A credit report is far more important to everyday life than many assume. Most people that have ever had a loan or credit card know that the score in their report dictates the chances of getting credit and the interest rate, but the importance of your score is far wider-reaching. Virtually anything that involves your finances may involve your score, including accommodation and insurance. A poor score may make borrowing more expensive, while an extremely bad one might make it next to impossible to obtain credit of any type.
Sometimes, things happen. Debts increase, and you might not be able to pay according to the agreed schedule. Creditors are rarely shy about adding negative information to your file, although lenders are not always so quick to process a dispute, leaving you with a long-lasting error or inaccurate information.
Such is the importance of your score that you are legally protected at a federal level, but that does not always mean that lenders will be overly quick at dealing with clients. If you’ve raised a dispute or you require broader credit repair, then our Lenexa, KS attorneys are standing by to help.
Bell Law, LLC – Your Kansas Consumer Protection Lawyers
At Bell Law, LLC, we specialize in ensuring that residents of Lenexa, KS, Overland Park, Kansas City and surrounding areas have the legal support they need to keep their finances in order. We provide advice and guidance and draw not only on financial litigation but a range of related practice areas to ensure you are never unfairly penalized by a credit reporting agency.
We can also help with more severe financial issues, such as bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy lawyers can help ensure you have everything in order before the bankruptcy process begins, ensuring you avoid costly mistakes that can make it far more difficult than it needs to be.
Our service begins with a free consultation with a specialist attorney, where we can help clients establish the nature of their issues and the best course of action. From there, we can review your credit report for errors and inaccuracies and spearhead various types of remedial action.
Contact our office covering Lenexa, KS today at 816-281-0649.
Why Your Credit Report Matters
Most lenders require more than just reassurance from consumers that they are capable of repaying any debt they take on. A credit report provides them with a relative score to give them a high degree of confidence in the decisions they make. As noted, this might not only involve extending a line of credit but the amount charged in interest and fees to cover their risk.
Consumer credit scores are based on a number of different factors, which a rating service will combine into a total score. Broadly speaking, your credit score is based on:
- Your repayment history across bank accounts and debts, including information on missed or late payments that were referred to collection agencies
- The outstanding amount owed to creditors on debts
- How long you have had a credit history – it is typically more difficult and expensive to obtain credit for the first time, as businesses have no historical guidance
- The number of new accounts and recent searches may indicate desperation or unforeseen circumstances
- The types of credit agreements you have
While oversimplifying the nature of a credit report, consumers that maintain manageable balances and make their payments on time will have an easier time obtaining the cheaper credit they seek in the future than someone that has a history of financial difficulties.
While everything works automatically in theory, it may not do so in practice. An error in your social security number or a late payment you have no knowledge of may make banks wary. In the most severe cases, fraud and identity theft may result in someone having a far lower credit score than they might have expected.
Fortunately, the law surrounding inaccurate information is clear, and a Bell Law, LLC attorney will help you dispute inaccuracies, even if it turns into a legal issue.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act in Kansas
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) came into being in 1970, ensuring that not only residents of Lenexa, KS, and Kansas City enjoyed additional protections around their credit report, but everyone throughout the United States. As a federal law, it ensures that creditors and businesses throughout the country have a framework to which they must adhere if they wish to process transactions based on a consumer credit file.
Your Rights According to the FCRA
The Act is complex and far-reaching, and our attorneys will help you understand how it applies to your particular situation. However, there are some aspects of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that all consumers with debt should be aware of.
Your Right to Review Your Credit Report
The FCRA dictates that every credit reporting agency must furnish people on whom they hold a report with a free copy once per year upon request. While it is possible to pay for a copy at any time, the annual version makes for an ideal opportunity to maintain a schedule of checking your file for errors.
The Right to Dispute Inaccuracies
The credit reporting system in the US would not work if consumers had free reign over their files and the ability to add or remove information at will. After all, high debt levels or even bankruptcy could be hidden or removed upon request. However, anyone that can contribute information to a credit report is legally obliged to give the report owner the opportunity to dispute errors.
Again, this might involve incorrect information. It could also cover an old debt that is no longer considered relevant after a certain date.
If something appears incorrect when you access your credit file, and the debt owner refuses to adjust that information, it may become a legal issue. As such, it is worth speaking to a lawyer from a reputable law firm who can not only provide advice and guidance but also provide counsel all the way through to a court judgment if necessary.
Limits on Who Can Access Your Credit Reports
As already established, credit reports are incredibly important, and it makes sense not only to pay attention to them but to keep them as confidential as possible. The Fair Credit Reporting Act legally ensures that only those with a justifiable reason may access it. In practice, that generally extends to anyone with whom you have entered a credit agreement.
Companies must also seek permission to check your score. This makes sense, given that a search alone can potentially have a negative impact on your report.
This may form part of the application process, or you may give permission in other ways. However, companies cannot merely check scores at random to market credit cards or loans on a preapproved basis.
Any breach of the FCRA can be a reason to involve attorneys in your case, especially if you have suffered any kind of loss or penalty due to the breach.
How Our Lawyers Can Be of Help
Whether you need help with debt relief, are planning a bankruptcy filing, or have any other concerns in Lenexa, KS, our outstanding lawyers are standing by to help. Even if you know there’s a problem, but you’re unsure exactly what it might be, our law firm can carry out independent research on your behalf to establish the facts and take the right course of action.
Our team has reached the highest standards of professional achievement, and peer recognition in financial litigation and other practice areas, and our lawyers can ensure that our combined expertise and experience are at your disposal.
Speak To Attorneys From Bell Law, LLC Today
Credit reporting does not need to be complex, and even bankruptcy does not need to be a complete financial disaster. Whether you need bankruptcy lawyers to assist with the process or you’ve been a victim of identity theft, our law firm can provide the attorney you need to make life as easy as possible.
The Bell Law, LLC offices cover Kansas City, Overland Park, Lenexa, KS, and surrounding areas, so our lawyers are on hand when and where you need us.
The process begins with a phone call and a free consultation, so if you need help with bankruptcy or related practice areas, call us today at 816-281-0649.