When a consumer suffers an adverse action after applying for credit, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the user of the credit report to send the consumer a notification of the credit denial if that user took the adverse action in whole or in part because of information contained in the credit report. The credit denial letter has various requirements including notification of the reason(s) for the credit denial, notification of the credit reporting agencies that provided the user with the credit report, and notification that the consumer has the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report from the CRA. The full rights of the consumer can be found at 15 U.S.C. 1681m(a).
Given that 15 U.S.C. 1681j(b) of the FCRA requires a credit reporting agency to provide a consumer with a free copy of their credit report after credit denial, consumers should obtain their credit file after receiving notice of the credit denial. To enforce this right, the statute requires that the consumer request the free report within 60 days of receipt of the notification of credit denial.
It is always good to review a copy of your credit file even if you think you know the source of your credit problems. In many instances, consumers have derogatory credit accounts on their credit report that belong to another consumer, unauthorized accounts, or accounts that are reporting too much negative information for the circumstances. Carefully review all of the accounts that appear on your credit report. For suggestions on how to review the contents of your credit report, please see my prior post on the topic of how to examine your credit report:
Finally, adverse action letters can be your first notification that you have been the victim of identity theft. If a consumer has an existing credit line and the bank closes that credit line because of derogatory credit references, the bank must send you notice of that adverse action including the identity of the credit reporting agency that provided the creditor with the credit report. For identity theft victims, the derogatory identity theft related accounts will cause their creditors to close or limit existing credit lines because of the change in credit history. Accordingly, a consumer should never ignore a notice of credit denial letter because it can be the first clue that an identity theft problem exists. Remember that are important items to consider if you may have been the victim of identity theft.