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Consumer Protection Research Guide

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA?

FCRA is federal law intended to protect the consumer through regulation of the credit reporting agencies and those who use credit reports. (FCRA can be found at 15 U.S.C. § 1681 and following sections.) Most states have also passed legislation mirroring FCRA, which can provide additional safeguards. The following information will focus only on Arizona's laws regulating credit reporting agencies.

Who can access my credit report?

A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report only under the following circumstances: (1) a court order is issued for the release of the report, (2) the consumer requests the release of the report, (3) the user has reason to believe that he or she will use the information in relation to a credit transaction involving the consumer, for employment purposes, for underwriting insurance, for a determination of license eligibility, or for an otherwise legitimate business purpose. A.R.S. § 44-1692.

What should I do if I am denied credit, employment, insurance, a license or other business transactions because of a credit report?

The company that issues the denial must provide you with the name and address of any credit reporting agency whose report was used in the determination.A.R.S. § 44-1693.

What if the information in my credit report is inaccurate?

You should first give notice in writing to the credit reporting agency detailing why the report is inaccurate. The agency must provide you with the forms for such notice and provide you with assistance in filling out the form if you require it. The agency must admit or deny the inaccuracy within thirty days after notice of an inaccuracy. If an inaccuracy is admitted, the agency must immediately correct the problem and inform anyone who received an incorrect report within the last six months of the inaccuracy. A.R.S. § 44-1694.

Do I have any recourse if the Credit Reporting Agency will not correct my credit report?

A credit reporting agency can be liable for damages incurred by a consumer that result from reporting of inaccurate information which a consumer reporting agency refuses to correct pursuant to A.R.S. § 44-1694. A.R.S. § 44-1695. Any consumer reporting agency, user of information or sources of information which is grossly negligent in the use or preparation of a consumer report or who acts willfully and maliciously with intent to harm a consumer, shall be liable to the consumer for actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees.A.R.S. § 44-1695.

How do I get a copy of my credit report?

Credit reporting agencies generally sell copies of their reports. A copy of your credit report will cost approximately $8.00 to $11.00. You can get a free copy of your report if you have been the subject of an adverse action based wholly or in part on your report within the last 60 days. Instructions on reading the report and correcting any errors should come with the report. The three major credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. They can be contacted as follows:

Equifax

For specific information about requesting a report from Equifax, go to www.equifax.com; you can also order a report online through this site.

Experian

To order an online report, request an investigation, or for more information, go to www.experian.com/consumer/index.html.

Trans Union

For specific information about requesting a report from Trans Union, go to www.transunion.com/corporate/personal/personal.page; you can also order a credit report online through this site.

 

Last revised:  28 October 2008

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