Have you ever been denied a bank or credit union loan, had an apartment application denied, or stood red-faced and sweating as the supermarket cashier says your debit card has been declined? If so, you know that financial and credit-related issues can be embarrassing and anxiety-inducing. But did you realize that you could be compensated if there’s an error on your credit report?
What Errors Might Be On a Credit Report?
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to credit reports that are held to a standard of “maximum possible accuracy.” Unfortunately, that’s a bar that many credit reports cannot clear because of commonly seen credit report errors such as:
- Inaccurate delinquencies. Your report might show paid-off, closed accounts as still open and owing, or your payment amounts may be wrong
- Duplicate debts that make it look like you owe more than you really do
- Incorrect information such as account balances or credit limits
- Mixed-file or merged file errors. In these situations, information from another person’s report is mistakenly included in yours
It’s not easy to get these glitches fixed. You’ll be dealing with bureaucracy, red tape, uncaring customer-service agents, and massive institutions where information plods at a snail’s pace.
Emotional Distress Is Real and Valid
When a plaintiff has successfully been awarded damages in a personal injury case against a negligent party, that person, their lawyer, and the news media often use the phrase “pain and suffering.” This is a broad term that refers to all types of harm—physical, emotional, and mental. A more specific type of suffering is “mental anguish” (aka “emotional distress”). It falls under the category of “pain and suffering” but excludes any injury, condition, or illness that is physiological in nature.
Mental anguish can refer to humiliation, anxiety, anguish, insomnia, and depression. While some hard-hearted, tough-as-nails types might see these as “only emotions” and perhaps feel that compensation isn’t necessary, anyone who has experienced emotional problems after a traumatic event understands just how truly agonizing they can be.
Finances, Credit, and Compensation
An individual’s financial status may already be a source of serious concern. Over 50% of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck, and the fear or depression associated with this way of life can significantly affect that person’s overall well-being. The situation is even worse when they see an error on one of their credit reports and must struggle—for months or even years—to get the issue resolved. The good news? These folks—and you—might very well qualify for compensation for their debilitating mental anguish.
Steps to Take If You Find an Error
After you spot the glitch on your report, take the following steps as soon as possible:
- Contact the applicable credit bureau to apprise them of the error
- Contact the credit card issuer or financial institution if the mistake originated on their end
- Check your reports from all three major credit agencies to ascertain that the others are error-free
- Wait and check for updates. Now comes the waiting game. The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute, after which you’ll be notified of the results
Understand that even if the outcome is in your favor, you may still be dealing with the effects of the error for some time. It can take a while for the agency to update your report—which means your mental anguish isn’t necessarily finished. At this point, no matter what the results of the bureau’s investigation, it’s time to bring in the pros and start the process of suing for emotional suffering.
Legal Help Is Invaluable
The last and most promising step to take? Hire an attorney who has helped other consumers repair their erroneous credit reports and restore their financial reputations. A lawyer specializing in credit report errors will be able to resolve the problem much more quickly and thoroughly than you ever could on your own. They’ll fight for your compensation every step of the way and keep you updated throughout the process.
If you need legal help dealing with credit report glitches, contact the Law Office of Adam G. Singer at (212) 842-2428. We’ll evaluate your case for free and with no obligation.