Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have a right to the fair and accurate reporting of your credit information. You’re also entitled to certain privacy rights concerning your credit information and protection from the misuse of your credit data.
If someone violates your rights under the FCRA, you have some remedies available. Those remedies might include actual damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. The type of remedy will depend on whether the violation was intentional or negligent.
Damages for a Willful Violation
If you are harmed by a willful violation of your FCRA rights by a credit reporting agency, information furnisher, or other entity using the information, you may sue for the following damages
- Your actual, provable damages, with no limit OR
- Statutory damages between $100 and $1000
If you can prove your damages, you can choose the greater of the two awards, but if you cannot prove that the violation actually caused you harm, you will have to settle for the statutory damages.
If your FCRA rights were violated by an individual who lied to get your credit report or used the information illegally, you can choose the greater of the following awards:
- Your actual, provable damages, with no limit
- $1000 flat (no minimum)
You may also be entitled to punitive damages for a willful violation of the FCRA, but that decision will be made by the court.
Damages for a Negligent Violation
You are also entitled to damages if you can show that the credit reporting agency, information furnisher, or other entity negligently failed to comply with its obligations under the FCRA. Damages here include:
- actual damages (no set limit or minimum), and
- attorneys’ fees and costs.