Consumer Protection
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How to Protect Yourself: Fair Credit Reporting
Source: Florida Attorney General's Office

If you have ever applied for a credit card, bank loan, insurance, or even a job, someone is probably keeping a file on you. This file includes such varied information as "have you been arrested" to "when you pay your bills". Credit Reporting Agencies gather and sell this information. Many consumers, however, are not aware these files exist or that they can get a copy and review the information contained within the file.

If you are denied credit:
the name of the agency that gave the information must be supplied to you. However, more than one agency probably has a file on you. Consult you local phone book, under either "credit" or "credit rating and reporting" to determine the agencies operating in your area.

You have a right:
to REVIEW the credit report and DISPUTE any errors that appear. Contact each agency listed and request a copy of your credit report.

If your credit application was denied because of:
information supplied by the agency and you request the report within 30 days of the denial, the information is FREE. Otherwise, the agency may charge a reasonable fee.

If the information is wrong:
send a written letter to each agency explaining the errors and that these need to be corrected immediately.

The agency must reinvestigate the items in question. If the new investigation reveals an error, then a corrected version will be sent to you.

If the new investigation does not resolve the dispute:
request the agency to keep a summary of your version of the disputed information in your file and in future reports.

To report violations of the law:
contact the Federal Trade Commission at Correspondence Branch, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580. Your local consumer protection agency or the Florida Attorney General's Office may be able to assist.