I Got Sued and Won – But It’s Still On My Credit Report
I got sued and won- but it’s still on my credit report – what do I do [Updated May 2021]?
Congratulations for winning the debt collection (debt buyer) lawsuit against you — now let’s make sure they are not on your credit report. And if they are, what you can do!
Because even after a debt collector has been beaten in court, they often will continue to report to the consumer reporting agencies that you still owe the debt. (These are places such as Equifax, Experian, Trans Union, Innovis, Sagestream, etc that create your credit report).
This is done intentionally in hopes that you will pay it so that your mortgage on a new home, a refinance or a car loan will go through. Obviously having a collection account from Midland Funding or Portfolio Recovery, etc. is terrible for your credit report and score. They know this — that’s why they like to keep this on your reports.
You can usually sue the debt collector for false credit reporting and filing a bogus lawsuit against you — this is done under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and Alabama state law (for example Malicious Prosecution).
First, pull your credit reports to make sure.
Here is an article/video discussing how to pull your credit reports for free. Through April 2022 you can pull once a week from Annual Credit Report to get your Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Go directly here to do this — https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. Then make sure you save these to PDF.
Once you have pulled your reports, you can look to see if the debt collector is still on there.
You’ll want to verify the same account is on there that you got sued on. Sometimes you can find an account number but almost always you can match up the dollar amounts. Look at the complaint where you were sued and look at your credit report to find the same company such as Midland, Cavalry, etc.
Second, file a written dispute with the credit reporting agency or agencies by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Be sure to tell the reporting agency that you disputed the debt in court with your Answer, that you won the case and ask that they correct the tradeline or account on your credit report to show that you do not owe the debt. I would be specific and say “Delete this off of my credit report.”
Be sure to include the style of the case (name of the case), civil action number, court where the case was pending, name of the judge and any court papers showing the case was dismissed. Usually if you simply include the order where you won this will have all this information.
An example would be, Midland Credit Management v. John Smith, SM-21-0123, in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama.
You can also include a copy of the order showing you won your case. Maybe a copy of the lawsuit against you.
Third, you’ll get your “results of the investigation” back within 30-45 days. Check and see if the debt collection account has been deleted.
If so, then your credit reporting is good for now.
If not, then you need to look at suing the debt collector and the credit reporting agencies under the FCRA because you have the absolute right to 100% accurate credit reports. And having Portfolio Recovery Associates or LVNV Funding on your report after you beat that company on that account is definitely NOT 100% accurate. It is 100% wrong.
(Remember you may still need to sue the debt collector for filing a bogus lawsuit against you and false credit reporting before you won — call us at 205-879-2447 to discuss your options. This is true even if the account gets deleted).
Fourth, sue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other laws for false credit reporting.
You can also sue the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for false credit reporting. This is done under a variety of sections but in particular Section 1692e(8) which says:
Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
The purpose of this is to get money damages and to encourage these companies to stop violating the law and to make your credit reports accurate so you won’t be harmed when you need credit, apply for a job or housing, etc.
Contact Us if you need help with disputing false information or suing for false credit reporting
You can reach us at 205-879-2447 or by filling out our contact form.
We represent Alabama consumers all over the state of Alabama. We will be happy to help you understand your rights so you can take the right action now.
I look forward to talking with you!
Have a great day.
PS — I’ve had some folks ask if you can really get money damages for this. The answer is Yes in the right lawsuit you can. Let’s discuss a few ideas…
You can get compensatory or actual damages.
These are to “compensate” you for your loss. So how does having false information on your credit report hurt you?
You have the right to your good name. False defamatory information hurts you. It causes emotional distress or mental anguish.
Anyone who has had false information on their credit reports feels this way — whether they are:
- Rich or poor
- Democrat or Republican
- Conservative or liberal
- Young or old
- Male or female
- Live in NY or Alabama
It is upsetting to have lies told about us, especially when we won our lawsuit! The lawsuit the debt buyer brought against us…
We may also have economic damages. Maybe we paid a higher interest rate on a car or a home because of the false credit reporting. The difference is part of our damages. Maybe we lost a job or a security clearance and have lost wages.
You may get punitive damages.
When the debt collector or credit bureau violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act in a willful or reckless way, they face punitive damages. These damages are NOT to compensate you but are to PUNISH the wrongdoer. And to DETER the wrongdoer and others in the industry from ever doing this to someone else.
These cases are dangerous for debt buyers and credit reporting agencies because a judge has said you won but yet these jokers keep false information on your reports. Don’t let them get away with it. Make them pay you money damages when they violate the law.