New York City Inaccurate Account Information
Sometimes, credit reporting bureaus provide a report with incorrect payment histories, non-existent accounts, or other inaccuracies. Other times, the creditors themselves provide inaccurate information to the credit bureaus regarding your credit history.
Regardless of the cause of an inaccurate credit report, the financial consequences can be devastating for a consumer. Lenders rely on credit reports when making decisions on whether to extend a line of credit, and consumers need accurate data to make critical financial decisions about their futures.
Unfortunately, inaccurate account information in New York City credit reports is a common problem. An attorney at Schlanger Law Group LLP can provide more insight into the credit reporting process and what steps you can take to remedy the situation.
Common Reasons for Inaccuracies on Credit Reports
A credit reporting agency relies on reports from lenders such as utility companies, banks, credit card companies, and car dealerships to provide comprehensive financial data to consumers. This information is compiled into a credit report, which collects a person’s account history, including his or her borrowing and payment history. One key goal of such a report is to give potential lenders and other creditors, such as banks, credit card companies, auto finance companies, property management companies, insight into how you have used credit in the past, and how likely you are to make timely payments in the future.
At the simplest level, an inaccuracy may be the result of a mistake that a lender makes when collecting and forwarding data to the credit bureau. If a lender reports an account as being delinquent, the bureau’s final product will generally reflect that delinquency. And even when the information is accurately reported to the credit bureau, the bureau may make an error in the course of aggregating data from multiple sources to create your credit report.
Another serious threat to a consumer’s financial health is identity errors. All consumers should check that their credit report contains an accurate Social Security number, prior addresses, the proper spelling of their name, and an accurate list of current as well as previously closed accounts.
Inaccurate account information on a New York City consumer’s credit report can also be the result of fraud or other criminal activity. Identity thieves who steal personally-identifying information can open credit cards, lines of credit, and other accounts under the victim’s name. Lenders and credit bureaus are often blind to this activity, and a consumer who does not keep a close eye on their finances may suffer serious harm.
The Significance of Inaccurate Account Data
Lenders use credit report information to determine whether offering a loan is a good idea, as well as what interest rate offers the best chance of repayment. On the other hand, consumers need an accurate credit report to obtain loans, rent an apartment, or buy a car.
The Dispute and Investigation Process
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit agencies to investigate allegations of inaccuracies on credit reports, they will generally only do so if a consumer files a formal dispute. It is best to do so in writing. Once you submit a dispute letter, the agency must conduct a prompt and reasonable investigation, and, in addition to the dispute letter, a consumer should include specific documentary evidence demonstrating why there is a mistake on your credit report. Appropriate documentation will vary from one case to another, but very often includes:
- An affidavit from the consumer
- A police report (in the case of identity theft)
- Bank statements with relevant charges highlighted
- Leases, Utility Bills or other documents demonstrating a consumer’s true address
Dispute letters should also include adequate identifying documentation, such as a copy of both sides of one’s driver’s license, a copy of a social security card, etc.
Every credit reporting agency must put policies and procedures into place designed to achieve accuracy in credit reporting. And every credit reporting agency must do a reasonable investigation when putting on notice of inaccuracy by a consumer’s dispute letter. However, these agencies will not act on their own to investigate an error. Moreover, without adequate supporting documentation, even a dispute letter may not be enough to get inaccurate information off your credit report.
Learn More about Inaccurate Account Information in New York City
Unfortunately, even well documented and worthy disputes are often ignored by the credit reporting agencies, with consumers paying the price in terms of lower credit scores caused by the inclusion of inaccurate account information on their credit reports. In these situations, the only viable way to get the erroneous information removed may be litigation.
If your credit report has been significantly damaged by the inclusion of inaccurate account information, incorrect payment histories, or other inaccuracies and disputing on your own hasn’t resolved the issue, we can help. Helping New York City consumers with these problems is a central part of our consumer protection practice. Get in touch with a lawyer from our law firm today to learn more.