What Are The Benefits Of Suing Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

What Are The Benefits Of Suing Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?


Your credit report should be accurate

You discovered one or more errors on your credit reports and you have disputed the errors directly with the credit reporting agencies.

But the errors still remain.

And now you are thinking about suing the credit reporting agencies and the furnisher of the false information.

What exactly is the benefit to you of suing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

First, it is the best way to force the responsible parties to correct and fix your credit report.

Dispute letters should get the bureaus and the furnishers to fix false information  but sometimes they get blinded by money and simply decide they don’t care about your credit reports being accurate.

Credit repair places all over the internet claim they can force the bureaus to delete information (even accurate information which is very improper) but they can’t. The best way to force a bureau such as Equifax and a furnisher such as Capital One to fix your credit reports is to sue them after you have properly disputed.

When they realize they are facing the prospect of written orders detailing their bad conduct and when they realize they may stand before a jury in Alabama federal court and give an account for what they have done it is amazing how they suddenly decide their most passionate desire is “We just want to make sure you client’s credit report is accurate, John.”


They don’t care before we sue but after we sue they often “want to do the right thing.”

I’m sure it is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with the lawsuit. 🙂

Second, you can recover actual damages for the harm you have suffered.

After you dispute the false information, and it remains, then any damages you have can be compensated by the jury.

This can be emotional distress damages.  How upsetting was dealing with this?

It can be economic losses.  Did you get a home loan for 7% when you would have gotten it for 4% but for the credit reporting error?  That difference, over 30 years, can be part of your damages.

There is a wide variety of damages you can be compensated for under the FCRA.

Third, you can recover attorney fees to pay your lawyer.

This is powerful as it weighs heavily on the minds of companies like Experian and Portfolio Recovery Associates that they may be responsible for paying your lawyer fees.

Our hourly fee is $400 per hour.  That adds up.  And the credit reporting agencies and furnishers pay their lawyers typically around $300 an hour.

So it gets expensive to fight these cases when they know they will lose.

The last federal case we tried — which was not overly complicated — we had $125,000 in fees by the end of the three and a half day trial.

Defendants really don’t like this. It prompts them to do the right thing.  The thing they should have done before you had sue.  They must fix your credit reports and compensate you so they don’t get stuck with a big attorney’s fee bill from their lawyer.

And from yours.

Fourth, you can recover punitive and statutory damages if the misconduct was intentional or reckless.

Punitive damages are to punish the wrongdoer and to discourage the wrongdoer . . . and others in the same position . . . from ever mistreating Alabama consumers the way that you were mistreated.

Statutory damages can be up to $1000 per violation of the FCRA. This differs from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which awards statutory damages in any violation but only up to a maximum of $1000 per case.

Finally, it lets the credit reporting agencies such as Trans Union and furnishers such as Bank of America know that you will not tolerate having your rights violated and you will stand up for yourself.

These companies believe that you don’t know what to do and you won’t do anything even if you do know what to do.

When someone . . . such as you . . . stands up and says “I’ve had it!” and then takes the proper action . . . such as suing . . . then these companies are truly baffled.

They don’t expect you to do this and you instantly mark yourself as a tiny minority of Alabama consumers who will not take abuse.

It all goes back to being in school.

Remember the bully?

When you stand up to the bully, it bothers him.

He leaves you alone if you were smart and determined in how you stood up to him.

When you tell abusive companies that you will not be pushed around, they tend to leave you alone so that they will not feel the pain of future lawsuits from you.

Contact Us.

I hope this summary of some of the benefits of suing under the FCRA is helpful to you.

If you live in Alabama and would like to discuss your FCRA situation with us, please fill out our form.

Or pick up the phone and give us a call at 205-879-2447.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day!

-John G. Watts


  1. Ed Wansart says:

    I live in New York State and I have sent 5 dispute letters to the three credit bureau’s and they will not remove un-verified negative accounts from my credit reports. The accounts in dispute had changed terms because of them cashing check payments that had new terms printed on the back of the checks that stated if they cashed the payment checks, then the new terms would be in force. Need to sue them for damages. Can you help me or refer me to someone?

    • JohnGWatts says:


      I’m sorry you are dealing with this.

      I can’t help you in New York but check out http://www.naca.net and click on the “find attorney” section and this should give you a good start on finding an attorney that you feel comfortable with to represent you.

      Keep us posted on how things turn out — I hope very well for you….

      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  2. I am being sued by two debt buyers, Cavalry SPV I LLC and Asset Acceptance. I am being represented by legal services , I have low-income. My question is and I know I can ask my attorney but did want to compromised them in any way if they are questioned in court. But, I recently pulled my credit report and notice that both debt collectors are re aging the debts as new accounts and charging enormous interest that has ballooned the original amount. Since the discovery phase has not been complete is it legal to report information in someone’s credit file that has not been proven during litigation? Thank you for any information in advanced.


    • JohnGWatts says:


      You need to get with your lawyers who are helping you deal with Cavalry and Asset Acceptance. We defend suits against these two debt buyers and we have sued them a number of times for false credit reporting and bringing bogus lawsuits without any proof.

      Re-aging an account on a credit report is a favorite dirty trick of debt collectors. If this is happening, you should talk with your lawyers about suing these companies for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which prohibits false credit reporting in Section 1692e(8).

      You may also want to dispute false credit reporting through the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union).

      As far as reporting on you while the litigation is still going, that is not a problem in and of itself. The question is whether Cavalry and Asset Acceptance know, or should know, that the credit reporting is false.

      It is critical to win your cases where you have been sued. You can look at our section on Sued by a Debt Buyer where we talk about these types of lawsuits and what it means when you win.

      Best wishes and let us know how you come out on these cases….

      John G. Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  3. Nicole says:

    I called my local bar to help me, but they said they do not have attorneys that can help sue under the FCRA. Can you recommend someone in my area? I live in Southern California.

    Thank you.

  4. jeff says:

    I am being chased by a Credit Agency collecting on an old personal guarantee I signed as a member manager , LLC. The CRA has upped the debt original date opened from 1/6/2006 to 4/1/2008, effectively reaging the file by 2+ years. This is a commercial account, but they say they have a persoanl guaranty from me I do not remember signing. This is reported on my personal credit report. What do I do?

    • John Watts says:

      If a commercial account then the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) would not apply but the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) still will under most cases. On the changing of the open date — sometimes it is confusing when a collection agency gets the account. The “open” date is normally when the collection agency received the account. You have to look at when the report says the account will be deleted or will “fall off” your credit report. If it is more than 7 years after you defaulted, then it may very well be re-aging.

