Credit Reporting & Credit Repair
Credit bureaus keep and report credit information about consumers. Much of this information concerns whether a consumer's accounts have been paid on time. These files often refer to any public records about the consumer, such as judgments, tax liens, or other credit-related information. These credit reports are often used by businesses, in deciding whether to lend money or to give some other benefit to the consumer, such as employment.
- You, the consumer, have the right to be told if information in your credit report is used against you. The person must also give you the name, address, and telephone number of the credit bureau that provided the consumer report.
- You have the right to find out what is in your credit report.
Arizona Consumers can now request a free annual credit report from all three credit reporting companies. The Arizona Attorney General's Office recommends that consumers request the three reports throughout the year (one every four months).
To obtain your free annual credit report from the three credit reporting companies, you will need to provide your correct: name, address, social security number, and date of birth. This information is required to verify your identity and to protect the sensitive information contained within your credit report. Consumers who have moved recently may be asked to provide their previous address. If the credit reporting company needs more information to verify that they are speaking to the right person, they may ask you for further information that only you would know – for instance, the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. You should know that it is possible that not all three of the credit reporting companies will show identical information when reporting on your credit history. So, there is value in checking your credit report with each individual credit reporting company.
Keep in mind that you may be entitled, under federal law, to additional free credit reports if a company takes adverse actions against you (like denying your credit application or employment application) based upon negative reporting by the credit reporting company. In those instances, you must request your report within 60 days from when you received notice of the adverse action. You may also seek an additional free credit report from credit reporting companies if you are unemployed and plan to look for a job in the next 60 days; if you are on welfare or if your report is inaccurate due to fraud or identity theft.
Consumers can request the credit reports by mail, phone or online at:
To purchase a copy of your credit report:
Equifax Information Service Center
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
|Experian (formerly TRW)
Trans Union Corp. Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390.
A copy of your credit report will cost approximately $8.00 to $11.00.
Some companies offer to help consumers "clean up" their credit reports or their credit history. However, the only time anyone can remove anything from your credit report is when the data is outdated or inaccurate. Accurate negative information may not be legally removed. If you find inaccurate information in your credit history, you should contact the credit reporting company to notify them of the inaccuracy, as well as the business that provided the inaccurate report to the credit reporting company. You may want to provide evidence of the inaccuracy of the report, which the credit reporting companies are to investigate with the business reporting the inaccurate information. If the investigation shows that the report is inaccurate, the credit reporting agency must remove the inaccurate information and notify the other two credit reporting agencies of the inaccuracy as well. If the investigation concludes that the information is accurate and you still dispute that claim, then you may ask the credit reporting company to include a “statement of dispute” on your credit report regarding that information; there may be a cost associated with this “statement of dispute,” service.
- You can usually remove inaccurate information from your credit report on your own at low or no cost.
- Credit repair scams that involve "file segregation" or hiding unfavorable credit history are often illegal.
- Credit repair companies are required to provide consumers with complete information about the services they will provide. They may not charge a fee until after services have been provided.
In addition, federal law also prohibits for-profit credit repair companies from taking any money or other compensation from you before they have completed their services and requires that these companies give you a detailed statement of your rights, and a notice that allows you to cancel your contract within three business days, no questions asked.
Violators of these laws may be subject to federal and state civil and criminal prosecution. You may also have a right to sue them in state or federal court.