Q.  How can I pull credit reports on my customers?

A.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to pull reports if you have a  LEGITIMATE PERMISSIBLE PURPOSE.
If you have a signed authorization from the consumer to pull a report for credit, employment or insurance purposes you may be able to obtain a credit report.

You must sign an application and a service agreement with one of the credit bureaus or an approved reseller (such as KCB Information Services.)

All the credit bureaus require a site inspection to verify you are an approved business with a valid purpose to pull reports. If you run your business out of your home, some bureaus require yearly site inspections.

Q.  Can I use a credit report to locate consumers who have disappeared or owe me money?

A.  Yes.  One of the Permissible Purposes is: "review or collection of an an account.."

The credit bureaus offer several reports you can use to locate lost customers:  the Credit Report, Social Security Search, or a Collection Report.  The Experian Collection Report was written for collection agencies, but any member can use it.

Another service we offer is:  MetroNet.  This service offers: name, address and neighbor searches.  It also offers Electronic Directory Assistance.  MetroNet is the same company the to whom the telephone companies report their phone listings.  When you dial 411 or 555-1212, you are calling MetroMedia which owns MetroNet.

Q.  If I pull a credit report how long do I need to keep the credit report and application?

A.  You do not need to keep a copy of the credit report.  If you pull an Experian report, the report is stored for you to review for 6 months.  However you are required to keep the application for 25 months.  Your inquiry will be on the consumer's credit report for 24 months.  If the consumer were to dispute your authority to pull his/her report, you could be required to prove you had the consumer's permission to pull a report.  The easiest way to do that is to keep the signed application for 25 months.  Then you are covered.

Q.  If I turn some one down, do I need to tell them why?

A.  Yes.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act says you must give an "Adverse Action Notice" if you have "an action taken or determination that is adverse to the interests of the consumer."  Another way to state it would be:  a denial or cancellation of, an increase in any charges for a or a reduction or other adverse or unfavorable change in the terms of the contract."

You must tell them why and were you received the information.  If the reason is because of information on the credit report, you must tell them the name, the address and phone number of the credit bureau.  And you must tell them the credit bureau does not know why the action was taken, but they can receive a copy of the report from the credit bureau.

Q.  How do  I pull Equifax reports?

A.  Click here for instructions.