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The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is one of many United States legislative Acts that are designed to protect consumers. This Act provides rules and regulations for the collection and distribution of consumer information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed in 1970 and is the basis for which subsequent credit rights legislation has been formed.

Consumer reporting agencies are businesses that will collect consumer credit reports and store them in their databases. The FCRA monitors the actions of these agencies by requiring certain things:

The agencies must take precaution against incorrect information. Any credit information that is stored about a consumer must be as accurate as possible. If a certain piece of information is disputed by a consumer, the agency must take all the necessary steps to correct it.

Consumer reporting agencies should provide consumers with all pertinent information about their credit report. The FCRA mandates that a consumer is provided one free record report annually. This can be requested via telephone, mail, or the Internet.

If a consumer dispute causes negative credit information to be removed from the credit report, this piece of information cannot be added back onto the credit report without proper notification.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act has specific provisions for the length of time that negative credit report information will be retained by the agencies. For example, if a person declares bankruptcy, there is only a certain period of time that this will be recorded. For most discrepancies, this will be a period of seven years. However, it will vary depending on the type of delinquency. For a person declaring bankruptcy, it is usually a longer time.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act will also clearly define what types of agencies are considered to be consumer reporting agencies. These are companies that will produce and maintain credit reports. Credit reports are basically a history of credit transactions that a person makes throughout his or her lifetime.

A credit history will include any type of delinquency by the person, including bankruptcy. If a person is unable to pay creditors, he or she may declare bankruptcy. This may excuse the person from having to pay back certain loans, but bankruptcy will not erase poor credit history. Usually a bankruptcy remains on a person's credit report for a period of ten years. However, if the bankruptcy claim is dismissed before it is actually filed, the credit repor

NEXT: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

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