days of receiving notice of the
action. You also are entitled to one free report every twelve months upon request if you certify that (1) you are unemployed
and plan to seek employment within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate due to fraud. Otherwise,
a CRA may charge you up to eight dollars.
• You can dispute inaccurate information with the CRA. If you tell a CRA that your file contains inaccurate information, the
CRA must investigate the items (usually within 30 days) by presenting to its information source all relevant evidence you
submit, unless your dispute is frivolous. The source must review your evidence and report its findings to the CRA. (The
source also must advise national CRA’s – to which it has provided the data – of any errors) The CRA must give you a written
report of the investigation, and a copy of your report if the investigation results in any change. If the CRA’s investigation does
not resolve the dispute, you may add a brief statement to your file. The CRA must normally include a summary of your
statement in future reports. If an item is deleted or a dispute statement is filed, you may ask that anyone who has recently
received your report be notified of the change.
• Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. A CRA must remove or correct inaccurate or unverified information
from its files, usually within 30 days after you dispute it. However, the CRA is not required to remove accurate data from your
file unless it is outdated (as described below) or cannot be verified. If your dispute results in any change to your report, the
CRA cannot reinsert into your file a disputed item unless the information source verifies its accuracy and completeness. In
addition, the CRA must give you a written notice telling you it has reinserted the item. The notice must include the name,
address and phone number of the information source.
• You can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information. If you tell anyone – such as a creditor who reports
to a CRA – that you dispute an item, they may not then report the information to a CRA without including a notice of your
dispute. In addition, once you’ve notified the source of the error in writing, it may not continue to report the information if it is
in fact, an error.
• Outdated information may not be reported. In most cases, a CRA may not report negative information that is more than
seven years old; ten years for bankruptcies.
• Access to your file is limited. A CRA may provide information about you only to people with a need recognized by the FCRA
– usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord or other business.
• Your consent is required for reports that are provided to employers, or reports that contain medical information. A
CRA may not give out information about you to your employer, or prospective employer, without your written consent. A CRA
may not report medical information about you to creditors, insurers, or employers without your permission.
• You may choose to exclude your name from CRA lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. Creditors and
insurers may use file information as the basis for sending you unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. Such offers must
include a toll-free phone number for you to call if you want your name and address removed from future lists. If you call, you
must be kept off the lists for two years. If you request, complete, and return the CRA form provided for this purpose, you must
be taken off the lists indefinitely.
• You may seek damages from violators. If a CRA, a user or (in some cases) a provider of CRA data, violates the FCRA,
you may sue them in state or federal court.