Someone did a hard credit inquiry on me without my permission. What are my legal rights?
If you didn't consent to a credit search, you've likely got remedies under the FCRA.
For whatever reason, sometimes creditors or other entities do a "hard" credit inquiry on a consumer without that consumer's consent. This is an "impermissible" inquiry, it is illegal, and you've got legal rights and remedies available to you under Federal Law.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) is the federal statute that was created to ensure accuracy and privacy of consumer information. Its intended to protect consumers from the distribution of incorrect information and their privacy. It also sets forth who is allowed to pull reports and when the access is "permissible."
Credit reports are private. Not just anyone can pull that information until you give consent. Some entities or individuals have permission to access your report, such as your bank or credit card company, landlords, utilities companies, insurers, employers, and collection agencies, if you gave such consent..
But consent is limited and just because the FCRA grants someone the right to access your credit report does not mean they can pull it at any time. In fact, the FCRA has stringent guidelines on the permissible purposes to access consumer credit reports, as well as what constitute impermissible purposes. In this regard, the following constitute "permissible purposes":
application for credit
employment background checks (with express written consent from the consumer)
application for insurance
existing creditor reviewing your current status
collection agency for a creditor
When someone accesses your report without your permission or without one of the proper purposes above, they violate the FCRW and you're entitled to damages. Examples of impermissible searches include:
- employer, potential or existing pulls your credit report without your express written consent
- creditor with whom you have a closed and paid account accesses your credit file
- creditor for an account on which you were only an “authorized user” pulls your report
- a collection agency to whom you do not owe any debt accesses your credit file
- a creditor with whom you have not applied for credit accesses your credit file.
- a creditor whom you had a debt with that was discharged in bankruptcy pulls your report.
- a financial institution that accesses a report for promotional purposes, but does not make a firm offer of credit.
If someone has pulled your credit report without your consent, give us a call at (509) 381-5091 or use our contact form below to speak with a lawyer about your rights.