What the Fair Credit Reporting Act means for consumers

In the past, there have been some questionable practices from various creditors, but luckily, legislators were on consumers' side when they created the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is a federal law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission that involves the collection of your credit information.

Consumer reporting agencies, which give your financial information to credit bureaus so they can determine your FICO score, are required by law to do a number of things – the first of which is to verify that the information listed on your account is correct. You also have an obligation to make sure that there are no errors on your credit report that could contribute to a bad credit history, and are allowed free access to one report each year.

When a consumer files a dispute against an item on their credit report and it is later removed, the negative mark is not allowed to be re-added to the report unless the consumer is given five days notice in a written document.

Also under this law, late payments, tax liens, judgements, bankruptcies and other negative information cannot remain on your report for more than 10 years.