Baltimore Credit Report Lawyer
Your credit score and your credit report can determine the financial opportunities that you qualify for throughout life. They can be the key to the types of opportunities available to you, from the kind of housing you are eligible for to the kind of car you can afford to drive. Knowing what is on your credit report, and what your credit score is, can help avoid surprise denials of important opportunities.
However, even if you know that your credit history is good, you may still be denied a particular financial opportunity. In some cases, you may have been denied based on inaccurate errors in your credit report. You may not even know such errors exist until they stop you from obtaining an opportunity you should have received. If you have been denied a credit opportunity for inexplicable reasons, or if you have discovered errors and wrong information on your credit report, a Baltimore credit reporting lawyer can help you fight for the compensation that you are entitled to under the law.
How Often Do Credit Reporting Errors Happen?
While mistakes happen, the mistakes caused by credit reporting agencies can influence your credit score and creditworthiness. The opportunities you qualify for can be denied to you through no fault of your own. Government agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) state that the main complaint of consumers involves incorrect information discovered on their credit reports.
In a study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, 26% of participants discovered at least one error on their credit report that can affect their credit score.
Accounts That Do Not Belong to You
Many errors discovered on credit reports include reporting accounts for the wrong consumer. These errors happen when consumer reporting agencies use automated computerized procedures to match account information reported by financial and other institutions to a particular consumer.
These errors often occur because consumer reporting agencies use unreasonable procedures to match consumers with account or other tradeline information. Instead of separating common names from different indicators like middle names and birth dates, for example, consumer reporting agencies may match the consumers to information based only on similar names and other identifying information. This can present a particular issue for consumers with common names but can happen to anyone, as consumer reporting agencies also mix up consumer files based on similar dates of birth, addresses, and Social Security Numbers.
Duplicating the Same Information Multiple Times
Another common error performed by credit reporting agencies involves repeating the same accounts more than once on a credit report. You may notice that student loans appear more than once on your report, with the same account reporting over and over. This error can also occur with respect to accounts that are in collections. These errors can affect your credit score or a company’s automated calculation of your debt to income or credit utilization ratios. It is important to address these issues because these kinds of duplicative reporting errors can make it seem as though you have more debt than you actually have..
Failing to Accurately Report Payments
Another common error involves failing to accurately report account payments. This can happen when you are up to date on all your payments, but your credit report shows that you are 30, 60, 90, or 120 days delinquent. . Credit reporting agencies must accurately report the payment status on your accounts.
Labeling Applicants as Deceased
Perhaps one of the worst errors that can occur on a credit report is being falsely deceased. This error can happen for a variety of different reasons: the credit reporting agency may mistakenly label an account tied to a deceased individual as belonging to your credit report; the consumer reporting agency may have information indicating that a consumer with a similar name, date of birth or Social Security Number has died, but may inaccurately put that information on your credit report; or, the consumer reporting agency may receive false information from one of your creditors. Applicants who share a joint account with a spouse or family member who has died are at risk of being mistakenly labeled as dead on their credit reports.
When you have been mistakenly labeled as deceased, the major credit bureaus will not return any credit score about you. This is a virtual guarantee that you will be denied credit opportunities. You may also have a very difficult time obtaining a free copy of your credit report or even making a dispute of the false information.
How Your Rights Are Violated by an Incorrect Credit Report
An incorrect credit report can cost you more than just the approval of a credit card. It can stop you from obtaining a mortgage, buying a car, or obtaining credit in an emergency, such as when you need expensive medical care on short notice.
You have certain rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that are violated when there are errors located on your credit report. Some of the rights you possess under the FCRA include:
- The right to have a credit report that was prepared using reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy
- The right to dispute errors from your credit report
- The right to have a credit reporting agency perform a reasonable investigation of all disputes
- The right to receive a response to any disputes within 30 days
- The right to receive notification if your credit report has been used against you for a particular opportunity
- The right to request a copy of your credit report
- The right to ask for your credit score
- The right to obtain monetary damages, plus attorneys’ fees and expenses, against the credit reporting agencies when they include incorrect information on your report
Once you decide to dispute the errors from your credit report, the credit reporting agency has 30 days to remove all errors from your credit report.
How a Credit Report Lawyer in Baltimore Can Help
When you decide to pursue legal action against a credit reporting agency, you want the best legal representation on your side. A Baltimore credit report lawyer can help you dispute your credit report, and can help you fight to receive the proper compensation you are entitled to recover.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to pursue money damages from the credit reporting agency. The Act provides for actual damages, damages for emotional distress, statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees and costs.
A Baltimore credit report attorney can help guide you on filing a claim against the credit reporting agency and receiving different types of compensation.
Explaining Your Rights as a Victim of Inaccurate Credit Reports
A credit report lawyer can help you understand your FCRA rights and how the credit reporting agency’s actions have violated your rights. Credit reporting agencies also have a legal requirement to investigate credit report errors. Once an investigation has been conducted, the investigation results must be issued to you within 30 days.
Credit reporting agencies who fail to perform an investigation into your credit report errors can be held accountable for violating your rights.