Credit reporting companies (also known as credit bureaus) maintain the credit histories of nearly 240 million Americans. It is estimated, however, that 12 million people have errors on their credit reports that can seriously damage their credit.
In addition to errors, it is estimated that nearly 15 million people each year fall victim to identity theft. Credit reporting errors and identity theft often result in the following:
Inaccurate information on your credit report and identity theft can limit your ability to move forward in life in a number of ways. When your credit score is artificially lowered due to these two factors, you may not be able to afford a car loan, obtain a credit card — or even get a job. In some cases, you won’t even qualify for basic utilities.
At Lyngklip & Associates, we have represented consumers for more than 25 years. Our law firm is dedicated to consumer protection — helping people like you who have issues with their credit report. Whether you have found credit errors on your report or you are a victim of identity theft, we can help, starting with a free consultation to help you understand your rights and your options.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives consumers the right to receive copies of their consumer reports and to dispute any inaccuracies. There are three major credit bureaus that provide these credit reports: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report from one of these three credit bureaus on an annual basis and to dispute any errors that you find. When credit bureaus, banks, and collectors refuse to correct those errors, consumers have only one option: Take the matter to court.
Our law firm sues the companies that refuse to correct credit reporting errors. Consumers can recover monetary compensation for harm to their credit, damage to their reputation, and the frustration caused by false reporting. In some cases, consumers may also recover statutory or punitive damages under the FCRA.
Credit reporting error cases can be complex and require an understanding of the laws that govern each type of error or disputed charge. Our law firm handles the following common types of cases under the FCRA:
If you have experienced any of these situations — or are facing a credit reporting issue not listed here — our firm may be able to help. From challenging the disputed items to seeking damages for your losses, we work with consumers throughout the dispute and process and litigation get consumers the remedy they need. We offer free initial consultations, and won’t charge a fee unless we get money for you.
If you were turned down for a credit card or a loan due to bad credit, you may have errors on your credit report — or be a victim of identity theft. If you believe that this is the case, then you must take immediate steps to protect your rights.
First, you should request a copy of your free credit report, as authorized by the FCRA, from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion). It is best to request this report via mail. After receiving the report, check it carefully for any errors, including:
Second, write a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies. This dispute letter should detail the mistakes that appear on the credit report and ask the credit bureau to fix them along with proof that that item is wrong. A Michigan credit reporting attorney can work with you on finding errors and drafting a dispute letter.
A dispute letter should be direct and have all the necessary information for the credit reporting agency to understand that there is false information on your report. When writing the letter, be as specific as possible about the charges, accounts, or other information that are in dispute.
Third, wait 30 days. This is the period of time that the credit agency has to respond to or correct the disputed items on your credit report. If they fail to do so, then you may be able to file a lawsuit based on the damage to your credit score and other losses.
If you have already disputed false or inaccurate information that appears on your credit report, then you may be ready to file a case against the credit bureau under the FCRA. A credit reporting attorney can give you legal advice on your options for filing a claim.
If you are able to file a claim, you can seek damages for economic loss, which may include being turned down for a job, being fired, being denied insurance, losing a housing opportunity or being denied a low interest rate. You may also seek non-economic damages, such as for humiliation, anxiety, loss of reputation, or embarrassment. Finally, if you are a business owner or working to start a business, then you may be able to pursue damages for losses related to credit that you were not extended due to the errors.
These types of cases do not require that you were actually denied credit. Instead, you may have suffered damages from lost time dealing with the errors on your credit report. Your friends and family may also report that you have lost sleep or are stressed and anxious due to the issues with your credit score. You can recover compensation for any of these forms harm.
In some cases, a background check may have led to discovery of the errors on your credit report — and it may have cost you a job. In that situation, you may be entitled to lost wages or similar damages due to the way that credit report errors caused you harm.
Under the FCRA, you are entitled to recover compensation for harm to your credit and the frustration you have experienced. Unlike many other types of lawsuits in the United States, this law provides that if you win in court, the other side will pay your attorneys’ fees.
At Lyngklip & Associates, we plan our case strategies to maximize our clients’ recovery and minimize their expenses. We handle credit reporting cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay anything upfront for fees and only pay our law firm a fee if we recover damages on your behalf.
For better or for worse, your credit score determines so much about your life, from where you live to what car you can afford to where you can work. If you have errors on your credit report — or if you have been the victim of identity theft — then your credit score may suffer as a result. Our law firm can help you recover, both from the initial damage to your credit score and potentially for any financial harm caused.
For more than 20 years, Lyngklip & Associates has worked to protect consumers across Michigan. We are devoted to helping individuals who have experienced hardships because of errors on their credit report, identity theft, or other issues. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Michigan credit reporting attorney, contact our law firm today at 248-965-5751 or email us.
If you notice an error in your credit report you should immediately write a dispute letter to your credit bureau. Your credit dispute should be direct and have all the information necessary for a credit reporting agency to understand that they have put false information on your report. For instructions, you can read our article on how to write a credit dispute, click here.
Double reporting on your credit report occurs when two creditors report the same debt on your account. This commonly occurs when a creditor sells your debt to a collection agency or transfers an account to another servicer causing duplicate items on your credit report. The duplicate items cause your debt amount to double, causing major problems.
Data entry errors can cause government files or credit reports to report you as deceased. In some instances creditors can cause these same problems by mistakenly reporting a person as deceased when a joint card holder dies. Those with a status of ‘deceased’ cannot get a credit score. Without a credit score, you cannot buy a car, house or sometimes even get a job. Fixing this problem is very hard without the help of an experienced lawyer.
When a removed debt shows up on your credit report, this is called a reinsertion. This may occur when a creditor transfers the debt to another collection company or if the credit reporting agency makes a mistake in updating your file.
Sometimes, credit bureaus won’t recognize forms that are used to released tax liens or may not show the release in a timely manner. The forms required to get a tax lien removed from your credit report may also vary depending on what state you live in. If your current credit report shows a tax lien that you believe should have been removed, you should submit a dispute letter.
Sometimes, credit agencies can mix up your information with another person. These mixed file cases commonly occur between family members. They also can occur between people with similar names, birthdays or geographic locations. Mixed reports may result in the following: denied jobs, security clearance, financing or public benefits. Mixed reports can also be mistaken as identity theft.
If you see an item on your credit report that you did not open, you should immediately dispute that item with the credit reporting bureau. If you see multiple items open on your credit report that you did not open, then you may be a victim of identity theft.
After going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most debt is forgiven, with the exception of student loans. Many creditors may continue to report these forgiven Chapter 7 items even after your bankruptcy is filed. Some creditors may even continue to pull credit reports, post-bankruptcy. These practices are prohibited by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If discharged bankruptcy debt still appears on your credit report, you should submit a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies.
Most negative credit items become obsolete seven years after the date of the first delinquency on the account. After that date, the credit bureaus must remove the item from your report. Even if a credit company sells or transfers your debt, the seven year time limit still applies. Despite this, debt collectors and credit agencies often continue to report these negative debts after the seven year mark. This is known as re-aging, and it is illegal.
New industry guidelines require credit bureaus to use distinct codes to identify short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and completed foreclosures. If you opted for a deed in lieu of foreclosure or short sale and a foreclosure is showing up on your credit report, your credit report is likely harming you. In some cases, a wrongly listed foreclosure on your credit report can impact your credit score by up to 100 points. If you have an error like this on your report, you should submit a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies
This information is used for us to gauge where you are in the process so we can better help you through the process.
In this important educational series, Michigan consumer law attorney Ian Lyngklip of Lyngklip & Associates discusses important considerations regarding Credit Errors.
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