I’ve seen those commercials on TV for businesses where you can get a free credit report. DON’T FALL FOR IT! They’ll charge you a fee for something else before you can get it, and besides, you have a right to a free report from the credit companies without a middleman.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you a right to a free report every 12 months from Equifax, Experion, and TransUnion. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report:
* Go to annualcreditreport.com
* or call 1-877-322-8228
* or print the Annual Credit Report Request Form from ftc.gov/credit and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Click to go to the next page to see the rights you have under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. The copy of your report must contain all the information in your file at the time of your request.
- Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The companies are rolling this out across the country during a nine-month period. By September 2005, consumers from coast to coast will have access to a free annual credit report if they ask for it. For details, see Your Access to Free Credit Reports at ftc.gov/credit.
- Under federal law, you’re also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
- Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.
- You have the right to know who asked for your report within the past year – two years for employment related requests.
- If a company denies your application, you have the right to the name and address of the consumer reporting company they contacted, provided the denial was based on information given by the consumer reporting company.
- If you question the accuracy or completeness of information in your report, you have the right to file a dispute with the consumer reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provided information about you to the consumer reporting company). Both the consumer reporting company and the information provider are obligated to investigate your claim, and responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. For details, see How to Dispute Credit Report Errors at ftc.gov/credit.
- You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction. You also can ask the consumer reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.
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