      Here’s my suggestion — get with a consumer lawyer in your area to see what your options are — if you didn’t sign the personal guaranty then you should not have liability. The collection agency should be able to send this to you. If the reporting is accurate, then you should look into working out the debt.

      But if you did not sign the guaranty, then the reporting is false and your lawyer can help you dispute that through the credit reporting agencies.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  5. Deborah says:

    Macys reported me thirty days late. I have the paperwork (ironically pulled from my online Macy’s account) to prove that I was never thirty days late. After the initial dispute I made copies of the documentation and sent them certified mail to both Macys and Experian, yet I only receive generic abstract replies, i.e., information is updated or documentation not sufficient, or still in dispute. The information was updated but it should be deleted. Do you think it worthwhile to sue?

    • John Watts says:


      The best kind of suit under the FCRA is when you have the absolute proof that the information being reported is wrong and you have sent that proof to the consumer reporting agency (such as Experian) and the furnisher of the information (Macys here).

      There are various factors to look at when we look at damages but it sounds like you have a good case.

      If you live in Alabama, feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447 — if you live in another state either get with a consumer lawyer there or we can help you find someone. For certain cases we will agree to work with local counsel in another state.

      Either way call us or fill out our contact form and let us know thanks!

      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  6. Jon says:

    My profession is sales. I received a credit report saying I can not sell a particular companies product because of a credit report that was using information that is over 7 years old? It has prohibited me from getting work, home,loans and so on. What are my options and is a lawsuit a good choice for me?

    • John Watts says:


      It depends on what information is being used — some items (such as Bankruptcy) can stay on your credit reports for 10 years. Most negative items can only stay for 7 years.

      Feel free to call my office if you live in Alabama and we’ll be glad to help — 205-879-2447 — ask for Randi Curb and she’ll get the details from you. If you live outside of Alabama and want us to look at handling any potential case in Alabama, we’ll be glad to chat with you as well. If you need a lawyer in your state, look at http://www.Naca.net.

      Options are to dispute false information — either it will come off or you sue in Federal Court. If false information that will not come off, then suing is almost always the best choice.

      Best wishes and thanks for your comment.

      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  7. Crystal says:

    Hi, I am a victim of identity theft and have read the FCRA over several times. It is to my understanding that the credit bureaus are to furnish to me upon my request any information reporting negatively with any of my information (in this case my social security number). I have requested this information via telephone and in writing and get responses such as “my request is frivolous”. Mean while some guy is using my ssn to open up accounts and charge them off at who knows how many financial institutions. Is this something I’m likely capable of recovering from?

    • John Watts says:


      I’m not sure I understand your question. You are asking the credit bureaus for your social security number?

      Do you have false information on your credit reports?

      If you do and you properly dispute under the FCRA and it doesn’t get fixed, then suing will normally get it fixed and you will be compensated for your damages — both emotional and economic.

      If you live in Alabama and have further questions feel free to call us at 205-879-2447 as I may not be fully understanding your question.


      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  8. Yesenia Garcia says:

    In May 2013, I unfortunately paid my rent late. My landlord submitted all the paperwork to have me vacated. I paid my rent before the court date and they were supposed to dismiss the court order. They never did and now a year later I have a judgment on my credit report showing that I owe them $500. I tried going to my landlord directly to settle this and all they tell me is that they don’t have a record of my owing them any money. They don’t have record of dismissing the court order and even contacted their lawyers for help. Are they violating the fcra by reporting that judgment on my credit report? Can I do anything to get this removed?

    • John Watts says:


      Did you have anything in writing about your landlord dismissing the case?

      This is not a direct violation of the FCRA because the credit bureaus simply have to accurately report what the court says and if the court shows a judgment, then that is accurate.

      Now if the landlord lied to you about “You pay the $500 and we will drop the case” and then did not do this after you paid, you may be able to sue the landlord for this.

      My suggestion is either get a lawyer to do this or you do it but notify the landlord in writing about what happened. When you paid, who you talked to before you paid, when the judgment was entered, etc. to show them this is wrong.

      If you live in Alabama I’ll be glad to talk to you — just call my office at 205-879-2447 and my staff can set up a call or meeting in person with us. Or you can notify us through our “contact us” page.

      Best wishes and sorry you are in this situation.

      John Watts

  9. Mayank says:


    I am an Indian citizen living here in Gainesville Florida and working in US on an H1B visa. Recently, I approached Wells fargo for a personal loan and the following happened:
    i) They told me that they issue loans to only citizens and green card holders as a matter of policy. I later approached another bank and was able to secure the loan easily. I understand that wells fargo can have this policy but months later, i see an inquiry in my credit report from wells fargo from the time when i approached them for this loan. Is this not wrong as they should not have run a query given their policy? I am sure this hurt my credit score?
    2) Since I dont have a big credit history in the US, I opened a loan against a CD (as collateral) with Wells fargo to build credit. I signed all the paperwork but they misplaced the third party waiever from my wife for the loan as she is the joint owner of the account. 1 week later, I get a call from them asking my wife to come in to sign this document and they again get this wrong (got it signed in the wrong place). 2 weeks later….again the same story, we go there and they mess up again…and then we went on a 2 week vacation to Europe so they couldnt get a hold of us…..after about 5 weeks i get a call from their collections department that they are reporting this account delinquent (which they did) and asked for immediate pre-payment of loan. I went to the bank to address the issue the same day and the banker apologized for the mishandling of docs and acknowledged that it was their fault (the store manager and district manager were fired that same week i was told). Out of sheer frustration, i ended up prepaying the loan but i do see the delinquency in my credit report now for this loan and have been making frantic calls to wells fargo with no help to get this off my report. The banker continues to acknowledge that it is their fault and he has this in his notes so he will help us fix this issue.

    At this point, I am really frustrated and want to sue the bank as its been highly stressful dealing with them on this issue. Do you see a case here to sue them for damages and get my credit report fixed without me running around? Please advise and would be great if you can suggest an attorney in gainesville area

    • John Watts says:

      I’m sorry you have had to deal with this.

      It does sound like you may have a valid case — you may need to dispute it through the credit reporting agencies first but that’s something you can talk to a lawyer about.

      I’ll send you a private email to discuss this further. There is a lawyer in Northern Florida that we recommend and he may be able to help you or we may can sue for you (if appropriate) here in Alabama as Wells Fargo can be sued in any state.

      Thanks for your question and I look forward to hearing from you. I will be out of town and hard to reach this week but will send you info by email.

      John Watts

  10. Aaron says:

    last year I learned that an old bank account was incorrectly reporting to the credit bureau’s that I still owed $1,085 dollars on a credit card that went to collections many years ago. I paid the card off in full in December of 2010. The bank had incorrectly reported this for 3 years. This has had a huge impact on every aspect of my life and I was totally unaware of it. I was made aware of it when I was turned down numerous times for a mortgage because of it.

