Washington, D.C., Credit Report Lawyer
Many people do not fully comprehend how important it is to monitor your credit report for accuracy. Your credit report can have a dramatic impact on your life, particularly when you are interested in obtaining a line of credit or applying for a mortgage, auto loan, credit card, or any other type of loan.
Unfortunately, it is often not until you need credit the most that you discover problems with your credit report. However, when you retain an experienced Washington, D.C., credit report attorney at Berger Montague to help correct the problems with your credit report, you can take steps to hold the credit reporting agencies accountable and get your credit report back on track.
You may also be eligible to receive monetary damages for the losses you’ve incurred as a result of the false credit report, and we can fight for your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in court to obtain them.
What Are Credit Reports?
Your credit report contains information that allows lenders to determine whether you should be approved for a loan, line of credit, as a tenant, or any other type of financial partner. Your credit score is determined based on the information contained within your credit report.
There are three primary credit bureaus known as Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Each of these credit bureaus assigns its own three-digit credit score to your credit report. Each of the credit bureaus formulates its own credit report and scores.
In general, credit scores range between 350 and 850. Generally, a credit score above 680 is considered good or excellent, while a score below 620 is considered fair, and anything below 500 is considered low. The higher your credit score, the more likely it is that lenders will be willing to partner with you financially.
Having a good credit score may make it easier for you to obtain a low-interest rate on a home mortgage, personal loan, or auto loan. You may also be able to obtain better employment and be approved for housing as a tenant if your credit score is considered good. Unfortunately, when credit bureaus make mistakes on your credit report, it can have a devastating impact on your life in many ways.
Why Your Credit Report Matters in Washington, D.C.
Although having a good credit score can have a positive impact on your life and make it easier for you to obtain lines of credit, loans, and financial partnerships, having a poor credit score or issues with your credit report can have an adverse impact on your life.
Some of the most common ways individuals are impacted by poor credit and inaccuracies or discrepancies on their credit report include:
- Being denied a mortgage loan
- Being denied a credit card or loan of any kind
- Being forced to accept high interest rates
- Having higher insurance premiums
- Being passed over for housing, phone contracts, utility bills, and other necessities
- Being passed over for job opportunities that require a check of your credit score, especially in financial industries or other lines of work that require money management
These are just a few of the more common ways your life could be adversely affected if there are issues with your credit report or credit score. Fortunately, you can take steps to address issues with your credit report or score when you contact a credit report attorney in Washington, D.C., for help.
Common Issues With Washington, D.C., Credit Reports
You may be wondering how your credit score or your credit report could have reflected issues or discrepancies. After all, you are generally a person who pays your bills on time and in full. Unfortunately, credit reporting bureaus have been known for making mistakes in their reporting processes.
Ensuring that your credit rating is accurate is critical if you hope to protect your financial future. Some of the more common credit reporting issues our firm has helped individuals like you cope with include:
- Improper name
- Inaccurate phone number
- Wrong Social Security number
- Incorrect address
- Inaccurate accounts opened through identity theft
- Accounts belonging to someone who has the same name or a similar name to you
- Inaccuracies with account status reporting
- Accounts listed with inaccurate credit limits or balances
- Accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors
These are just a few of the more common mistakes seen on individuals’ credit reports across Washington, D.C.
Many people attempt to address these issues by contacting the creditors in question or the lender listed on their credit report. However, the best way to handle mistakes on your credit report is to work with an attorney who can help you go up against the credit reporting bureau.
What Happens When You Are Reported as Deceased on Your Credit Report?
One of the lesser-known mistakes made by credit reporting agencies is mistakenly reporting someone as deceased when they are living. Credit reporting agencies can accidentally list one or more accounts as being associated with someone who has passed away.
The credit reporting agencies may have mixed you up with someone who the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Death Master File lists as deceased. This could happen because you may have a Social Security number or a name similar to someone who died. That similarity may result in you being labeled as deceased by one or more of the credit bureaus.
If your credit report or Social Security number indicates that you are deceased, your entire life could be negatively affected in a number of ways, such as:
- Being denied a new mortgage
- Trouble opening new bank accounts
- Trouble accessing new lines of credit
- Difficulty being approved for mortgages or tenancy
- Difficulty obtaining or renewing your driver’s license
How to Handle Credit Report Discrepancies in Washington, D.C.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus to maintain accurate and correct credit report records. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get credit reporting bureaus to correct inaccurate information. The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus.
Here, you can go through your credit report line by line and determine where any mistakes or inaccuracies have been made. Your attorney will assist you in handling any:
- Bad faith credit reporting agencies
- Mixed or merged credit files
- Lack of effort in investigating disputes
Your credit report lawyer in Washington, D.C., will analyze the details of your case and your credit report to determine whether filing a lawsuit against the credit reporting agency in question is appropriate.
Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act
Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act should be taken seriously. If the credit reporting agency fails to take action to resolve the dispute, your attorney may be able to take legal action against them.
You can explore your legal options under the FCRA with your attorney when you discuss the specific details of your case. Furthermore, you may be able to file a complaint against the credit bureau to ensure your rights are enforced.
What Damages Can I Receive Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
Most consumers with credit report issues are worried about the consequences of how a credit reporting error will affect their lives. They just want the problem fixed and don’t realize they may be eligible to pursue compensation for the losses they’ve suffered as a result of the error.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers can obtain damages for their losses if the credit reporting agency displayed negligence or willfully and knowingly made the error. The damages available to consumers include:
- Actual damages: As long as you can prove your losses due to the FCRA violation, there is no limit to the amount.
- Statutory damages: These are standard damages that range between $100 and $1,000, and consumers do not need to prove losses to take advantage of these.
- Punitive damages: These are decided by the court and are imposed when the violator acted maliciously or with gross negligence. They are meant to deter creditors and other agencies from issuing false reports and to punish the violator. These also have no limit on the amount.
- Attorney fees: Should your case go to trial, it will incur attorney fees. But should you win your case, you will not be responsible for the costs of litigation under the FCRA statute. The defense will cover these expenses.
How a Credit Report Attorney in Washington, D.C., Could Help You
Although law enforcement officials across Washington, D.C., are responsible for investigating instances of identity theft, there is no such agency handling legal action against unscrupulous credit reporting bureaus. If a credit reporting bureau has failed to take action to correct issues with your credit report, it is up to you to take action to protect your financial future and reputation.
Your attorney can help you obtain copies of your credit report, notify creditors of any issues that may be affecting your true credit score, and handle the filing of any criminal complaints due to identity theft or fraud.
Notable Cases Handled by Berger Montague in Washington, D.C.
Berger Montague is a nationally recognized firm with an unmatched ability to handle major complex litigation. We represent clients in offices throughout the U.S. with 65 lawyers and 50 years of experience. And we’ve secured over $36 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients since 1970.
We have led several class-action lawsuits focused on Fair Credit Reporting Act violations, including these in the Washington, D.C., and Eastern District of Virginia areas:
Clark v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 3:15-cv-00391-MHL (E.D. Va.): This class action suit alleged that TransUnion violated the FCRA by failing to accurately report the dispositions of civil judgment and tax lien public records it included in consumer credit reports it furnished, and failed to properly disclose the source of its public record information upon request. As a result, TransUnion agreed to stop reporting public records for a period of at least 18 months and to delete all existing public records information from its database. It also uncapped a consumer mediation program where consumers who were adversely affected by TransUnion’s erroneous reporting could participate in a mediation program and receive a monetary payment and free legal assistance. Consumer relief benefits had a presumptive value of $1,500 per claim.
Clark v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00032-MHL (E.D. Va.): This class action suit alleged that Experian violated the FCRA by failing to accurately report the dispositions of civil judgment and tax lien public records it included in consumer credit reports it furnished, and failed to properly disclose the source of its public record information upon request. As a result, Experian agreed to stop reporting public records for a period of at least 18 months and to delete all existing public records information from its database. It also uncapped a consumer mediation program where consumers who were adversely affected by Experian’s erroneous reporting could participate in a mediation program and receive a monetary payment and free legal assistance. Consumer relief benefits had a presumptive value of $1,500 per claim.
Thomas v. Equifax Info. Services, LLC, No. 3:18-cv-00684-MHL (E.D. Va.): This class action suit alleged that Equifax violated the FCRA by failing to accurately report the dispositions of civil judgment and tax lien public records it included in consumer credit reports it furnished. As a result, Experian agreed to stop reporting public records for a period of at least 18 months and to delete all existing public records information from its database. It also uncapped a consumer ADR program for two years where consumers who were adversely affected by Experian’s erroneous reporting could participate in a mediation program and receive a monetary payment and free legal assistance. Consumer relief benefits had a presumptive value of $1,500 per claim.
Attorneys at Berger Montague have also provided numerous amicus briefs for various cases throughout the Washington, D.C./Eastern District of Virginia.
Get Help From a Credit Report Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
If you have noticed discrepancies in your credit report and you are unsure where to turn for help, reach out to our dedicated Washington, D.C., credit report lawyers at Berger Montague for legal guidance and support. We are intimately familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and we can help you obtain compensation.
Our firm offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to individuals dealing with credit report issues across Washington, D.C., and throughout the DMV area. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only take a percentage of your settlement unless and until we win your case.
Take advantage of this opportunity when you complete our online contact form or call our office to discuss specific issues with your credit report. Our Washington, D.C., office is located at 2001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20006.