The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law. It applies to everyone in the country, and it protects people's information on their credit report. If you have something that is inaccurate on your credit report, it can be very costly. For example, higher interest rates. You may not be approved for an apartment. You also may not be approved for a loan. It can also affect your employment. Typical types of inaccurate information on credit reports would be mixed or merged files. For example, if a father and son have the same name, one is a senior and one is a junior, and the junior has the senior's information on his credit report. Other types of inaccurate information would be stale debt, old collections or old judgments, things that should have already dropped off. If you have inaccurate information on your credit report, there is a process to dispute the inaccurate information.
The three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax will take your dispute, conduct an investigation, and respond within 30 days to determine if they think the information is accurate or inaccurate. If they determine it is inaccurate, they will remove it from your credit report. If they determine that they think it's accurate, when indeed it's not, that's when a lawyer comes into play, who would then file a Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuit. We help our clients dispute inaccurate information on their credit report. We monitor the process during that dispute, and if the problem's not fixed, we then go sue the credit reporting agencies who did not fix it.
Under the law, consumers are entitled to statutory damages up to $1,000, actual damages for anything that they can prove caused them damages as a result of the inaccurate information, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act also has a fee shift provision, which means our fees and costs are shifted to the other side. That means that the consumer never pays our attorney's fees and costs. The credit reporting agency we're suing is responsible for our fees and costs.
There are 40 million people in America who have inaccurate information on their credit report. It can be something as simple as an address you didn't live at, which wouldn't affect you for the most part, or it can be something as significant as a credit reporting agency marking you as dead. We recently helped out a client, and his Equifax credit report was listing him as deceased. He therefore couldn't apply for credit cards. He couldn't apply for loans. He couldn't get a car loan. He disputed it multiple times, and they didn't fix it. He hired us. We went after the credit reporting agency and got it fixed.