    Long story short, The banks card services department doesn’t communicate with the asset recovery department so card services was never notified that my account was paid-in-full and closed. There was a huge hole in their system. I filed disputes and card services continued to report the incorrect info. It took me two months of making phone calls every day on my lunch break and after work to get it resolved. My wife (fiance at the time) and I almost lost the house we were trying to buy. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of stress this brought into my life. After months of sleepless nights, feeling depressed that I couldn’t provide a home for my future wife/family and arguing with the bank, I finally received an apology from them and my situation was used in a case study which resulted in the bank creating a brand new department that deals with all Disputes. I have a copy of a letter the bank sent to all their customers notifying them about the newly established Disputes department. I have voicemails and letters from the bank apologizing and stating that they were in the wrong.

    It’s been about a year since this all took place but I think about it often. I live in Maine and have made attempts to contact a couple lawyers about it but never got any response. Do you think this is worth pursing? If so, do you have any advice on how to go about it? I know the bank was 100% in violation in the fair credit reporting act.

    • John Watts says:


      I’m sorry you dealt with this but I’m glad they finally fixed it.

      Did you make disputes directly to the credit reporting agencies? Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, etc.?

      If not, then normally the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) won’t apply to the bank even though you made numerous disputes directly to the bank.

      If you did make disputes to the reporting agencies, then you normally have 2 years to file suit from when the agencies and the bank refused to fix the problem.

      We do occasionally represent folks from out of state who are willing to file suit in federal court in Alabama — when we are suing the reporting agencies or national companies you normally have this option.

      If you want to talk let us know — 205-879-2447 and ask to speak to Carolyn. Let her know we connected on AlabamaConsumer.com and you wanted to pass along some information to us. Or you can fill out a contact form here and let us know more details.

      Sorry you had to deal with this and I understand why it is still bothering you.

      John Watts

  11. Ann says:

    Thanks for all the great information..Do you know of a good lawyer in Texas?

    • John Watts says:

      Ann I know a few around the state. Often you can start looking at folks through http://www.NACA.net — there is a find attorney function so you can narrow it down to a location and practice area.

      If you are looking for a Texas Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lawyer, email me and I can recommend one or two folks for you. John (at) WattsHerring.com.

      Best wishes!


  12. Elizabeth says:

    Hi John,
    this is a great article! I am hoping that I can fix an item on my credit report placed by a collection agency (hired by UDR–a big rental company). I paid my rent on time every month, but at the end of my lease UDR added 6000.00$ to my account because I gave less than 60 days notice to vacate. I did go to the manager and explained this was a bit crazy to do and they did fix my account. I printed out the statement showing both the charge and the credit given–moved out without incident. Apparently though UDR sent this to collection and then refused to answer my calls and emails. I also am fighting this through the credit bureaus but it seems like a dead end. When I speak with them they twist the story around (Oh…so you broke your lease—which I did not). I’ve sent them the documentation, but nothing is happening.

    My question is ..where do I try to sue? I was living in Boston at the time I rented from UDR, now I live in Philadelphia and the collection agency is based in Florida….


    • John Watts says:


      I wanted to check in with you on this.

      If you have disputed through the credit reporting agencies, and they won’t fix it, get with a consumer lawyer in your state to hammer these guys. We normally sue debt collectors in this situation under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

      Sorry you are dealing with this!

      John Watts

  13. Anthony smith says:

    I have 3yrs of documents & clear evident from many disputes with experian

    However, I cannot find the right lawyer here in vhicago

    • John Watts says:


      If your only dispute is with Experian, often they can be sued in Texas. Or sometimes we sue companies in Alabama federal court for folks outside of Alabama.

      If you are interested in talking with us, fill out our contact form and give us a summary of what has happened. We’ll see if we can help you or if we can get you to a lawyer that can help you.

      I’m aware of how frustrating it can be to deal with Experian.

      Thanks for your comment and for keeping up the fight!

      John Watts

    IS MY PROBLEM AND i believe their is some collusion and corruption going on. I am going to call all three agencies and try to correct my report again. Then I plan to sue and I need help or an attorney who will file for his fees, which should be very profiting. Thank YOU.

  15. Dewey says:

    Do you have to go through a dispute procedure prior to filing against the company(ies) that gave the bad information to the credit reporting bureau. Seems to me that you have some type of defamation, negligence, or both, that has lead to damages.

    • John Watts says:


      Great question and here are few answers for you.

      First, under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) to have the ability to sue the furnisher (one giving false info to bureaus) then yes you must dispute through the bureaus and then they have to notify the furnisher. Silly but its the law.

      Second, if the furnisher is a debt collector subject to the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) then you can sue under the FDCPA for false credit reporting and don’t have to go through the FCRA dispute process. We get lawyers arguing the FCRA preempts or knocks out the FDCPA but that’s not correct.

      Third, if the furnisher is a mortgage company subject to RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) then usually you can do what’s called a RFI (request for information) and a NOE (notice of error) bringing to the mortgage company’s attention the credit reporting error. There are specific rules to follow but this can be helpful.

      Fourth, you are correct you have claims such as defamation, etc. but many courts rule that the FCRA pre-empts or knocks out state law (such as defamation) when it comes to credit reports. This is why it is safer to dispute under the FCRA unless you have a good reason to skip that process and go directly under the FDCPA (debt collector) or RESPA (mortgage company).

      That may be more information than you wanted but hope that is helpful…..

      John Watts

      • Dewey says:

        Thank you John. I’m in Texas but I’ll keep you in mind for future referrals. Good information!

        • John Watts says:

          Sounds good. If you need any help in Texas I have some lawyers there I work with on these types of cases so let me know if need anything. Best wishes!

          John Watts

  16. Charles says:


    I have been fighting with TU and all others over the last 2 years. I own my own businesses and never use my credit. When I pulled my reports over a year ago, I needed to dispute many items. Finally I see light, but there is one on my report that is not mine. A small credit card $300 limit opened 2 months and charged off. Balance says Paid in Full and sold to another lender. I have sent two certified letters. They still have not responded to me. I have no proof that this is my account and they will not remove it. All they say is verified. I disputed again with TU and sent another Certified Letter to the CC demanding removal. This has been on my report for 5 years and I have not been able to get any credit. Can I sue them? I am ready and whatever it takes. All I want is this off my report and i will have a HIGH score. What do I do. Last letter they have til the 1st to delete. Oh and the CRA has disputed as well for me 4 times. Still all they get back is Verified. I have suffered here.

    • John Watts says:


      If you live in Alabama we’ll be happy to meet with you. If you are in another state we may can get you to someone in your state who can help you or it is possible to sue in Alabama.

