Advising Ft. Lauderdale Residents in Bankruptcy
Mistakes regarding your credit can have a negative impact on your ability to start anew after bankruptcy. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers who are affected by misleading or incorrect information regarding their credit. When a consumer reporting agency, creditor, or business provides misinformation on your credit, it violates the FCRA. If you believe your rights under this law were infringed, the bankruptcy lawyers at Anidjar & Levine can help. We can discuss how you can proceed if a creditor or other entity has violated the FCRA.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal statute that governs the activity of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and the entities that provide them with information about a consumer’s credit. CRAs gather information on consumers and their credit, and they report this information to businesses, including banks and landlords.
Under the FCRA, CRAs are required to protect the accuracy, confidentiality, and relevance of credit information. In other words, they must take reasonable measures to ensure that the information provided by creditors and other businesses is correct, and they cannot disclose this information to anyone who does not have the right to know it.
When credit information is misreported, inaccurate, or misused, it can have a tremendous impact on:
- Your credit score
- Your ability to qualify for a mortgage or other loan
- Your ability to rent an apartment
- Your employment search
Before you file for bankruptcy, you can negotiate with your creditors to settle your debts. You can also pay off your debts through bankruptcy. When you negotiate a settlement or discharge a debt through bankruptcy, a creditor cannot report this debt as “charged off.” In other words, the creditor cannot claim that it has given up trying to collect the debt. Your credit information must be reported accurately, or it can negatively affect your ability to make a fresh start after bankruptcy.
Types of Inaccurate Information
It is important to review your credit report periodically for errors. Inaccurate and misleading credit information may appear on the report, which can include:
- Confusing your file with that of another person who has a similar name or background;
- A creditor reporting a debt as charged off when in fact it was paid in full or settled;
- Reporting you made late payments on an account when you made payments on time; or
- Misstating your balance on a debt.
When you notice an error on your credit report, you can take steps to have it corrected. You can submit a written dispute to the CRA and your creditors. They must then conduct a reasonable investigation and correct any errors in the report. A creditor, for example, must make an investigation within 30 days from when you first filed a written dispute. It must also notify every CRA to which it reports that you are disputing the information, and it must provide any corrected information.
Credit Information and Your Privacy
The FCRA also prevents CRAs from releasing your credit information to anyone that requests it. An entity must have a valid need and purpose for the information, or the CRA cannot disclose it. For example, CRAs can disclose your credit information to a creditor or landlord because it is valid for these entities to know whether you have good credit before deciding to let you open an account or give you a lease.
If a CRA, creditor, or other entity violates your rights under the FCRA, you may be able to sue for compensation. You may be able to recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Serving Fort Lauderdale in Bankruptcy and Related Matters
At Anidjar & Levine, we understand how important it is to make sure you have the fresh financial start bankruptcy offers. Our Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy lawyers can help you stand up for your rights under the FCRA. We can put pressure on creditors and CRAs to make sure your credit information is accurate. If there is a FCRA violation, we can take steps to hold creditors and CRAs accountable. Call us today at 800-747-3733 or complete our online form for a free consultation.