Credit Blog


What is a consumer report?

Posted by Brett D. Sherman | Oct 11, 2021

When you obtain your credit report from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion (or any of the many other consumer reporting agencies (CRAs)), you receive a "consumer report" as that term is defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA is the main federal statute that governs consumer reports and the credit reporting industry, including how to proceed when there are errors on your credit report.  Many states also have an analogous statute.  For instance, there is a New York Fair Credit Reporting Act (NY FCRA).  

Pursuant to the FCRA, the definition of "consumer report" -- set forth at FCRA § 1681a(d)  -- covers far more than your Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion credit reports.  

The FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(d), specifically defines the term "consumer report": 

any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for(a) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; (b) employment purposes; or (c) any other purpose authorized under Section 1681b [of the FCRA].” 

For instance, reports that potential creditors obtain about you from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion when those potential creditors 'check your credit' are consumer reports. Background check reports that employers obtain about you are also consumer reports.  The same goes for landlord background checks concerning your criminal or rental payment histories.  You have a right to accurate consumer reports published about you.  You should contact Sherman & Ticchio (click here) for a free case evaluation If your credit reports or other consumer reports include inaccurate information.   

About the Author

Brett D. Sherman

In 2020, 2021, and  2022, Brett was selected by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers as a "Top-Rated Consumer Law Attorney in New York, NY."

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