How to File a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

How do I file a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

Filing a lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in Pennsylvania is a multi-step process. (For more information on the FCRA, see our Pennsylvania FCRA page.) If you believe that your rights under the FCRA have been violated, our Philadelphia FCRA attorneys have prepared the following guide outlining the steps for an FCRA claim:

  1. Identify the Violation: Determine how your FCRA rights were violated. Common violations include inaccurate information on your credit report (such as the status, balance, last activity date, etc.), failure to correct disputed information, improper use of your credit report, failure to remove negative information after the allowed time expires, and privacy breaches.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant documents and evidence, such as copies of your credit reports, correspondence (including emails and texts) with credit reporting agencies (CRAs), creditors, debt collectors, creditor's attorneys, or information furnishers, and any other documentation supporting your claim.
  3. Consult an Attorney: It is advisable to consult with an experienced FCRA attorney. They can help you understand your rights, evaluate the strength of your case, and guide you through the legal process.
  4. Dispute the Error: Before filing a lawsuit, you must first dispute the inaccurate information with the CRA. There is no way around this step. You must write a dispute letter to the CRA explaining the error and providing evidence. The CRA has 30 days to investigate and respond. An FCRA attorney can help you make the most of this step.
  5. Wait for the Investigation Results: If the CRA corrects the error, the issue may be resolved without further action. If the CRA fails to correct the error or you are unsatisfied with the results, you can proceed with legal action.
  6. File a Complaint with the FTC: You may also wish to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees the enforcement of the FCRA. This step is not mandatory but can help document the issue.
  7. Prepare and File the Complaint: Your attorney will draft a legal complaint outlining the details of the violation, the parties involved, the harm you suffered, and the relief you seek. In many FCRA cases, your lawyer may add other causes of action that apply, including claims under Pennsylvania law.
  8. Calculate Damages: Under the FCRA, you can seek actual damages for any financial losses or emotional distress caused by the violation, statutory damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees, and court costs. Your attorney will set these damages out in the complaint.
  9. File the lawsuit in the appropriate court: Your attorney will file the lawsuit in the appropriate court. You can file your lawsuit in either state or federal court. Federal courts have jurisdiction over FCRA cases, but state courts may also hear these cases.
  10. Serve the Defendants: Once the complaint is filed, you must serve the defendants (CRAs, creditors, or information furnishers) with a copy of the complaint and a summons to appear in court.
  11. Litigate the Case: The defendants will be able to respond to your complaint. The case may go through various stages, including discovery (exchange of evidence), settlement negotiations, and potentially a trial if no settlement is reached.

Filing a lawsuit under the FCRA can be a complex process, so working with an experienced Pennsylvania Fair Credit Reporting Act attorney can greatly improve your chances of achieving your desired results.

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Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney is published by Harborstone Law. Harborstone Law represents clients in bankruptcy and debt relief cases throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties.

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Dan Mueller is a bankruptcy attorney and partner at Philadelphia-based Harborstone Law. Dan helps people and small businesses resolve serious financial and legal issue through bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy debt solutions.
Paul Midzak focuses his practice on debtor defense, dispute resolution, consumer protection law, and Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He also advises businesses on a variety of legal matters.
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Harborstone Law represents clients in bankruptcy, debt, consumer, and small business matters throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties in Pennsylvania.
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