Mistakes happen, but when they occur on your credit report, the consequences are huge.
Credit reporting agencies like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are legally required to fix mistakes on your credit report. However, they don’t always follow through. When they don’t, you may be able to sue them.
If you have a mistake on your credit report, contact an Ohio debt management attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates. For now, let’s dive into credit report mistakes, the obligations of credit reporting agencies, and when filing a lawsuit is necessary.
Why Mistakes on Your Credit Report Matter
Many people wouldn’t even know how to check their credit score in the first place. So why do mistakes on your credit report matter?
The information on your credit report is vital. It determines your credit score, which influences your eligibility for all kinds of loans. But it goes deeper. Insurance companies and employers can also pay credit reporting agencies like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to access the information in your credit report.
They use that information to determine whether to issue a loan, hire you for a job, insure you, and more. Here are some of the things on your credit report:
- Previous bankruptcies
- Lawsuits you were named in
- Your arrest record
- Your home address
- Your chosen payment method for bills
It’s not hard to imagine how mistakes with any of the above could harm you. For instance, what if your credit report contains the arrest record of a felon with a similar name to you? Your job prospects will probably suffer.
How To Sue Credit Reporting Agencies
You can sue for mistakes on your credit report. But first, you have to go through specific channels to try to correct the error. The Fair Credit Reporting Act outlines your options to get mistakes fixed.
Namely, you have to contact the credit reporting agencies and notify them of the error. If there is truly an inaccuracy, they have 30 days to correct it.
For FCRA claims you are required to dispute mistakes through the Consumer Reporting Agencies. Once the agency knows of an issue, they forward the dispute to the original creditor. This means the consumer does NOT need to dispute through the original creditor. After the creditor fails to fix the error, you are likely able to sue.
Remember that you may also be owed compensation if a creditor or reporting agency knowingly violated the FCRA by putting false information in your credit report.
How Much Compensation Are You Owed?
Each case is different. But here are some ways you can be compensated when suing a credit reporting agency for mistakes on your credit report:
- Statutory Damages: Under the FCRA, you may be owed between $100 and $1,000 for violations of the statute.
- Actual Damages: These are the ways in which a credit report mistake harmed you. For example, if the mistake kept you from getting an important job or loan, that would be actual damage.
- Punitive Damages: If the court decides to make an example out of the credit reporting agency to discourage similar actions, it may award punitive damages. Although rare, these damages can mean significant payouts.
- Legal Fees: In most cases, the reporting agency will have to cover your attorney fees if your credit report lawsuit is successful.
How a Consumer Law Attorney Can Help
Navigating the world of credit, debt, and consumer protections is not easy. And when you are going up against a massive credit reporting agency to fix a severe mistake on your credit report, it’s just you against teams of lawyers and mountains of bureaucracy.
Facing it alone can leave you without the compensation you deserve. But an experienced consumer lawyer can help build a strong case and push for the maximum compensation you are legally entitled to so you can get your life back in order.
Mistake on Your Credit Report? Speak with LHA
To speak with the trusted Ohio consumer lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates about possible legal action and the compensation you may deserve, call (614) 224-1500. We offer free initial consolations to explain your options.