Local

September 6, 2013

Credit report disputes — what people need to know

Legal Assistance Office

Imagine being in the market for a new car. You visit a dealership downtown and find the perfect car – low mileage, great condition, all the bells and whistles. You tell the dealer he’s made the sale, but you will need financing.

He pulls your credit score and goes to work. But when he returns to show the rates you qualify for, you are shocked. The interest rates are much higher than anticipated because a company has filed negative information on your credit report. The score is lower than you thought.

If this has happened, you are not alone. The Fort Huachuca Legal Assistance Office staff handles credit report issues on a regular basis. However, people have certain rights when it comes to their credit report.

In 1997, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, to add additional safeguards to consumers. The FCRA gives people three rights when it comes to their credit reports – privacy, accuracy and fairness.

First, people have the right to privacy. The FCRA restricts who can access one’s credit report to people who request it with the individual’s permission, business parties in a transaction a person initiates (such as when they visit a car dealership or a mortgage broker, or an employer who might consider hiring an individual).

Second, individuals have the right to accurate credit reports. If there is false information in their credit reports, people have the right to dispute it. But the right to accuracy is a two-edged sword. People can remove false negative information, but creditors have the right to input true negative information.

Accurate negative information will stay on a credit report for seven years, or 10 years in the case of bankruptcy. Be wary of any company that offers a “complete credit report scrub” or that promises to remove bankruptcy, repossessions and foreclosures from a credit report. The services these fly-by-night companies offer usually turn out to be ineffective, at best, and scams, at worst.

Third, a person has the right to fairness. He or she can dispute and remove false negative information from their credit report. While the three credit reporting agencies –Transunion, Equifax and Experian – all allow one to file a dispute online, a person should never use this option.

The online dispute forms give users a very limited space in which to write their dispute, roughly the size of a tweet, and there is no way to add supporting documentation. Instead of submitting an online dispute, write out a letter or memorandum on paper. Then, support the letter with bank statements, credit card records, emails and anything else that will support the argument that the negative information is false. Then, mail it to the credit reporting agency via certified mail with a requested return receipt. Keep a copy of all material sent in as well as the return receipt for record-keeping purposes.

The credit reporting agency then has 30 days to investigate the dispute. If the furnisher – the company or person who provided the negative information – cannot substantiate it, the credit reporting agency has to remove it from the credit report. But if the furnisher can substantiate the negative information, it will stay on the report. At that point, the person listed on the credit report should consult an attorney about available options.

Those with questions about credit reports should visit the Fort Huachuca Legal Assistance Office or call 533.2009. For hours, updates and helpful information, look up the Fort Huachuca Legal Assistance and Claims Office on Facebook.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Maci Hidalgo

Ten Soldiers formally retire on Fort Huachuca

Maci Hidalgo Garrison Commander Col. Thomas A. Boone awards Chief Warrant Officer 4 Gary Berger, accompanied by his son Tyler, with a Meritorious Service Medal during the Installation Retirement Ceremony at Brown Parade Field J...
 
 
Tiffani-Maynor

Get more resources by taking Army Community Team Building classes

Kristin Wilson, military spouse and student enrolled in level two courses in Army Family Team Building, actively participates in class. Wilson has added her enrollment in these classes to her resume. Every month courses are hel...
 
 

Cochise County Sheriff’s Office issues citizen advisory warning

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office has received information regarding an ongoing investigation by the Tombstone Marshal’s Office about a suspicious subject who may be impersonating a law enforcement officer in the Sierra Vista/Tombstone area. Reports received state that a light skinned, heavyset Hispanic male between 30 – 40, driving a white crew cab Ford truck...
 

 
DoD
Marines

MARSOC Marines fine-tune visit, board, search and seizure skills

Marine Special Operations Teams with Bravo Company, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, prepare to board a target vessel during Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training...
 
 
Air-Force

Combat, maintenance instructors do it for love of shooting

Staff Sgt. Alan Daly gives range correction instructions to Airman 1st Class Brennan Eisenbrey during an M203 grenade launcher qualification course Dec. 12, at Royal Air Force Feltwell, England. Combat arms training and mainten...
 
 
Sierra-Vista-Teen-Center-018

Sierra Vista Teen Center offers varied activities for youth

Photos courtesy of the City of Sierra Vista The Teen Center is located at 3401 E. Fry Blvd., next to the middle school.   The Sierra Vista Teen Center has many offerings that aren’t widely known about, and staff members ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin