“Can I hold a debt collector responsible for putting false information on my credit reports especially when it lowers my credit score?”
“Can I hold a debt collector responsible for putting false information on my credit report especially when it lowers my credit score?”
Especially when it is from a debt collector who has damaged your credit reports and scores.
You have some options on how to fix this problem and hold the debt collector responsible.
Use the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to fix your credit report
Any company, including a debt collector, must only report correct (accurate) information on your credit reports.
If the debt collector is reporting false information, you can do a dispute under the FCRA directly to the credit reporting agencies.
If the false information is not fixed then you can sue under the FCRA.
Use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to fix false information put on your reports by debt collectors.
If a debt collector puts false information on your credit report and the collection agency knows the information is false, or should know, then this violates the FDCPA and you can sue immediately without disputing through the credit reporting agencies as described above.
Here are some examples.
Midland Funding, a debt buyer, offers to settle a debt of $5,000 for $3,000. You agree and pay the $3,000.
How much do you owe?
Nothing as you settled the debt.
But Midland Funding reports on your credit reports that you owe $2,000.
This violates the FDCPA.
LVNV, another well known debt buyer, sues you in Small Claims court in Alabama.
You answer the lawsuit and win your trial.
This means you do not owe the debt.
But LVNV does not remove the account from your reports.
Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) credit reports that you owe $2,500 on an old credit card account. You tell PRA this is not your debt and that it is from identity theft.
PRA has this information but chooses to ignore you and claims “We bought the debt as you owing on it and so you owe on it.”
PRA chooses to ignore this information but it can’t choose to ignore the consequences.
“So what should I do if I have false information on my credit report from a debt collector?”
First ask yourself if the debt collector knows or should know this is false information.
If so, then you can sue under the FDCPA.
If it doesn’t know, then consider sending information to the debt collector so it will have no excuse if it is truly innocent right now.
We often recommend doing this in the context of a dispute under the FCRA to the credit reporting agencies also — you simply copy the debt collector on your dispute letter.
Third, if the debt collector ignores your FCRA letter, then sue under the FCRA and FDCPA.
When you file a valid lawsuit in federal court, the collection agencies tend to quickly delete the false information so that they can claim they “stopped the bleeding” — it also shows the information was wrong and it took a federal court lawsuit to get the agency to do the right thing…
If you live in Alabama and you think you might have a case against a debt collector for false credit reporting, give us a call at 205-879-2447 and you will speak to a human being — not our voicemail (unless you call after hours) — and we can find out about your situation and set up a call or in person meeting.
Or even a video chat meeting to go over your options.
Or you are always welcome to fill out our contact form and we will get right back with you.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!