Credit Blog


What is the Purpose of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

Posted by Brett D. Sherman | Jun 16, 2021

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted to protect consumers because Congress recognized, as early as 1970, that an individual's right to accurate credit reporting is vitally important. Consider the following statement from the Congressional Record:

“The purpose of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is to protect an individual from inaccurate or arbitrary information about [that individual from appearing] in a consumer report . . . ” 116 Cong. Rec. 36572 (1970).

The FCRA itself, at § 1681(a) explicitly states both its necessity and purpose:

  • "The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting. Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system." See FCRA § 1681(a)(1).

  • "An elaborate mechanism has been developed for investigating and evaluating the credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, and general reputation of consumers."  See FCRA § 1681(a)(2).
  • "Consumer reporting agencies have assumed a vital role in assembling and evaluating consumer credit and other information on consumers." See FCRA § 1681(a)(3).
  • The FCRA exists to assure that "consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer's right to privacy” See FCRA § 1681(a)(4).

The crucially important public policy rationale for the enactment of the FCRA is so strong that Congress made the Fair Credit Reporting Act a fee-shifting statute. That means that a consumer who wins a lawsuit against violators of the FCRA - primarily credit bureaus, furnishers of information to credit bureaus, and users of information improperly obtained from credit bureaus - is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney's fees from the Defendants. 

Because the FCRA is a fee-shifting statute, Sherman & Ticchio (and many other consumer law firms) can represent you without charging you a fee for consultation or any out-of-pocket costs to represent you in litigation. Our fees come from the proceeds of your case.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a powerful law. If you have suspect that you have credit report errors, contact Sherman & Ticchio for your free consultation today.

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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