      I’ll send you a direct email and if you will also call the office at 205-879-2447 and ask for Carolyn. Tell her you left a comment on our website and I asked you to call to set up a phone appointment. Get us your information before the call please — timeline, credit reports, disputes, proof of receipt of disputes, results of investigation from TransUnion, etc.


      John Watts

  17. Kane says:

    I have a late payment on my record. Technically, it is a legitimate mark, in reality it is due to no fault of my own. Capitol One purchased the bank my CC was held with and stopped all automatic payments without me receiving any notification of this, so 1 payment was missed before finding out. Would this be difficult to dispute by not falling in your stated parameters of having “absolute proof that the information being reported is wrong”? Given I have contacted both Capital One and Experian and both denied the request to remove, what would you recommend I do? Thank in advance.

    • John Watts says:

      That doesn’t seem right that Cap One stopped your auto payments. I would ask Cap One what their authority was to do this and explain how this has impacted you.

      Maybe they had the right to do this.

      But maybe not.

      And if not then they may be on the hook for any damages to you, which could include credit damages.

      There are a lot of issues here but I would start with pushing Cap One to explain why they did this to you.

      Keep me posted….


      John Watts

  18. Mike says:

    Can recommend an attorney in the Nashville area to sue CRAs/Debt Collectors for reporting false information? The NACA website has no one within 100 miles.

    • John Watts says:


      I don’t know anyone in Nashville who does that type of work.

      I live in Huntsville area so not far away — let me know if you want to talk and we can see who the defendants are, where it makes the most sense to sue, who would be best to help you, etc.

      Call my office at 205-879-2447 and let Carolyn know you are wanting to give her information about your situation and then she can set us up a quick phone call to see how we can help you.


      John Watts

  19. vivienne says:

    Hello. I had a question on whether or not I can sue a rental agency for using an application to a duplex rental I submitted last year to put my name on a lease agreement I never signed or even saw.they held me liable for a broken lease a relative of mine was responsible for. I have gone through a long process to have finally gotten it removed this week . But the damage for it being on my credit report for a whole year has impacted me at my job ( I need to maintain good credit) , I keep getting denied credit cards to help rebuild credit. And so on…

  20. Leon says:

    Hello. I have a simple question. I have errors on my report. I disputed them. Experian stated they were already verified and would not reinvestigate. Under section 609 of the FCRA I also requested the verification process used and original documents that showed my signature. The FCRA specifically states the credit bureau must send me this information if requested. If they do not send the verified signed contract, can I sue the bureau for violating the FCRA? Any help will be appreciated. I am a resident of Georgia but would like to file a federal suit if possible. I will be doing this ASAP, but need your advice.

    • John Watts says:


      Thanks for your comment/question.

      Here’s bottom line — if you have false information and Experian refuses to investigate, then normally you can sue under the FCRA in federal court.

      Now about the original documents with signature, that is normally not required.

      Sometimes we work with lawyers in Georgia and sometimes we sue companies like Experian in Alabama even when folks live in other states. So if you would like to discuss this in detail, call my office at 205-879-2447 and ask for Carolyn. Tell her you are in Georgia but I wanted to chat with you. Send us the details of what is the error, what efforts you have made to dispute, the responses from Experian, etc.

      Thanks and be happy to help you think through these issues.

      John Watts

  21. Rachel says:

    Hi – I was a victim of identity theft by my ex-fiance. I can prove he signed up for myfico.com and experian.com credit monitoring services in my name, to keep an eye on my credit — using this information to sign up for many credit cards in my name without my consent or permission. Can I sue an individual under FCRA? I am in MN and I am having a hard time getting help from a lawyer. The last I was told was to file a civil lawsuit myself. Is that correct?…

    • John Watts says:


      Usually you can sue the ID thief — I don’t know MN law so don’t know the details. Try Pete Barry in Minneapolis — he’s a great consumer lawyer and a friend of mine.

      Now as far as suing an individual under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) — that is not normally allowed but you may have a special situation where the individual was pulling your credit reports.

      Definitely get with Pete and see if he can help you.

      Sorry I can’t help you directly but hopefully this response gives you a little bit of guidance.

      Sorry dealing with this and hope you get everything straightened out ASAP!

      Have a wonderful New Years…

      John Watts

  22. Lainie says:


    First, your website is wonderful as are your response to those posting on this page. Talk about doing the good work!

    I am dealing with Synchrony Bank (former GE Capitol)on two separate accounts that they administer for larger vendors, JCPenney and Amazon. In each instance, they have lowered my credit limit stating information used on my credit report was used to may the determination. The lowering of the Penney’s account came in the mail first however, I was already aware of what was on my credit report and that it was in error. It involved a series of medical bills that my insurance company was delaying on. However, after gentle nudging from the DOI, my insurance carrier found their “mistake” and began paying all the claims. The medical provider and the insurance carrier provided me with written documentation of the settlement and that the accounts were being removed from collection and re-reported to the CRAs.

    I called the number listed in the Synchrony letter and told them all of this, asking for a fax number that I could provide them with this information and to stop the lowering of my credit limit (which would of course be reported on my credit AND make my debt to credit ratio erroneously inflated, etc…) Synchrony refused the information (this was after I waited for a manager to get involved) and also refused to give me further contact information for someone with more authority. This directly affected my refi on my home loan. Then they did the same thing on my Amazon account only this was a small card and didn’t have much of a balance…something like maybe $50 or so dollars. They lowered the limit to $50 and actually noted in their letter that they were using the SAME credit report (they listed the date pulled and the CRA pulled from) as the one used to lower my Penney’s card. I called again and same run around. This time, I got ahold of both Penney’s and Amazon directly.

    This forced Synchrony to give me a little more attention as well as the name of the individual client account handlers for Penney’s and Amazon (as all large clients get) who was supposed to address my concerns at a more executive level…Nope. Those women never returned my communications. Instead, I continued to deal with lower level management who actually left me messages and sent additional letters that simply explained the same process as the original credit lowering letters. I finally stopped fighting for a bit in exasperation, also I was ill and maintaining my full time work demands. However, I did pay off the Amazon account in full and requested that it be closed via their online processing center.
    Yesterday, I received another letter from Synchrony noting that *they* has decided to close my Amazon account…again using an old credit report and noting the SAME reasons. This is ridiculous! I had paid it off, closed it and had ceased getting monthly statements…which you still receive even with a zero account balance because that is automated. The only way they stop is if the account was closed. So I called again and again got similar excuses only this time a fax number when I asked.

