Fair Credit Reporting

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


How does incorrect information on my credit report affect me? What rights do I have to correctly reported credit information? How can I get my credit report? What can I do if I there is an error on my credit report? This document answers these questions and more.

How does incorrect information on my credit report affect me?

  • You may have to pay higher interest rates.
  • It may keep you from getting a mortgage.
  • It may keep you from getting into some rental housing.
  • You may be denied insurance or have to pay more for it.
  • It may make an employer decide not to hire you.

What rights do I have to have my credit information reported correctly?

  • Federal law requires consumer reporting agencies to report credit information accurately and confidentially.
  • When someone denies you credit, insurance, or employment because of a credit report or another type of consumer problem, they must tell you. They also must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

How can I get my credit report?

  • You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax). That means three free credit reports each year.
  • You can get one or all at the same time by going to www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling Toll-Free 1-877-322-8228.
  • If a bank will not let you open an account due to past banking history, call ChexSystems for a free report. Call Toll-Free 1-800-428-9623.

What can I do if there is an error on my credit report?

  • You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information on your credit report.
  • Report the incomplete or wrong information by writing a letter to the credit reporting agency.
  • Include with your letter a copy of the incorrect portion of the credit report and any documents that help you show that the information is incorrect.
  • If you think that your identity has been stolen, you can request a "fraud alert" be placed on your account. You can ask to have any information that is on your credit report due to an identity theft be blocked from your credit report.
  • The credit reporting agency should get you an answer in 30 days. It has to repond in no more than 45 days.
  • The agency must correct any information that is inaccurate or that can no longer be verified. They may have to delete some information from your credit file.
  • If the credit reporting agency changes information on your credit report as a result of your request, ask the agency for a free updated credit report. You are entitled to get one for free.

AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. This website provides information on your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online HERE.

Last Review and Update: Dec 03, 2019
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