The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) is a federal law that governs the collection, sharing and subsequent use of consumer credit information. The FCRA provides the guidelines for keeping record of all consumer credit history and promotes the accuracy and privacy of this information.
Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) that collect and disseminate information about consumers. Credit bureaus, a type of consumer reporting agency, hold a consumer’s credit report in their databases.
CRAs have a number of responsibilities under FCRA, including the following:
- Provide a consumer with information about him or her in the agency’s files and to take steps to verify the accuracy of information disputed by a consumer.
- Right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information
- Right to have inaccurate information corrected
- If negative information is removed as a result of a consumer’s dispute, it may not be reinserted without notifying the consumer within five days, in writing.
CRAs may not retain negative information for an excessive period — typically seven years from the date of the delinquency. The exceptions: bankruptcies (10 years) and tax liens (seven years from the time they are paid)
Right to pursue damages against violators of the FCRA