    I now have two questions…(1) Do you have anyone you can recommend in Wisconsin? I am located between Madison and Milwaukee. (2) Is it time to get an attorney? I feel like it is and potentially press for damages. If I do so, should I refrain from making complaints at the state level (with Consumer Protection and the Department of Financial Institutions) and federal level?

    Thank you!

    • John Watts says:

      Thank you for your comment and kind words! I appreciate them….

      Sorry you are dealing with this — very frustrating when one company does something that has a domino effect.

      If you were in Alabama I would make several suggestions.

      First, there is always power in sending certified letters carefully laying out what happened. When a company gets a certified letter, as opposed to merely a phone call or email, it usually makes them take notice. Our joke is “No good news comes by certified mail” and “I’m sending this to you certified as I want to make sure you are getting it but I think you’ll like about getting it.”

      So consider that option.

      Second, you could file complaints with state and federal (CFPB) agencies. I don’t see any harm in doing this and especially the CFPB might get their attention. They may direct you to another agency but I would start with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

      Now as far as your questions . . . .

      In Wisconsin I know DeVonna Joy from conferences. She knows what she is doing and I believe she is in Wisconsin — Big Bend? I don’t know how close but I know for my firm, we practice across the entire state and she may be the same.

      I would start with DeVonna — see if she recommends you take some legal action or go to an agency or do the certified letter route or some combination.

      Best wishes and let us know if you are able to resolve this — be good to know to be able to help others with the same problem.

      Thanks again for your comment….

      John Watts

      • Lainie says:


        Thank you for your reply. I wanted to update you on what has happened since I wrote.

        I found the corporate email for Synchrony and a few key CEO’s within their Retail Financial division. I was planning to email AND send the same communication certified. However, I was able to save my pennies on this one! I sent a very detailed email to the two corporate officers and their general corporate service box however; I also copied in JC Penney legal (I had a contact from my initial complaint) and also Amazon’s service representative (again, from my previous complaint).

        I learned long ago that whenever I call or deal with companies like this in any way, I document who I dealt with, the dates, etc. Nearly every service phone line is recorded for quality control these days. That can be a real aid to the consumer as you can request the company pull the call (those are archived and usually saved for a significant amount of time) and listen to the conversation themselves. Obviously, this sends the messages quite literally that you are telling the truth and are confident in your rights. Anyway, I used my records to add detail to the letter of who I talked to and when so there was no mistaking my account of the situation. I then followed up with several points from section of the FDCPA and FCRA focusing on their potential violations and potential for fines, as well as my near guarantee of securing legal counsel (potentially at their expense). I also noted that, should I need to take further legal action in federal court, that I would certainly accompany that action with additional filings of complaint to the various and appropriate state and federal agencies. I also included copies of the emails and other correspondence between myself and both JC Penney and Amazon.

        I set out what were not unreasonable demands for satisfaction (I have not asked for a monetary reward as my main focus is restoring my credit and correction to my reports). I requested all of my limits to be restored, written notice of the restoration along with a copy of their notice updating the three CRAs and for it to all be accomplished within 10 business days of the date of my email. I left my cell phone, email and mailing address as points of contact.

        Within two hours I had my very own Synchrony corporate handler 🙂 An “accounts executive” contacted me to discuss and review my “case”. His initial email noted he would have his “investigation and review” complete within 10 days. I was not comfortable with the implication of “his investigation” so I called him on the personal direct line he left for me. We spoke briefly and he indicated that what he was planning was a soft pull on my credit to verify the change of information. I told him there was no need as I had a copy of the end investigation showing the updated erroneous information and would be happy to provide it, no need to even lightly ding my FICO with even a soft pull. He agreed and gave me a direct fax. He also apologized and said they would be “looking into” the process that resulted in my offer of supporting information being refused in the first place.

        I am anticipating that my requests for resolution will be met, especially as I have not sought any punitive damages at this time. There has been no legal paperwork of any kind asking me to waive any rights to pursue them should I choose to at this point. Even if that were to come up, I plan to politely decline and reserve my right to future action. I hope this helps others who come to your site!
        Thank you!

        • John Watts says:


          Very good job!!

          That’s great news.

          I hope you got this fixed. Sounds like you were very diligent and that sent a message to them to not play games with you.

          Thanks for sharing your story!!!

          John Watts

  23. Jay says:

    Glad I stumbled upon this website. It’s very informative and you seem to be very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to help not just me, but all of us here.

    Now here’s my problem.. I was injured on the job in March 2014, and I was taken to the hospital to be checked out. While they was admitting me in, the lady wanted my drivers license and insurance card. I explained to her that I was hurt on the job and that it would be covered under workman’ compensation. She said she understood that but still needed my information on file. So I reluctantly I gave her the information.

    Several months after the accident, I started getting robocalls from the hospital. I got in touch with their billing department and again explained that it was a WC claim. I also gave them the name of the WC insurance company, the claims adjuster’s name that was overseeing my case, and the direct number to her desk.

    A few more weeks went by, then I started receiving calls again. So once again I contacted the hospital billing department. I was told that the information was sent to the claims adjuster, but they got no response from her.

    My WC lawsuit was settled in November 2014 and they had agreed to cover all expenses from the date of injury to the date the case was settled. But I just received a copy of my credit today and now it’s on there.

    So do I have a case, and if so, is it against the hospital for inaccurately holding me responsible and reporting false information to the credit bureaus, or would it be the WC insurance company for contempt of court for not doing what they agree to in the terms of our settlement?

    Thanks again for any advice you can give me.

    • John Watts says:


      Thanks for your kind words.

      That is a tough position to be in where you get caught between WC (work comp) and the hospital.

      A few questions for you — and if you live in Alabama give us a call at 205-879-2447 rather than responding publicly.

      1. Do you know when WC paid the bills?

      2. What does your credit report show — the hospital or a collector? How much? When does it show the account being “opened”?

      3. Do you know if WC told the hospital it would pay the bills? If so, when?

      4. On the robo calls — those to your home or cell?

      I am confident you need to get with a lawyer to sort this out. Timing can be a bit tricky and we need to look at the order/settlement with WC to see what they say.

      If you are in Alabama give us a call at 205-879-2447 or you can contact us through the website. We’ll be open on Monday but feel free to call/fill out form anytime.

      If you are somewhere else, get with a consumer protection lawyer in your state.

      Sorry you had to deal with this — if we can we will be happy to help you.

      And thank you again for your kind remarks.

      John Watts

    • Lainie says:

      Not sure if this will be allowed to be shared….but my professional background is in healthcare and insurance. Specifically, billing and I have a minor degree (soon to be a masters) in legal studies. Take that all for what you will!

