On consumer credit reports, there is a section entitled “credit inquiries.” Included in this section is a list of names or companies to which the credit reporting agency has supplied access to the credit report. Many consumers will not recognize the names listed under credit inquiries on their credit report but will assume the inquiries are lawful. But in truth, many of the companies who requested and received access to a consumer’s credit report, may not have had a legally permissible reason to do so.
Credit reports (and other “consumer reports”) are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). One of the numerous prohibitions included in the FCRA is that people using, accessing, or obtaining a consumer’s credit report must have a lawful purpose for gaining access. The statute goes on to list several identifiable, permissible purposes including the consumer’s request in writing to provide access, in connection with a credit transaction, in connection with an employment situation, or another “legitimate business need.”
If an individual or company makes a credit inquiry without a permissible purpose, it is damaging to the consumer in several ways.
Too many credit inquiries can damage a consumer’s credit and lower their credit score.
Damaged consumer credit and lower credit scores can result in denied credit applications or bad financing terms on loans, etc.
Impermissible credit report access is a breach of the consumer’s privacy, offering third-party access to sensitive and confidential information.
Unauthorized access and ineffective security of credit reports and info increase consumers’ susceptibility to identity theft and data breaches.
Impermissible access to a consumer credit report is a breach of consumer rights punishable per FCRA. Negligent actions by companies can result in consumers awarded with damages plus attorney’s fees and costs. In situations where illegal access was accomplished willfully, the company can also be held liable for statutory damages up to $1,000 as well as punitive damages. In some cases, consumers whose FCRA rights have been violated join together in a class action lawsuit to make sure the unauthorized third party puts a stop to the unlawful practice.
If you have discovered inaccurate information or unauthorized inquiries on our credit report, contact Aronow Law PC. We represent consumers like you in actions brought under the FCRA. We can help you dispute inaccurate information and seek damages for any unauthorized inquiries on your credit report.