Both the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, codified at 15 U.S.C. SS1681-1681x) and the State of California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCCRAA, codified at Calif. Civil Code SS 1785.1-1785.36) provide consumers with certain protections concerning the fairness and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies ("CRA"). For negligent violations of the Acts, a consumer may recover under both the FCRA and the CCCRAA actual money lost by the consumer arising from the violations, plus attorney's fees and costs for bringing the lawsuit. For willful violations of either Act, however, a consumer may recover statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation under the Federal Act and up to $5,000 per violation under the State Act, as well as attorney's fees and costs, and possibly punitive damages. Because the attorney's fees and costs are guaranteed to be paid by the defendant found in violation, then it may cost you NOTHING to file this lawsuit.
Below are some common violations of these Acts. The violations listed below might also trigger violations of other laws, such as the Federal and Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts.
- Common Violations by a Credit Reporting Agency:
- CRA fails to a perform reasonable investigation into disputed items or fails to delete disputed items from consumer's file before the end of the 30-day period (or 45 days in some cases) beginning on the date on which the CRA receives the notice of the dispute from the consumer.
- CRA reinserts a removed item from consumer's credit report without notifying consumer in writing within 5 business days.
- CRA reports outdated information on a consumer credit file (e.g. bankruptcies older than 10 years, judgments older than 7 years, etc).
- CRA fails to notify debt collector that the debt is the result of identity theft.
- Common Violations by an entity that furnishes information to the CRAs:
- Furnisher reports information to a CRA with actual knowledge of errors.
- Furnisher fails to provide a notice of dispute to any CRA where consumer has provided notice that the alleged debt is disputed.
- Furnisher fails to provide CRA with notice that an account has been closed.
- Furnisher fails to conduct a reasonable investigation into the account upon receiving notification from a CRA that the reported information is in dispute.