      You would not have a claim against the hospital. Regardless of whether there is third-party liability (like WC in your case) you, the patient, are still liable for all charges incurred. That is part of the paperwork you complete at admission and is a piece of what is called “assignment of benefits” which allows a medical provider to bill another party on your behalf. Worker’s Compensation is notorious for being a bit slow as it always involves an investigation into the incident. Usually, from a medical billing standpoint, the provider will send the bill to the WC carrier and get a claim number for the injury instance. However, the hospital and any other medical provider is not under ANY obligation to keep waiting for that to settle. If the hospital felt the bill was aging beyond their own internal specifications, they could (and do) then bill your personal insurance.

      From there, your insurance will get a claim that clearly (or should be clearly) shows the injury is WC. Your insurance then pends the claim and sends you a letter requesting details of the injury and the WC carrier information. This usually will also include some sort of subrogation form they want you to sign which will guarantee your insurance payment from WC for any bills your company pays which are under the WC case.

      Let’s stop there for a second…if you are wanting to sort this out on your own before an attorney, then you need to find out if your personal insurance, as well as WC was ever billed by the hospital. If not, then this is a partial error (still not subject to any sort of legal action) on the part of the hospital billing office. At this point, that is almost moot as everything is now settled. But, it will be good to have that info in order to make your case with the hospital to get them to remove the items from your credit report. Also, really look at your credit report (and the robo-calls) is it actually the hospital or is any of it coming from the individual medical providers you saw? Let me explain, when you go to the hospital for any reason, you give your insurance card. BUT! The hospital itself DOES NOT share your information with the billers for the doctor you saw or the x-ray technician. Most people will then get another bill that may look like it comes from the same place/hospital but it is actually the physician’s group billing you for the doctor’s time/service. A lot of people ignore these notices because they gave their insurance information and think that was it. Those often end up in collection for that reason. If *that* is part of this, then you can get the creditor information from your report, call them and get it pretty easily handled/removed.

      If it is actually the hospital, you should be able to call billing and talk to a manager. Don’t mess with any of the regular call reps as they will not have the authority to do what you need. Explain the situation to the manager, including that there has been a settlement, and request that they remove the accounts from your credit file. Tell them you want a letter confirming the removal (save that letter in case you need it to dispute with the CRAs). You also want to find out if the WC carrier paid the bills directly (they usually do) or gave you a lump settlement that was supposed to include the bills (pretty unusual unless the case was really ugly and long). If none of this works…then absolutely go the route that Mr. Watts outlined for you. Good luck!

      • John Watts says:


        Thank you for the information you shared. Always love to have different perspectives and points of view.

        I’ll say this — medical billing is a nightmare….

        We run into this a lot and as a patient/consumer you have to work through multiple angles to get stuff corrected/paid. As you pointed out, when you add in worker’s compensation to the mix, it adds another level of complexity.

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and expertise — appreciate it!

        John Watts

  24. Harley Harlingten says:

    Well here we go with yet another Experian fiasco. This all started back in Nov. 2015, when I contacted Sears/CBNA (Citibank), when I noticed that on my credit reports (3) that they were reporting payment history on this account. I received a letter stating that they had a last payment date of Feb, 2009 and a closed date of Dec, 2010. They closed my account because of my bankruptcy as a matter of policy. I did not close the account because I had a zero balance before I filed for Bankruptcy. After They notified Equifax, Transunion and, Experian, of this. Equifax and Transunion made the proper changes and there is no current problem with those two. BUT, Experian (A company who is a foreign company), made no changes. Since then, I have sent three disputes to which their reply is they contacted the “data furnisher” and they confirm they are reporting correctly. In my disputes, I have included the document, (over and over again), from Citibank “Office of the President”Citicorp credit services. This document clearly shows they are reporting incorrect information. I am not going to dispute again because Experian might black list me with a declaration of “frivolous”, and not communicate on this issue again. I once again called the “data furnisher”(Citibank), and they said they are reporting correctly and there is nothing else they can do.
    Not only is this being reported incorrectly, Experian is reporting a payment history that has the last data reported was December 2010(that is when it closed), But gleaned from Experian’s own reports we have the following (Which I sent to Experian):
    March 2015 Closed December 2010
    April 2015 (no data reported till) April 2015 and new closed on April 2015
    July 2015 again no data reported from Dec 2010 until June 2015 and a new closed date of June 2015
    July 2015 no data from December 2010 until July 2015 and a new closed date of July 2015
    (Now there is a blank time because I can not afford reports)
    January 2016 no data from December to January 2016 and now a new closed date of January 2016
    March 2016 No data from December 2010 until March 2016 and NOW the closed date is March 2016.
    At this rate this will be on my report in perpetuity. As it is now Experian is reporting that it “is scheduled for removal” in 2026!!! It should be 2020 or sooner because of the bankruptcy notation on the account.
    I am in Nevada and I need to SUE someone but, I am not sure of one or both.
    Citibank says they report correctly and the Experian reports do not reflect that.
    Sorry for taking so much of your time and giving me a place to vent my frustrations. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted. Harley

    • John Watts says:


      Sorry I responded but must not have hit the right button as that response never appeared.

      Here’s the short version.

      Is Experian actually saying in writing that this account won’t come off until 2026?

      If so, I don’t see how that is possible if this is a negative account.

      I assume your first major delinquency on the account was in 2010? And was your bankruptcy in 2010 also?

      Please contact me privately and I can help you find a lawyer to help you in Nevada.

      Thanks and sorry for delay in responding — it was “operator error” — operator being me….. 🙂

      John Watts

      • Hi,
        I had a zero balance in 2009. In 2010 CBNA/Sears closed the account because of my bankruptcy filing and their policy, (I have spoken to Citibank directly plus letters documenting the facts). There was never any delinquency on this account.
        I have since sent a certified letter to Experian requesting:
        The full and complete name of the creditor
        The name of the person who “verified” the information
        The full and complete address of the address of the creditor contacted by Experian
        The full and complete phone number of the creditor who was contacted
        And, Copies of all documentation used to “verify” the information received by Experian.

        I received a reply today, (They received the certified mail on 4/15/16 and their report received by me on 4/25/16. They have said they won’t investigate anymore and referred to 611(a)(3)(A) of the FCRA which I believe means they labeled it “frivolous”. As to supply any of the information, none was given. As a matter of fact, This exact same letter was sent prior, (except the dates, (FORM LETTER)), which only shows me that they have no intention of complying with the law. I am sure their verification was e-Oscar and there is where the problem lays. This “system” is severely flawed and because it was a Joint effort by the “big 3″ to me this is collusion against the consumer. Money is all they are interested in, not the customer. Experian being a foreign company has no interest in complying with the laws of the U.S.A.
        Oh I almost forgot, Yes they say on every monthly report since April 2015 (in March 2015 it was correct) each month the”CLS” date moves up another month so now we are at March 2026.
        I have not been asking for removal just to put it correct. I really think, at this point, the only thing they might understand is a law suit.
        Thank you for your time.
        I have all the documentation and if you would like I could send you copies that outline the arrogance of this “bogus” company.

