Law in Plain Language: Credit Reporting
Have you ever had difficulty getting your credit report or disagreed with the information on the report? Thanks to a new law, your rights to obtain your credit report and to correct inaccurate information are now significantly stronger .
Effective October 1, 1995, Connecticut residents gained greater power to correct their credit reports - quickly and at less cost. The law was the result of three years of effort by my office and other consumer advocates. The law does the following:
- Requires that your credit report be made available to you for a maximum charge of $5.00 for the first credit report -one of the lowest charges in the country - and $7.50 for additional requests in the same 12-month period. If you are denied credit because of a bad report, you still are entitled to receive a copy of your report - at no charge.
- Provides you with the right to receive a clear and concise explanation of all information on your credit report.
- Requires credit reporting agencies to provide you with a written summary of consumers' rights under state and federal consumer credit reporting laws.
- Gives you 60 days, rather than the previous level of 30 days, to request a free copy of your credit report once you have been notified of a creditors adverse action.
Why are these protections necessary?
Because your credit report can be an insurmountable hurdle to fulfilling many of your life's plans. Your report provides a comprehensive view of your financial dealings for as many as 10 years with a compilation of information gathered from banks, credit unions, department stores, landlords and any business that extends you credit.
If your credit report is wrong, the consequences may be severe: being rejected for a mortgage for a home purchase or even a small line of credit on a credit card; or even having difficulty renting an apartment. Many times inaccurate credit reports are the result of data entry problems, mismatched credit histories or poor bookkeeping by businesses reporting a delinquency.
With these rights, you can protect yourself by making sure your credit report is accurate and by quickly correcting any inaccuracies. If you have a problem with your credit report company, don't hesitate to challenge your claim. Bad credit history can bar you from making future purchases. You should correct your credit report before you attempt to make a major purchase -- not when you make that purchase. For more information, please read "How to Spot Credit Repair Scams and Correct Your Credit History Yourself".
For Copies of Credit Reports, please read "What's in Your Credit Report".