A Basic Overview Of 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 any other communication of any information, by a credit reporting agency (CRA), that concerns:
- A consumer’s creditworthiness, character, general reputation or personal characteristics that are used or expected to be used to establish a consumer’s eligibility for
- credit, primarily for personal, family or household purposes
- eligibility for a government license or benefit
- legitimate business need, e.g., apartment rental application
If you have questions or concerns about your rights under the FCRA, I, attorney Andrew M. Doktofsky, am ready to help. Contact my firm The Law Office of Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C., to schedule an initial consultation.
You Have A Right To Obtain Free Consumer Reports Annually
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 12 month period. The free reports can be obtained from the centralized source at annualcreditreport.com.
Each nationwide specialty CRA must also provide a free consumer report every 12 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.