Credit reporting agencies generate credit reports based on various pieces of information about individual consumers. Unfortunately, the information in a credit reporting agency’s file for a particular consumer is sometimes inaccurate.

Credit report errors may cause you to face a range of financial and professional struggles. In Florida, consumers can dispute credit report errors and take legal action against consumer reporting agencies that violate their rights under federal law. They may also sue creditors who furnish credit reporting agencies with inaccurate information.

At Lehrman Law, we understand that attempting to correct errors in a credit report can be a frustrating experience. This is particularly true if the credit reporting agency that generated a report isn’t cooperative. 

A Florida credit report disputes lawyer can assist you with everything from initiating a dispute to filing a lawsuit against a credit reporting agency or another such party. Contact us today for more information.

Inaccurate Credit Reporting and the FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) establishes certain consumer protections and rights. Specific rights to be aware of include:

  • The right to know what information your file contains — You have the right to know what’s in any file a credit reporting agency maintains for you. Often, you can obtain this information at no charge. The law allows consumers to receive one free disclosure every 12 months from every nationwide credit bureau. A credit reporting agency may violate the FCRA if it doesn’t provide a free disclosure accordingly.
  • The right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information — You may find a credit reporting agency’s file on you contains errors. You might discover that the file lacks Important information. You can report your concerns to the credit reporting agency in these circumstances. The credit reporting agency must investigate the matter unless there is reason to believe your dispute is frivolous. If a credit reporting agency’s file contains inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information, the agency usually has 30 days to correct or delete the erroneous information.
  • The right to sue — If a credit reporting agency violates the FCRA, you can sue. For example, if a credit reporting agency doesn’t delete erroneous information despite the requirement to do so, you could file a lawsuit.

How to Initiate a Credit Report Dispute

If you believe a credit reporting agency’s file on you contains errors, you can initiate the dispute process by following these steps:

  • Checking with the credit reporting agency to see if it has a form you may use for these purposes
  • Gathering copies of any documents that may strengthen your case (such as documents showing you paid a bill)
  • Writing an explanation in which you specify what aspects of your report you believe are incorrect

Some credit reporting agencies don’t have standardized forms for credit report disputes. You may send a letter through the mail to initiate a dispute if a form isn’t available. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a sample letter to help you get started.

Potential Consequences of Inaccurate Credit Reporting

Inaccurate or incomplete information on a credit report can affect your life in many ways. Potential consequences of inaccurate credit reporting include:

  • Limiting your ability to obtain credit
  • Preventing you from making large purchases, like a home or personal vehicle
  • Limiting your ability to obtain insurance.

In some cases, inaccurate credit reporting can even affect your employment prospects. For example, employers can sometimes disqualify job applicants based on their credit reports if applicants are seeking jobs that involve managing an employer’s finances. 

Credit Report Disputes in Florida: Suing a Credit Reporting Agency

There are various reasons you may file a lawsuit against a credit reporting agency after initiating a credit report dispute. Consider the following examples:

  • A credit reporting agency refuses to investigate your complaint by falsely suggesting it’s frivolous.
  • A credit reporting agency investigates your complaint but falsely states the inaccurate information in your file is accurate.
  • A credit reporting agency fails to correct an error within the required timeframe.

Suing a credit reporting agency isn’t necessarily your only legal option in these circumstances. In some instances, it makes more sense to take action against the creditor responsible for the errors in your report.

Working With Creditors to Address Credit Report Disputes in Florida

A credit report may contain errors because a creditor furnished a credit reporting agency with false information. If you believe this has happened, you can contact a creditor, requesting that the creditor address the error.

A creditor may directly contact the credit reporting agency to correct false information. Or, they may provide you with a letter stating the relevant information is inaccurate. You could then provide the credit reporting agency with a copy of this letter to indicate the agency must delete the information.

Like a credit reporting agency, a creditor might not help you address these matters properly. You may file a lawsuit against a creditor if your credit report contains inaccurate information because they provided false information to a reporting agency.

Contact a Florida Credit Report Disputes Lawyer Today

Navigating the process of disputing a credit report can be challenging if you lack experience with such matters. You may need help gathering documentation to prove the information in a report is inaccurate. If you can’t get a credit reporting agency or creditor to correct the error, you might have to determine whether filing a lawsuit against either party is an option. When filing a lawsuit, you must demonstrate how credit report errors have negatively affected you.

These are all tasks a Florida credit report disputes lawyer at Lehrman Law can assist you with. We’ll help you address these matters sooner rather than later so that false credit information doesn’t result in major setbacks. Learn more by contacting us online today and setting up a confidential consultation.