Whether you’re screening a tenant or hiring an employee an FCRA compliant background check is a crucial aspect of your process.
Unfortunately, many people searching out FCRA background check companies learned the hard way due to a complaint from a denied person.
The FCRA stands for the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It is a Government legislation enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Most background check companies are not FCRA compliant because they’re automated resellers of databases filled with errors and ommissions.
Most FCRA Background Check Companies are Robots
The fact is that most FCRA background check companies are simply only providing database information generated by their search “robots”. If you’re unsure exactly what your provider is doing, then you should prepare for problems immediately.
This causes issues because databases and credit reports are filled with errors.
Automated software simply passes those errors onto the end user implicating you in a potential lawsuit.
How to know if Your CRA Background Check Company is Compliant?
One thing you will never hear most CRA background check companies tell you is where they get their data and information from.
Most, if not all, CRA background check companies (and even pre-employment screening companies) get all of their information from the same databases and sources.
So you’re probably thinking what separates one company from the next.
Most background check providers will instantly generate these reports and hand them back to their clients.
There is a lot wrong with this scenario:
- What if you typed in the wrong SSN or name? Who’s report did you just run, better yet pay for?
- What if the records on the report aren’t legally reportable? Do you know the FCRA laws for every state to make the decision?
- What if you denied an applicant for information that wasn’t even his or hers? Are you ready to take on a lawsuit?
- The company simply IS NOT a real tenant screening company, period.
The best way to find an FCRA compliant background check service is to simply check out the company’s report completion process.
Since most companies don’t disclose that information anyways, the second best way is to look at their completion times.
If they claim their reports are instant, that’s already a red flag.
However, most good background check services will offer some sort of FCRA interpretation on their instant reports.
You’re Better Off Not Getting a Background Check at All
Most companies running a background check are doing so for employment or tenancy.
It’s extremely easy for a denied individual to file a complaint against an employer or landlord based on false information supplied in a background check.
The fines for a first time offender of the FCRA are $3,895 as of 2018.
FCRA Compliant Background Check Companies
Fidelis Screening Solutions is the parent company of RentPrep and we perform thousands of FCRA Compliant Background Checks every month.
For large employers or property managers running background checks in bulk, we can work on a custom quote for your needs.
If you’re an employer looking for a quote you can call our office at (888)877-8501 or email our Business Development Manager (Richard Fronczak) at [email protected]
If you’re a landlord or property manager with more than 100 units you can call our office at (888)877-8501 or email us for a custom quote here.
What makes us FCRA Certified?
We hire, train, and employed our employees in the laws of the FCRA.
Each employee undergoes a two-week training process at hiring which culminates in an FCRA compliance exam.
Once an employee passes this exam they receive the designation of an FCRA Certified Screener.
When you order a report through Fidelis Screening Solutions or RentPrep an FCRA Certified Screener will hand-compile your report. We cross-reference multiple databases to remove errors, fix omissions, and combat database errors.
Our reports are not instantaneous because an additional layer of FCRA compliance is added to each report.
FCRA Tenant Screening Non-Compliance Penalties
The FCRA allows applicants to sue landlords for damages in federal court. If they win, you will most likely be responsible for all court costs and legal fees. If they can prove that you deliberately violated the FCRA, they can also seek punitive damages as well.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with the State, can sue you for not complying with the FCRA and can even be awarded civil penalties. This can all be avoided if you, the landlord, can prove that you maintained reasonable procedures to assure FCRA compliance.
Using an FCRA tenant screening company to review and interpret background check reports is the first step, but it’s the biggest one you can take.