Two core provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act require credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to adopt reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy and to investigate consumer disputes of credit information. Violations can occur if the credit reporting agency creates an inaccurate mixed credit file by placing another person’s information on your credit file, notes a judgment on a consumer’s credit file that a court vacated, or provided any other inaccurate or misleading information on a credit report.
One of the most common FCRA violations for a credit reporting agency is based upon the failure to conduct a reasonable investigation of inaccurate information in a credit file after receiving a credit dispute letter from a consumer, which violates 15 U.S.C. 1681i. After receiving notice of a consumer dispute, the credit reporting agency has a legal duty to review information provided with the dispute and conduct a detailed systematic investigation into the information that is reporting. Experian was found liable for a negligent investigation of a consumer credit dispute, and the court stated, “When conducting a reinvestigation pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1681i, a credit reporting agency must exercise reasonable diligence in examining a court file to determine whether an adverse judgment has, in fact, been entered against a consumer. A reinvestigation that overlooks documents in the court file expressly stating that no adverse judgment was entered falls far short of this standard.” Dennis v. BEH-1, LLC 520 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2008). There are many other instances when a credit reporting agency can be held liable for violating the FCRA, and a consumer with inaccurate information on a credit report should not hesitate to contact a consumer credit report law specialist. Our office in Reston, Virginia has handled numerous cases involving inaccurate credit reports, and we have litigated inaccurate credit report cases in the Alexandria, Richmond, and Pittsburgh federal district courts.
As for maintaining reasonable procedures for maximum possible accuracy, 15 U.S.C. 1681e(b), requires a credit reporting agency not to just establish reasonable procedures, but to follow reasonable procedures for credit report accuracy. The remedial purpose of the FCRA to protect consumers would not be achieved if the credit reporting agency simply maintained pro forma procedures without any meaningful effort to follow those procedures to assure accurate credit information. Credit reporting agencies violate the FCRA when inaccurate information appears on a consumer credit report and the consumer presents evidence that the credit reporting agency failed to follow a procedure maintained to assure that type of inaccuracy does not occur on a credit file. Because these procedures are confidential in nature, a highly specialized consumer lawyer that has reviewed credit reporting agency procedures for several years will typically be a consumer’s best resource to have inaccurate information removed from their credit report.
As with any credit report problem, I would be happy to speak with you at (571) 313-0412 regarding your inaccurate credit report for potential representation or referral to a specialist in your particular area.