Credit Reporting

Feferman, Warren & Mattison can help with problems with your credit report. Consumer credit is the lifeblood of the economy.  Your ability to borrow money or to finance the purchase of a home, car or other items, depends on the strength of your credit.  Three giant companies - Equifax, Experian and Transunion - compile and control most of the credit information.  The record of your credit is your consumer credit report.  A very important law passed by Congress, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, regulates this field.  We handle a wide variety of problems arising with credit, such as:
  • Illegal access, where someone has illegally obtained your credit report. For example, car dealers sometimes pull credit reports without the permission of customers.
  • Theft of identity, where someone has stolen your credit identity. This situation frequently arises when someone close to you - a relative or your employer - steals your identity to apply for a credit card, pretending to be you. No matter what the situation - whether your identity is stolen by insiders or by unknown thieves, you have a very serious problem. Identity theft is one of the fastest-rising crimes in America. In 2003, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act by adding the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ("FACTA"), which expanded the protections available to persons who are the victims of identity theft.
  • Mixed file, where another person's credit information is appearing on your credit report. Credit reporting agencies often mix up the credit files for two persons with similar names. This is a very serious problem that can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money to fix. The problem is made worse where the credit reporting agency fails to fix the problem after the person whose credit is being damaged notifies the credit reporting agency of the problem. Sometimes, as a result, persons are denied credit or miss opportunities to buy houses or refinance their mortgages.
  • Inaccurate information from creditors, such as where someone wrongly claims that you owe them money, or that you owe more money than you do. Many times merchants submit inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies. You should send a letter to the credit reporting agency that is reporting on its credit report the inaccurate information (not the merchant that is the source of the inaccurate information), asking it to investigate the entry on your report. You should send with your letter any documentation which proves your point. Unfortunately, many times the merchant simply "verifies" the information without conducting a genuine investigation, as required by law. Worse, the credit reporting agency accepts the "verification" without paying any attention to your side of the story. In these situations, we sue both the the credit reporting agency and the merchant.
  • Impermissible use, where someone is using your credit report improperly. Credit reports are extremely private information, which can be obtained only in limited circumstances, such as for extending credit, for collecting debts and for employment screening. If someone wrongly obtains a credit report, for an impermissible purpose, they have invaded your privacy and violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Obsolete information must be deleted. A creditor can only report a debt for 7 years after it becomes delinquent or is charged off. A bankruptcy can appear only for ten years. Many times debt collectors "re-age" this information and submit a false date, to fool the credit reporting agency into thinking that the debt is not obsolete.