Why Must The Debt Collector Take Debt Off My Credit Report After I Win The Collection Case

“Why Must The Debt Collector Take Debt Off My Credit Report After I Win The Collection Case?”

Why Must The Debt Collector Take Debt Off My Credit Report After I Win The Collection CaseHundreds of collection lawsuits are filed by debt collectors (debt buyers) such as LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc. but most (if not all) are filed without any proof so it is common for folks to win their collection case.

I assume this happened with your collection case since you are reading this.  Two important points before we get into the details:

First, congrats!  You stayed strong and fought and you won.

Second, the debt collector that sued you must remove its reporting from your credit report.

Let’s talk about why the debt collector must do this and why they hate to do it.

They would prefer to leave it on your credit report — they “park” it on your report. Then when you need credit, or a job promotion, or a security clearance, they figure you can blackmailed into paying them to remove the false entry off your credit report.

Here’s how it goes:

Well, we know you think you don’t owe it but you really do.  What the judge says doesn’t matter.  But because we are a nice company, you can pay us 50% of the amount owed and we’ll delete it from your credit report.  Let’s get your banking information now.

But it should have never been on your credit report in the first place as you don’t owe the debt when you win your Alabama collection suit.  That’s what winning your case normally means.

So if you don’t owe the debt, how can it be on your credit report?

When does a debt collector violate the law in credit reporting a debt you don’t owe?

Now the debt collectors will take it off AFTER you win — this is because we have sued them so much on this issue that they finally changed their policies. That’s great and that’s nice.

But what about when it was on your credit report even before you win? The year or two this debt collector has been telling the world that you owe the debt even when you don’t?

If you never owed it then it NEVER should have been on your credit reports.  In our judgment, this violates the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and other laws.

Our simple solution . . . .

We have filed dozens and dozens of federal court lawsuits on this very issue — we sue the debt collector for false credit reporting (and other items).  They hate this but it is a valid claim.  We sue for money damages.

My advice to debt collectors years ago on credit reporting . . . .and why I was never invited back to speak again to this group.

Years ago I gave a presentation to a room full of debt collection attorneys about credit reporting.  I asked if a knife was a dangerous weapon or a wonderful tool.

Obviously, it can be either one.

I made the point the same is true when a debt collector credit reports.  It can be a powerful tool (forces folks to pay the debt) but if you report falsely, that tool turns in your hand to become a dangerous weapon.  My advice to that room full of collectors was to be very careful with credit reporting as when you do false credit reporting, you get sued.

I don’t think any listened.

Debt collectors tend to view credit reporting with a casual attitude that it is all “upside” with no “downside” — no risk.  But the laws don’t agree.

Do false credit reporting and expect to be hammered in federal court.

OK, I’ll step off my soapbox now . . . . 🙂

If you have won your collection suit and you want to know our thoughts on your options, call us at 205-879-2447 or contact us through our website.

John G. Watts
Watts & Herring, LLC
Birmingham and Madison Offices in Alabama

(Representing consumers all over Alabama).


  1. John L says:

    Does it count if they know they won’t prevail and withdraw the complaint. I’ve had that happen 4 times.

    • John Watts says:


      It depends on what you mean by they withdrew the complaint. If you are in Alabama and the case is dismissed WITH prejudice (and not in a settlement context) then yes they have to delete it. (If it is part of a settlement the answer is more complicated as depends on the settlement).

      If the case was dismissed withOUT prejudice, then they normally won’t have to delete it. Now, it may be a false account and so it needs to be deleted anyway but simply a dismissal without prejudice doesn’t require it.

      One thing to keep in mind — you get sued by a debt collector and you file an answer denying the allegations. Then the debt collector updates your credit report — it must update the account as being disputed or it will normally violate the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) section e(8).

      Interesting you have had this happen 4 times — same company or different companies?

      Thanks for your question!

      John Watts

  2. Liza says:

    Hi John,
    This is a great site. My question is regarding the penalties for collection agencies. I understand that they must pay 1000.00 per “incident” when they violate a fair credit reporting law (same for the bureaus). Honestly, this doesn’t seem like much money in terms of deterring future false reporting behavior. I understand you can make a demand for attorney fees, emotional damages–but again, it seems like these damages don’t really force them to think twice the next time. In fact alot of collection companies (and certainly the bureaus) have been sued LOTS of times. Why don’t they get the message?

    • John Watts says:

      Thanks Liza for your comment and questions.

      Some of these cases are small and some we settle for six figures. That definitely gets their attention. 🙂

      We need more consumers suing on valid claims and eventually things will reach the “tipping point” where the companies say, “You know, it is too expensive to keep breaking the law.”

      Until then they won’t change as it is not personal — it is truly all about the money for these collection agencies and credit reporting agencies.

      Thanks for your comment and let me know what thoughts you have….

      John Watts

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