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What is FCRA?

FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law practiced in the United States. It is designed to ensure that consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) act fairly, impartially, and with respect to the consumer's right to privacy when preparing consumer reports on individuals. FCRA promotes accuracy, fairness, and the privacy of personal information collected by Credit Reporting Agencies or CRAs.

History of FCRA

FCRA was a critical statute revised in a commendable manner by the Congress and courts way back in the year 1970. Regulating the use of personal information by private businesses was first brought about by FCRA. It was implemented keeping in mind the growing credit reporting industry in the United States, which compiled "consumer credit reports" and "investigative consumer reports" on individuals.Retail Credit Co, which started in 1899, was the first major credit reporting agency in the US. After years of years of legislative leadership by Representative Leonor Sullivan and Senator William Proxmire FCRA was functionalized in the year 1970.

How is FCRA related to FACTA?

FCRA and FACTA are like opposite sides of the same coin and complement each other rightly. After the successful passage of FCRA in the year 1970, detailed amendments to the FCRA were made in the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996. The Amendments were made keeping in mind the qualitative improvements to the FCRA in several avenues. However it included provisions that allow affiliate sharing of credit reports, prescreening of credit reports (unsolicited offers of credit made to certain consumers), and limited preemption of stronger state laws on credit. In 2003, the 108th Congress revised the FCRA and implemented the "Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act" (FACTA). The FACTA ensures some state privacy protections, and also includes numerous improvements on credit reporting law, including free annual credit reports being provided to consumers.

Consumer Protection Rights by FCRA

FCRA along with FACTA ensures certain legal privileges to the consumers and protects them from harassment. FCRA empowers the rights of a consumer in various ways.

  • Individuals with good credit scores can obtain credit more easily, and at lower interest rates.
  • The Consumer has the right to access his credit report. You can request your credit report from the CRA directly.
  • You have the right to a free copy when an entity takes an "adverse action" against you based on the credit report. Free copies are also justified where the individual is unemployed and seeking employment, where the report is inaccurate because of fraud, and where the individual is on welfare.
  • Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) of 2003, that is an amended version of the FCRA, consumers may now request a free annual credit report from each of the three major CRAs.
  • The FCRA also prohibits the provision of reports that contain medical information for employment purposes without notice and explicit affirmative consent for release of the health data.
  • Target marketing is not a permissible use of credit reports. Currently, both Equifax and Experian have entered into an agreement with the FTC to prevent any use of credit reports for target marketing.
  • The FACTA of 2003 ensures that a creditor should notify a consumer if it offers credit terms that are less favorable when compared to the privileges of a general consumer.
  • The FACTA of 2003, which is complementary to the FCRA, excludes additional categories of employee investigation data from credit reports, thus eliminating protections offered by the FCRA. If the investigation is of suspected misconduct relating to employment, compliance with the law, or compliance with pre-existing written policies of the employer, it should not be regulated by the FCRA. However, if the employer takes an adverse action due to such investigations, then he should notify the employee in advance.
  • FCRA does not apply to investigations made by companies or individuals who are not CRAs.
  • Individuals have the right to disagree with inaccurate information that appears in a credit report. CRAs are required to investigate disputes and provide a report back to the consumer. If the CRA cannot resolve the dispute, the individual can add a statement to the credit report. Information which is inaccurate or unverified must be removed within 30 days of notice of the dispute.
  • The FCRA offers individuals a private right of action that can be pursued in federal or state court against CRAs and users of credit reports.
  • FCRA at present also allows a limit to the disclosure of data that can lead to identity theft. Merchants are required to reduce the amount of credit and debit numbers on electronically printed receipts over a certain time period.
  • Consumers also have the right to request that a CRA provide their last five SSN digits on credit reports.

Like FDCPA, this is another Federal law in the form of FCRA which protects consumer rights. It is a strong legal shield that is aimed at protecting the consumers from the inconvenience caused by Credit Reporting Agencies or CRAs and the harassing creditors.

Can FTC violations be sued for in small claims cou...
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Can FTC violations be sued for in small claims court or only through FTC processes? What can I read on this?

FTC violations?? Or do you mean FDCPA or FCRA violations.

Sub: #1 posted on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 12:48

Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 17310 | Credits: )

Oops I meant FCRA violations. To sue for the 1,000 violations don't we need to prove specific amount of actual financial loss? Or is the fact of the violation enough?

also if a state like MA requires collectors to validate within 5 days of receiving the request-- does that have any teeth to it in such a small claims case?

Sub: #2 posted on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 20:07

forsety forsety

(Posts: 32 | Credits: )

You can sue anyone for anything you like, winning is a whole different manner. It is better to file complaints with the government (FTC) for issues like this because they have the power, money, and backing. If you tried it, the defendant would bring in an experienced attorney that could rip your case to shreds.

If they are doing something specifically against a state statute, that should be relatively easy to defend, provided you have full documentation.

What is the situation we are talking about here? That could garner a clearer response.

Sub: #3 posted on Tue, 03/24/2009 - 04:32

Chrys Henderson Chrys Henderson

(Posts: 2538 | Credits: )

Ok, I double-checked the FCRA. According to 15 U.S.C. ?? 1681p "An action to enforce any liability created under this title may be brought in any appropriate United States district court, without regard to the amount in controversy, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction."

Hope that helps.

Sub: #4 posted on Tue, 03/24/2009 - 04:44

Chrys Henderson Chrys Henderson

(Posts: 2538 | Credits: )

can you sue for defamation in small claim court, and for punitive damages as a result of it

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 13:16


i have a deliquent balence on my credit report from lvnv funding llc it is from a sears account im assuming from when i was 18 years old i am now 28 and it still hurting my credit the claim was submitted in 2008 it is over 10 yrs old what do i do

Sub: #6 posted on Sat, 02/06/2010 - 16:26


how do i find out if a ca is liscensed to collect a debt in the state i live in.

Sub: #7 posted on Tue, 03/09/2010 - 17:06


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