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Introduction to Credit Reporting: The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA")
If you've ever applied for a charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job, someone is probably keeping a file on you. This file might contain information on how you pay your bills, or whether you've been sued, arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Debt collectors often use the effects of negative credit reports to motivate consumers into paying debts. If a debt collector falsely reports information on your credit report, you have a right to bring a lawsuit against them, but only after they have had an opportunity to correct it.
Companies that gather and sell this information are called "Consumer Reporting Agencies" or "Credit Bureaus." There are four major Consumer Reporting Agencies or credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, CSC and Equifax. Each credit bureau operates independently from all the others, with the exception of CSC and Equifax which are affiliated. The information sold by Consumer Reporting Agencies to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a "consumer report." Consumer reports generally contain information about where you work and live and about your bill-paying habits.
In 1970, Congress created a law that gives consumers specific rights in dealing with Consumer Reporting Agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects you by requiring that Consumer Reporting Agencies furnish correct and complete information to businesses for use in evaluating your application for credit, insurance, or a job. Unfortunately, the consumer reporting agencies ("CRAs") want to reap huge profits from the credit repair industry while making it nearly impossible for you to figure out how to correct your inaccurate credit reports. The CRAs change addresses, P.O. boxes, cities, phone numbers, methods and requirements nearly constantly in order to make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to dispute an item on your credit report.
Don't despair. We've done all of the research in order to simplify the credit repair process and get your credit as accurate as possible--without spending thousands of dollars on fly-by-night credit repair organizations. It is always a good idea to use certified mail on all of your correspondence to ensure proof of its receipt.