by Attorney David Grossack –
When a large, remote and impersonal bureaucracy can make decisions about you that may affect major parts of your life, it clearly does not reflect well on our society. These decisions range from the ability to get a mortgage, an auto loan, a job or the interest you’ll pay on a credit card. But, as every adult knows, the giant credit reporting agencies have that kind of power. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax are the leaders of the industry.
What makes the situation more disgusting and aggravating is that on May 14, 2011, the New York Times (not exactly a scandal tabloid) reported that the credit rating bureaus have a two-track system for resolving errors. One for the rich, well connected and celebrities, and one for everybody else.
All these major agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion keep a “VIP” list that includes judges, politicians, and celebrities. These folks get special consideration in fixing mistakes on their credit reports. Their mistakes are corrected quickly. The rest of us can be sent to voicemail or a call center abroad.
As the Times reported, even for “everybody else,” there is a legal requirement that the agencies do meaningful research and analysis, and it is almost never done.
That’s where lawyers and their clients can recover damages.
When a credit reporting company distributes false, derogatory information that damages you (after they have been asked to correct it and have failed to do so), it is time to speak to a lawyer. There is a good chance that you have a case and can recover damages.
A federal statute, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Title 15 U. S. Code Section 1681 is the chief remedy for violations of consumer rights under this law. It can be litigated in state or federal court. Actual damages (like financial loss or mental anguish) are allowed, as well as punitive damages and legal fees.
The author is a nationally prominent writer and civil litigator. He is the author of How to Win a Lawsuit Without Hiring a Lawyer and recipient of the Lawyer of the Year award from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. He serves as General Counsel for the National Writers Syndicate. Attorney Grossack consults with clients in Hull and Newton, Massachusetts. He can be reached by phone at 617-965-9300 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.