        • John Watts says:


          I agree at this point you may just need to sue them.

          If you have a lawyer in NV, get with them.

          If you don’t, email me privately (john [at] wattsherring.com) or contact me here and let me know you would like for me to find you a lawyer in your state who can help you.


          John Watts

  25. Sam says:

    Hi, I had a credit card charge off reported to my credit in 2010. In 2011 I called the creditor/collection agency to make a certain amount for full settlement and I got the agreement in writing. But for some reason the creditor still report to my credit as charge off account, zero balance due. Quote from the letter says ” XXX company has been authorized to accept XXX amount by XXX date as settlement in full for the above mentioned account.” I used XXX to hide the company name and info.

    I have disputed this error and the creditor keep updating as charge off.

    Please, how can I deal with this company.


    • John Watts says:


      Unfortunately it may be that the reporting is accurate as the account was charged off. I’m not sure if they are reporting it paid in full now or “settled in full for less than full amount owed”.

      Here’s my suggestion — get with a consumer lawyer in your state who understands credit reporting. Show the lawyer the letter, your credit reports, your dispute letters (my suggestion is don’t dispute online — dispute only by certified mail), and the “results of investigation” from the credit reporting agencies.

      If you have only disputed this with the creditor, then you’ll need to look at disputing it through the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to actually put some pressure on everyone to fix this if it is not reporting correctly.

      I hope this helps.

      If you are in Alabama give us a call at 205-879-2447. If you are outside of Alabama and can’t find an attorney in your state, get with me and I’ll be glad to try to point you in the right direction. Just let me know what state you live in.

      Thanks for your comment and sorry you are dealing with this….

      John Watts

  26. Tish says:

    Mr. Watts

    I had 2 student loans that were picked up by Georgia Student Finance right after my bankruptcy. Once I came out of bankruptcy I had consolidated all of my loans through Sallie Mae not aware that they left two accounts and they were sold to Georgia Student Finance without my knowledge. So when I would receive correspondences from Georgia student finance and other loan servicers I would discard the mail; because I thought it was junk mail, as all of my loans were supposed to have been consolidated with Sallie Mae. Fast forward, because of this mishap it resulted in 90 day late pays. Soon as I became aware of what happened I requested a forbearance with Georgia Student Finance and it was granted. Georgia Student Finance reported me late for the month of 03/2013 & 04/2013, but they retroacted my forbearance to cover 01/19/13 thru 06/19/13. On my credit report they have my account status pays as agreed but yet and still reporting me 60 & 90 days late in my payment history. Section 623(a)(2) of the FCRA state the data furnisher imposes a duty to correct and update information. My retroactive forbearance brought my account up to date and current on payments Therefore, the account is no longer considered delinquent. Under section 623(a)(2) Georgia student Finance is supposed to provide the updated information to the Credit Bureaus and the Credit Bureaus under Section 607(B) is supposed to report the updated information on my credit report. They both have failed to do either, with many numerous attempts to get them to correct this matter.

    I have furnished the credit bureaus a copy of my forbearance letter from Georgia Student Finance & they still say the information is verified and accurate. Georgia Student Finance will not delete the late payments although it was during my forbearance period. I live in Texas and in desperate need of FCRA attorney.

    Is it just me, but I was under the impression a retroactive forbearance brings the account current and no longer considered delinquent.

    Thank you in advance

    • John Watts says:


      Contact us at 205-879-2447 and ask for Carolyn. We will be glad to look at your documents (dispute letters, forbearance agreement, results of investigation, etc) and either we can help you here or work with one of our Texas lawyers.

      As far as your questions/situation, I know it is frustrating. If the forbearance is retroactive and shows that you did not owe for those months (as the obligations were pushed forward to a later time) then I think you are right that your credit report should be corrected.

      Let’s see what the documents say and then we can help you understand your options and/or get you to a Texas attorney.


      John Watts

  27. Lola says:

    Hi John,
    My Macy’s bill was due November 26, I paid it in full by November 22. November 24 I got a notice from collector said I did not paid it. Can I sue Macy’s for false accusation?

    • John Watts says:


      If you paid it in full and you have a collector saying you still owe it, I would consider mentioning to the collector that you paid it on November 22. Normally they will apologize and never bother you again.

      If they are reporting on your credit report, they will normally take that off.

      There are lots of details we would need to know (including if you live in Alabama) but the above general thoughts can get you started.

      If you do live in Alabama and want specific advice for your situation, call us at 205-879-2447.


      John Watts

  28. Elisabeth says:

    Hi John,

    I have a few questions regarding incorrect reporting after a Chapter 7 discharge. Experian is showing 90 days Late and collection status as of the bankruptcy filing date of April 2016 eventhough I had never been late prior to the bankruptcy filing. I disputed this information and Experian corrected all of my accounts except one. I pulled a new credit report 2 days ago and the incorrect reporting is back on my report. I also noticed a 90 day late reporting for December 2016 although the account was discharged in September 16. My question is should I send another dispute letter to Experian or do I have a case now? My second question is can Transunion report the accounts included in bankruptcy as derogatory if they were not derogatory or late as of the bankruptcy filing date? I disputed this over 30 days without an response. Finally, Equifax re-reported an account included in bankruptcy with a December 2016 date and open account status from the same creditor that is reporting an incorrect 30 day late with Experian that I previously disputed. This caused my Equifax credit report to drop by 10 points. Can I sue Equifax and the creditor for this?


    • John Watts says:


      You maybe able to sue — we recently handled a similar case.

      It all turns on the exact reporting and how the dispute was worded. Sometimes the bureaus fix the problem but then “re-insert” the false information. Some specific rules about doing that under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

      Can you call us at 205-879-2447 and to speak to Randi — she can get your info and then we can chat.


      John Watts

  29. Dusty says:

    I had 5 undergraduate student loans that my dad paid in full by October 2006 – over ten years ago. I just realized this year that Sallie Mae, now Navient, listed all five of those accounts on my credit in March 2012 as 120 days past due on payments during the years of 2011 and 2012. These are accounts that had been paid in full for nearly 6 years at the time they were put on my credit. I have contacted Sallie Mae/Navient by telephone and mail. I have sent a formal dispute to the credit bureaus to remove the information, but they responded that the creditor validated the debts, which is impossible since they have been paid since 2006. Even if I had been past due at any point during the life of those loans, that would have occurred over 10 years ago. I filed a complaint with the CFPB last week. I want to apply for a loan on my home to pay my current (open) graduate student loans of over $30k at 6.9% interest. I could get a loan on my home for a much lower interest rate, but my credit is damaged by the 5 derogatory accounts. Can you please suggest an attorney in Tennessee who can help me?

