Collections Law/Question for FCRA Attorney
Thank you for taking my question. I'm in the process of looking for a luxury rental now that I moved back to New York. I also am in the process of entering into a business agreement with some of my colleagues.
However, I am concerned about various privacy issues such as a potential landlord or the aforementioned colleagues pulling my credit report. I have seen credit reports and I am concerned because of the sensitive personal and financial information that is included in the reports.
Can I stop any of the above-mentioned individuals from pulling or accessing my credit reports? I tried reading the Fair Credit Reporting Act but could not find an answer. Thank you!
Good question. If a user has a permissible purpose you can not stop the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) from furnishing your report. A consumer's written objection to the release has no effect, unless the intended use is impermissible.
You can condition an offer or willingness to enter a transaction so that a permissible purpose to obtain and use a consumer report never arises. When a consumer states that he or she will not enter a transaction if it means that a consumer report will be obtained, then a permissible purpose for using a report may not exist.
For example, if you as a prospective tenant tell a landlord you do not want to rent an apartment if it means that the landlord will use a consumer report, you have effectively conditioned the offer to rent upon the landlord's willingness to forgo a credit check. If the landlord insists upon a credit check, agreement is not possible and the landlord has no legitimate need for a consumer report.
On the other hand, if the CRA is unaware of the your instructions, it might not be liable for releasing a report in a situation in which the creditor would normally have a permissible purpose.
The ability you have to possibly structure a transaction so that a consumer report is not used is not absolute. Sometimes a user has a permissible purpose to obtain a report without regard to the wishes of a consumer, as for example when reports are used for child support enforcement purposes or for valuations of current accounts. On the other hand, consumers such as yourself considering a new credit transaction, applying for insurance or a license, or initiating other business transactions can condition their interest on an assurance that a consumer report will not be used. As such, your potential business partners must choose between striking a deal with no credit checks and no deal at all!
Hope this answers your question. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
Jason A. Shear, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Admitted in NY and NJ
Law Offices of Jason A. Shear
Consumer Protection Attorneys
Phone: (716) 566-8988