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Consumer Reports under the FCRA

The FCRA uses the term “Consumer Report” for what is commonly known as a “credit report”. Under the FCRA, a consumer report is any written, oral, or other communication of any information, by a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA), that concerns:

  • a consumer’s credit worthiness, character, general reputation, or personal characteristics
    • which is used or expected to be used to establish a consumer’s eligibility for
      • credit, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes
      • insurance
      • employment
      • eligibility for a government license or benefit
      • legitimate business need, e.g. apartment rental application

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Consumer’s Right to Obtain Their Consumer Report

Under the FCRA, each of the nationwide CRAs (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) must provide a free consumer report, upon the consumer’s request, once during any twelve month period. The free reports can be obtained from the centralized source at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/.

Each nationwide specialty CRA must also provide a free consumer report every twelve months, upon request, and must provide a toll free number for this purpose. Specialty CRAs collect specific types of information on consumers, such as medical records and payments; tenant screening; employment histories; insurance claims, and check writing histories.

Consumers are also entitled to a free consumer report if any adverse action is taken relating to credit, insurance, or employment, because of information contained in a consumer report.

Consumers should be careful about obtaining “free” credit reports that require them to sign up for credit monitoring services, for which monthly fees are charged. Advertisements for such “free” credit reports must disclose that free reports are available at annualcreditreport.com. Violations of this disclosure requirement may be the basis for the consumer to bring an action under the FCRA.


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Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C. | New York Fair Credit Reporting Act Attorney 

Contact the law firm of Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C. today, at (631) 673-9600,  for a free consultation about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


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