    • John Watts says:


      Contact my office at 205-879-2447 and ask to speak to Randi. She can help get your information and then we can chat. Have some options for you.



  30. Bill says:

    In December 2016 my mother-inlaw was visiting from Germany she went to the ER, Shbe had travel insurance and the bill was said to be paid by them. a year later somehow they put her bill onto my wife SSN and sent it to colletions my wife did not sign any documents or give them her SSN, I believe they got it thru her doctor that is also located at the Hospital. The Debt was reported belonging to a different Name than my wifes but that did not stop them from placing it on my wifes Credit report. We also never recieved and collection noticed for this. how do you get false alias off you credit. Is there any thing we can do about this since for one the bill was supposed to be paid by the Travel insurance and second they falsely attached it to my wifes ssn? We live in Texas

    • John Watts says:


      That’s crazy but unfortunately it happens.

      Several suggestions.

      1. You can get with a Texas lawyer to help you.

      2. You could send a dispute letter to the collection agency AND the hospital explaining this is not your wife’s responsibility, she did not agree to pay this, etc. Explain about the travel insurance.

      3. Dispute this with the credit reporting agencies — copy the collector — and explain it to them as well.

      Here’s the bottom line — this will come off of your wife’s account or she should be able to sue to get money damages and get this off of her reports.

      Stay on this and you should come out in good shape.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

  31. Johna says:

    I have a paid ECMC for $258 back in 2014. I paid off my Salle Mae, so I thought back in 2006. in 2013 Salle Mae said I owed $117 and sent me 2 years in payment coupons. I called many time and could get an answer. Salle Mae then “charged off” $258 and sent me to ECMC collections. I was done dealing with these idiots and paid off the $258 in 2014. I have been writing to ECMC to please update my credit report to “paid”, instead they are listing my credit report as “failed to pay”. I just pulled my report on 8/4 and they now reported me as 120 days late in July 2017. I feel all this is in retaliation, I even have a letter stating “paid in full” isn’t this illegal?

    • John Watts says:


      Yes it sounds wrong to me.

      I would seriously look at suing them under FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) if ECMC is a debt collector.

      Even if not a debt collector, you can send a dispute through the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). When ECMC tells them to not show it as being paid, you look at suing under the FCRA.

      No need to put up with this non sense.

      If you are in Alabama, give us a call in morn at 205-879-2447. If you live outside of Alabama, get with a good experienced consumer protection lawyer in your state and they can help you.

      You should have this solved quickly — this is ridiculous for you to have to be dealing with this.

      John Watts

  32. Denise says:

    What happens when a credit card company alters documents or tells you that a subpoena is necessary to get a copy of a credit application if they say you are a “joint account holder” upon my spouse’s death? I believe that a card company has committed fraud and I want to know if I have legal recourse against them. For 30 years, i believed myself to be an authorized user. When my husband died, I told them and knew I was not responsible for the debt in my state as an authorized user. They sent whited out documents of the signing date because I told them it was impossible for me to have signed it since I was in Ft. Dix, NJ, not Sarasota, FL. I complained to the CFPB, and the card company advocate completed a less than thorough “investigation”. She could not find record of my military service, told me the debt was charged off and I should consult a tax attorney because they may issue a 1099C and to boot, provided the non- whited out application with the dates to prove my claim.
    Thank you.

    • John Watts says:


      Let me make sure I understand your situation.

      The creditor/furnisher is reporting that you owe this debt when you believe you were only an “authorized” user?

      Sometimes it is a dead end road asking the furnisher for information or even the CFPB. If you are confident about not owing this debt, you may want to do one of two things.

      First, sue the furnisher under the FCRA AFTER you properly dispute it with all the credit reporting agencies.

      Second, and this would happen before the FCRA suit, you sue the furnisher/creditor to get the court to “declare” that you are only an authorized user. Once you have this written order from the judge, then you include that with any dispute to the credit reporting agencies (and copy furnisher/creditor) and see if they remove. This is more time consuming, more expensive, and it can be more effective.

      A lot depends on your local courts and the laws where you are as to which way you should go on it.

      If you live in Alabama now get with us at 205-879-2447. If outside of Alabama get with a consumer protection lawyer who understands the FCRA and they can go through your options.

      I know how frustrating this is for you and sorry you are having to deal with this now.

      Best wishes and definitely pursue this so you can get your credit report fixed….

      John Watts

  33. james says:

    Do you help with cases dealing with fora 609 ,where credit bureaus fail to delete items , But fail to show verifiable proof

    • John Watts says:


      We help Alabama consumers who are dealing with any violation of the FCRA.

      If you are in Alabama give us a call at 205-879-2447.

      Explain to us what the item is, why it should not be on there, and what type of proof you were sent (if any). We also will look at your credit reports (before and after the dispute) and the responses from the credit bureaus along with your actual disputes.

      Thanks and talk to you soon!

      John Watts

      PS — If you are outside of AL, you’ll need to get with a great consumer protection lawyer in your state to help you.

  34. Christopher L says:

    I have been victimized by identity theft. At first I sent out disputes and almost all came back verified. Ironically I also contacted some of the creditors who couldn’t verify so obviously the fact they claim to have verified anything is complete bunk. After a second set of letters I decided to file an Identity Theft Report with the FTC. I’ve supplied all 3 bureaus with this and the other required documentation. Transunion promptly blocked the fraudulant accounts. Experian asked for follow up information but Equifax in particular refuses to adhere to the 605b provision telling me that an investigation is required and I have to wait 30 days. The law clearly says 4 days and the real kicker is they don’t even have a system in place to comply with that timeframe. If i send docs to them it takes 10 days to even be uploaded so they can be reviewed. It’s beyond frustrating and I’ve spent well over a hundred hours on the phone with them which is in itself more than 4 days

    • John Watts says:


      Sorry you are dealing with ID theft and then on top of this having to deal with Equifax.

      At this point I definitely suggest getting with a consumer protection lawyer to see the following:

      1. Any additional disputes need to be done?

      2. Anything to do with the companies that have the bogus accounts?

      3. Is the case ready to sue on?

      4. If so, who to sue?

      5. Under what theories — FCRA, FDCPA (for any debt collectors), etc.

      If you are in Alabama give us a call at 205-879-2447. If outside of AL find a lawyer in your state or you can call us and we can see if we know someone in your state you could work with.

      Thanks and best wishes for getting this all behind you.

      John Watts

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