Should I use the FDCPA or FCRA when a debt collector has false credit reporting on me?
“Should I use the FDCPA or FCRA when a debt collector has false credit reporting on me?”
You can actually use either of them, or in some cases you can use both.
Under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) you can sue a debt collector without disputing with the credit reporting agencies.
However, you may want to try disputing through the credit reporting agencies so that you can use the FCRA also.
The FDCPA states that the debt collector should remove any false information without you having to talk to them.
The FDCPA gives you a way around disputing with them, but you may want to try that first anyways.
The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) does require you to dispute through the credit reporting agencies FIRST.
With the FCRA, you do need to dispute with the credit reporting agency that is falsely reporting (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, etc).
Then it needs to stay on your reports (the false information) before you can sue.
If the debt collector should know that the information is false, then you should go on and sue.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say a debt collector says, “Hey, you owe us $5,000. Let’s settle it for $3,000.”
You pay them $3,000 and they’re supposed to take it off of your credit report.
However, they still report that you owe them $2,000.
Obviously they know that’s false, because they told you that they would settle for $3,000.
So you may have won your debt collection lawsuit, but they’re still reporting that you owe them money.
You should likely go on and sue them for money damages because they know better.
However, if the debt collector doesn’t know that it’s false credit reporting, you should dispute first.
Send the credit reporting agencies proper dispute letters and explain why the information is false.
Copy the debt collector on those letters.
This way you can use both the FDCPA and the FCRA.
If they fix it, that’s great.
If they don’t, then you can sue them under both of these laws.
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