Credit reporting companies maintain the credit histories of nearly 240 million Americans. It is estimated, however, that 12 million people have credit-damaging errors on their credit reports.
On top of this, it is estimated that nearly 15 million people a year fall victim to identity theft. Credit reporting errors and identity theft often result in the following:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides consumers the right to receive copies of their consumer reports and to dispute any inaccuracies. Lyngklip & Associates helps people identify and dispute errors on their reports and sue companies that refuse correct those mistakes. Consumers can recover monetary compensation for harm to their credit, reputation and the frustration and humiliation caused by false reporting. In some cases, consumers may also recover statutory or punitive damages. You can always request a copy of your credit report for free.
Below is a list of common cases that we handle under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These cases can either pertain to credit reporting errors or identity theft.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to recover certain damages. If your case is successful in court, the other side will pay your attorney’s fees. At Lyngklip & Associates, our clients do not pay out of pocket for fees and pay nothing unless we recover damages on their behalf.
We also pay referral fees to referring attorneys. After completing the checklist below, clients may contact our office for a free initial consultation one of our experienced attorneys.
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.
What information is in credit denial letters and how can it help you improve your credit score and credit repair? This video will help you learn how to read credit denial letters and use them to get free copies of your credit reports.
You can find more consumer credit information and tips on the Consumer Insider channel. There, Ian breaks down the ways that car dealers, credit bureaus, and debt collectors cheat consumers and violation the law.