Kirby Law Office, PLLC

   Consumer and Technology Law
   1312 N. Monroe Street
   Spokane, WA 99201

Credit Resources

About Your Credit

As business has become more impersonal, businesses are always striving to identify who they are doing business with. One of the primary ways this is done is by looking at your credit report. Primariliy three companies—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—collect information about you and all the businesses you have worked with, and they store that information for 7-10 years. This includes information like car loans, home purchases, credit cards, employers and home addresses.

In an attempt to help protect consumers, Congress passed a law that allows you, the consumer, the ability to ensure that the information in the credit report is correct. This law is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Rules of Credit Corrections.

Do everything in writing. It is very easy for a company to simply say they were never told of the problem, so be sure to document everything. Use certified mail, and make copies.

Truth is an absolute defense. You cannot remove information simply because it is bad. A company is entitled to know and report on past mistakes for 7 or 10 years so long as their report is accurate.

Can I get a copy of my credit report?

Each person is entitled to a copy of their credit report once a year, or upon denial of credit because of information on the credit report.

How important is my credit and how does the information affect me?

Items on your credit reports may reduce your credit which may reults in higher rates for creit cards and other loans. In some situations it may prevent you buying a house. For some statisitcs taht skethch this out, focusing on the effect of short salels on a credit report, see: .

To obtain your free copy contact:

Is is usually a good idea to request your report from all three furnishers (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).

What do I do if I find inaccurate information?

Contact the furnisher (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) directly. Each report details the procedures to fix inaccuracies.

The agency is given 30 days to perform their own research to validate the information. After 30 days you should recieve an updated copy of your credit report.

I was the victim of identify theft!

There are special rules in regard to identity theft to make is easier on the credit reporting agencies, and you. You will need to provide to the agency:

(1) appropriate proof of the identity of the consumer;

(2) a copy of an identity theft report;

(3) the identification of such information by the consumer; and

(4) a statement by the consumer that the information is not information relating to any transaction by the consumer.

You can use the sample letter to get you started.

They didn't fix the information. What now?

You may need to start documenting everything in case you have to go to court. Here is a sample letter to request correcting information from a furnisher.

They are again given 30 days to correct the information. If there is a still a problem after 30 days please contact an attorney to see about getting this corrected.

How much does this cost?

The FCRA allows for $100-$1000 in statutory damages, and the credit reporting agency will pay all attorney fees if you win. If you win, it does not cost a penny to you.

Where can I find further information?

The law is well written, and much of it is summarized above, but please check the law on the FTC website for more information.