Credit FAQS

You can find answers to your questions by reading the sections below.

There are no up-front costs or attorney fees to pay when you submit your case for review .

We take all our cases on contingency, meaning that we only get paid when you are awarded a settlement from the courts. Which also means, that we are going to fight as hard as we can to make sure you win your case!

You won’t know what kind of settlement you may be entitled to unless you ask! It all depends on the details of your case.

Some people are entitled to damages of up to $1,000 per violation reported in the case.

If you can prove actual damages (financial or for pain and suffering), there is no limit to how large your settlement can get. Attorney’s fees are also usually included as part of your settlement.

Your credit report is divided up into several sections:

  • Personal Information: (Name, prior names, current and former addresses, social security number, date of birth, current or former phone numbers, employer information).
  • Public Records: (Bankruptcies, civil judgments, tax liens, etc.).
  • Accounts: (Mortgages, loans, auto financing, credit cards, etc.). Accounts can be classified as “satisfactory” (paid as agreed, never late) or “derogatory” (30, 60, or 90 days late, charged off, collections).

The FICO scoring system is the most widely used and accepted in today’s marketplace. On this scoring model, any score above 750 is considered excellent – giving you access to the best financing at the lowest rates.

  • A score between 700 and 749 is good – you will still get good financing offers.
  • Scores between 650 and 699 are classified as fair – you may still be offered credit, but will have to pay higher rates and fees.
  • A score between 550 – 649 is considered poor – you are not likely to be offered credit and when you are, it will be at very high interest rates.
  • And scores below 550 are considered bad – you are not likely to have access to credit.

Credit report errors come from a few main sources, the most obvious of which is identity theft. If you suspect someone has used your identity to apply for credit, contact the credit reporting agencies right away.

There are certain fraud alerts you can add to your account while you work with the reporting agencies to clean up your report. (Of course, if you are not getting the results you expect, contact us for an FCRA violations lawsuit evaluation.)

Many other credit report errors are the result of mixed files. This happens when someone else’s data is put on your credit report because of an error in the social security number or name. It can occur when a creditor sends information to the credit reporting agencies or during the data entry process. For example, if your name is Betsy Jonson, debts from Elizabeth Jonson or Betsy Johnson (with an “h”), may appear on your report in error. Obsolete (out of date) records and inaccurate public record information are also significant sources of credit reporting errors.

To challenge an error you find on your credit report, you must submit a Validation Request in writing by certified mail to the credit reporting agency on whose report you find the error (have Samuel provide a sample letter).

According to the FCRA, the credit reporting agencies have 30 days to conduct a “reasonable” investigation. If you do not hear back from the credit reporting agency, or they deny your request to remove the error, you may be a victim of FCRA rights violations.

Believe it or not, many of the disputes received by the credit reporting companies are shipped overseas to case “agents” who skim over your documentation and convert it to a two-digit code in a computer system. These codes are shorthand for things like “never late”, “not mine”, or “already paid”. This code is then transmitted to the original creditor for review.

They make a determination based on their records and, until very recently, never even saw your original documentation. The creditors then send a response to the credit reporting agency that the record is either “validated” or not. No evidence is required. And since the credit reporting companies make money by selling data back to those very same creditors, they give them the benefit of the doubt every time. Even if you have canceled checks, account data, and written statements from others, the record may end up staying on your credit report if the creditor says the record is accurate.

These abuses are the very reason why the attorney Sam Rael started the Fair Credit Initiative.

FCRA stands for the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

First enacted in 1970, the FCRA established what is allowed to be on your credit report and who has access to your credit data. Violations of the FCRA are grounds for filing suit in federal court. Learn more about the FCRA in this PDF document from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FDCPA is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Established in 1962, the FCDPA outlines your specific rights when it comes to debt collection practices. Violations of the FDCPA are grounds for filing a lawsuit in state court. Learn more about the FDCPA on the FTC’s Website.

The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission.

Since 1914, this agency of the United States government has been responsible for promoting consumer protection and preventing corporations from abusing their powers. Learn more about the FTC here.

The CFBP is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Established in 2010 in response to concerns about consumer abuses, the CFPB protects consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices (specifically related to financial services like banking, credit cards, and debt collection) and takes action against companies that break the law. Learn more about the CFBP.

Is there a statute of limitations on when I can sue the credit reporting companies for FCRA violations?

Yes. FCRA cases must be filed with the courts within 2 years of when you first discover the error on your credit report OR no more than 5 years after the initial date of the violation. It is definitely in your best interest to report any errors as soon as you find them. Contact us immediately if one of the credit reporting agencies refuses to correct an error or you suspect any other FCRA violations.

Absolutely. We respect your privacy and take every necessary precaution in the transmission and storage of your personal and case-related information. Our online forms are transmitted using SSL secure protocols and data is stored on a separate, secure server.

How long does it take for you to decide if I have a case, and if I do, how long does it take to get a settlement?

If you supply sufficient documentation, we can usually determine fairly quickly if we are able to take your FCRA rights violation case. It takes, maybe a few days up to a week at most. As far as how long it takes for you to receive your settlement, that has more to do with the court calendar and the number of violations involved in your case. Once we accept your case, we will keep you informed about your case’s progress every step of the way.

Nothing. We only take cases we believe we have a reasonable chance of winning. All your attorney fees will be covered by your settlement.

Yes. Fair Credit Reporting Act violation cases are heard in federal courts.

No. The Fair Credit Initiative is a consumer advocacy and legal support organization. We do not conduct credit repair services on behalf of our clients. We will, however, supply you with the information and wording needed to attempt to dispute any errors you find on your credit report.