Atlanta Equifax Credit Report Errors Lawyer
Experienced Equifax Credit Report Error Attorneys In Atlanta, Georgia
Equifax is one of the “Big Three” consumer reporting agencies (the other two are Experian and Trans Union). Equifax sells credit reports that contain your personal credit and financial history. Companies use Equifax credit reports to evaluate your eligibility for loans, credit, mortgages, insurance, employment, housing, and other decisions. It is important for you to check your Equifax credit report, to make sure that it is accurate and complete. Also, your credit report can be a powerful tool to detect identity theft. Having an accurate Equifax credit report is critical for your financial life. When there is an error on your Equifax credit report, you should consider contacting an attorney to help. This is especially true when you have disputed, and Equifax has failed to fix the inaccuracy. If you have disputed with Equifax, and the error was not corrected, then your only option may be to file a lawsuit. The Atlanta Equifax credit report error lawyers at Weiner & Sand LLC offer free consultations to review your Equifax credit report, and when needed file a lawsuit on your behalf.
How To Read Your Equifax Credit Report
While the format and organization of the reports may vary, your Equifax credit report is typically organized as follows:
Personal Information: This section will include your name, prior names you’ve used, current and previous addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, birthdates, and employment history. This section can often reveal signs of identity theft, fraud, or a mixed file. Be on the lookout for names or addresses you do not recognize, a social security number that does not belong to you, or other suspicious information that does not match your information.
Public Records: This section will include public record information about you, including bankruptcies, judgments, liens, lawsuits, and foreclosures.
Accounts In Good Standing: This section includes all of your accounts that have not been defaulted on or sent to collections. Your credit report will include detailed information about each account, including:
- The name/address of the creditors
- The status of the account (open, closed, transferred, charged-off, etc.)
- Type of account (credit card, student loan, etc.)
- Your relationship to the account (owner, authorized user, joint owner)
- Balance/payment information
- History of payment
You should pay careful attention to the payment history information to make sure it does not show any errors or inaccuracies, such as missed payments when you did make payments.
Adverse Accounts / Potentially Negative Items: The negative information section lists accounts that have not been paid as agreed, have been sent to collections, or have been listed in the bankruptcy. You should carefully review any negative information to make sure it is accurate. Negative information generally will stay on your credit report for seven years, and bankruptcies for 10 years.
Inquiries: Your credit reports will list each time some third party has checked your credit report. Inquiries are usually separated into two categories: hard inquiries and soft inquiries. Hard inquiries occur when you authorize an entity to check your credit file as part of an application. Soft inquiries occur when you check your own credit or third-party checks your credit report to send you a promotional offer. Hard inquiries can temporarily impact your credit score, and soft inquiries do not. If you see inquiries that you are not familiar with, this could be a sign of identity theft or an impermissible pull of your credit report.
Personal Statement: You have the right to add a personal statement to your credit report. This may help you explain the information in your file to potential creditors. Consumers often use the personal statement to explain negative information such as the reasons for late or missed payments, to point out inaccuracies in the report, or to highlight a disputed account.
Types of Errors On Equifax Credit Reports
You should review your Equifax credit report for any information that is inaccurate or that does not belong to you. Here are some of the typical inaccuracies consumers encounter:
- Mixed Files. A mixed file occurs when information that belongs to a different person appears on your credit report. Signs of a mixed file can include accounts that you do not recognize appearing on your credit report, personal information that does not belong to you, and inquiries from businesses you don’t recognize.
- Identity Theft. The signs of identity theft can be similar to those of a mixed file. ID theft can appear as accounts that do not belong to you appearing on your credit report, unexpected changes in your credit reports, collections account for accounts you never opened, and addresses or phone numbers you do not recognize.
- Account Information Inaccuracies. This can include incorrect payment history (reporting you missed a payment when you did not); incorrect account status (e.g., closed accounts being reported as “charged off”); reporting an incorrect date of first delinquency, and reporting negative information that is older than seven years.
- Inaccurate Public Records. The public records in your credit report must belong to you and must be accurate. You should watch out for civil lawsuits that you were not a party to; civil judgments that are older than seven years; bankruptcies you did not file; tax liens you paid more than seven years ago; evictions that are not yours; and non-conviction criminal records that are older than seven years (charges, arrests, etc.).
- Fraudulent Inquiries. If you do not recognize an inquiry, this could be a sign of fraud or identity theft. It could also indicate that a third party ordered a copy of your consumer report without a permissible purpose to do so.
Disputing Errors On Your Equifax Credit Report
If you find an error on your Equifax credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that Equifax investigate and correct any disputed inaccurate information. Follow these steps to dispute an error on your Equifax credit report:
Step 1. Choose How to Dispute
You can dispute online, by mail, or by phone. Disputing by mail with a written letter sent by certified mail allows you to retain a copy of your dispute for your records, as well as proof of mailing.
By Phone: (800) 864-2978
By Mail: Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
Step 2: What To Include In Your Dispute
Your dispute should clearly (1) list each item of information that is inaccurate, (2) explain why it is inaccurate, and (3) identify how it should be corrected. If possible, include supporting documentation for your dispute and refer to that documentation in your letter.
If you have questions about how to write a dispute, the Atlanta Equifax credit report error lawyers at Weiner & Sand LLC are happy to assist you through the process. We do not charge for these services.
Here is a sample that you can use for your dispute:
Your date of birth
To: [Equifax / Experian / TransUnion]
Address of CRA
Dear [Name of CRA]
I am writing to dispute the following inaccurate information on my [Equifax or Experian or TransUnion] consumer report:
[Identify inaccurate information, including account name or number]
[Explain the reason for the dispute and why it is inaccurate]
[Explain how it should be reported or corrected]
I have enclosed documents supporting my dispute. [Explain how documents support your dispute].
Step 3: Review The Results
Equifax should send you the results of its investigation within 30 days. There are generally three outcomes to a dispute: (1) Equifax deletes or corrects the disputed information; (2) Equifax modifies the disputed information; or (3) Equifax refuses to correct the inaccuracies. If Equifax deletes or changes an item of information, it cannot put the disputed information back into your report unless it provides you with a written notice first. This is called “reinsertion,” and it could violate your rights under the FCRA.
If Equifax does not correct or remove the inaccurate information, you can request Equifax to include a statement explaining the dispute in your credit file. This statement will be included in future reports sent by Equifax.
Step 4: Consult A Lawyer
If you cannot get an error fixed after sending a dispute, we recommend you consult with a lawyer to discuss your options. Our Atlanta Equifax credit report error lawyers have experienced FCRA attorneys who can help guide you through the dispute process, and help you recover any losses or damages caused by inaccuracies on your credit reports.
What Kinds Of Damages Can You Recover In A Lawsuit Against Equifax?
The types of damages recoverable in a lawsuit vary depending on the specific facts of your case. The attorneys at Weiner & Sand LLC offer free consultations and can discuss any questions you have about a lawsuit against Equifax for credit report problems, including the damages you can recover. With that said, damages in a credit report lawsuit generally fall into the following categories:
Economic Damages. Economic damages include any financial loss suffered as a result of the inaccurate credit report, including loan denials, lowered credit limits, raised interest rates, and any other economic loss. Sometimes an error on your credit report can so badly damage your credit report that you choose not to apply for credit. This can also be a form of economic damage.
Emotional Distress. Credit report errors can cause debilitating stress. Oftentimes this is the most significant damage people suffer in FCRA cases. Every person’s emotional distress is different. Here are common experiences many people go through:
- Stress about a credit denial
- Stress about the inability to correct the error after disputing
- Humiliation about the inaccurate information
- Anxiety about how to fix your credit report
- Lost sleep
- Depression and sadness
- Lost appetite
- Loss of interest in hobbies or other activities
- Worry that the credit report will cause future job losses
- Worry that the credit report may be responsible for prior loan denials
- Frustration about a damaged reputation
Lost Time. The time spent trying to fix the harm caused by an inaccurate background report is compensable. People can lose many hours trying to repair the harm caused by an inaccurate background report. This includes time drafting dispute letters, disputing over phone calls, speaking with potential employers, talking to court clerks, applying for other jobs, and trying to contain the harm of the erroneous background check. This is time that could have been spent doing things you enjoy, and it is a recoverable type of damage in an FCRA lawsuit.
Statutory Damages. The FCRA allows consumers to recover statutory damages ranging from $100 to $1,000.
Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are awarded to deter future bad conduct by a defendant. The FCRA specifies that punitive damages are available when a defendant’s FCRA violation was willful. It includes instances where the defendant intentionally violated the FCRA as well as when it acts in disregard of the law. The size of a punitive damages award is affected by many factors including the harm to consumers by the defendant’s conduct, the defendant’s net worth, and the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct.
How Do I Choose An Attorney For An Equifax Credit Report Error?
Choosing the right lawyer for your credit report lawsuit is a difficult decision. Here are some considerations:
Experience. Does your lawyer have significant experience litigating FCRA cases? The attorneys at Weiner & Sand have been lead counsel in over 100 FCRA cases, including single-plaintiff lawsuits, class actions, and arbitrations. We are former defense lawyers who defended consumer reporting agencies and employers in FCRA lawsuits. That experience is invaluable in our current practice, where we only represent individuals against the consumer reporting agencies and employers.
Results. Does the lawyer have a track record of success, including taking cases to trial? We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in FCRA litigation. This includes confidential settlement and jury trials. Most cases settle. That is the reality of litigation. However, if a defendant refuses to settle your case for an amount that fully compensates you, then you want to retain an attorney who is willing and capable of going to trial. The Atlanta Equifax credit report error lawyers at Weiner & Sand have significant trial and arbitration experience.
Recognized by the legal community. Our FCRA attorneys have been named Super Lawyers from 2015 through 2021, a peer-nominated award given to less than 2.5% of lawyers. They have also been recipients of awards for trial excellence, including awards from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. In addition to these honors, our attorneys have been selected as speakers and authors on Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation at numerous national legal conferences including conferences held by the National Association of Consumer Advocates (multiple presentations), the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (multiple presentations), the Privacy & Technology Law Section of the Georgia Bar, the Georgia Justice Project (multiple presentations), and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. We have also been retained as amicus counsel on behalf of the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Advocates to advocate for consumers’ rights in FCRA class actions. Contact us today!