What damages can I get when I sue under the FCRA for false credit reporting?

What damages can I get when I sue under the FCRA for false credit reporting?When you have a company (or companies) violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can get money damages but there are some twists and turns to it.

Let’s talk about the following:

  • Basic timeline of when you can file an FCRA case . . . the oddities of this law make it counter-intuitive
  • Compensatory (actual) damages . . . to make up for your loss
  • Punitive damages . . . to punish companies for breaking this law
  • Statutory damages . . . even if you can’t prove you were harmed
  • Attorney Fees . . . that the bad guys have to pay you
  • When your damages begin . . . as it is unusual under the FCRA


Basic timeline of when you can file an FCRA case . . . the oddities of this law make it counter-intuitive

So you have an error on your credit reports.  What do you do next?

[Note:  I’m ignoring the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) which deals with debt collectors — including credit report errors by debt collectors.  We’ll keep this focused solely on the FCRA].

You cannot sue without first disputing the false information through the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, SageStream, TransUnion, etc).

If it gets fixed after your first dispute, that’s the end of the matter under the FCRA.

But if it does not get fixed, and if the law has been violated, then you can sue.

So let’s use a quick example of a paid off debt.

This happens a lot, especially for folks who are looking to buy a house.

You owed Capital One $4,000.

You end up settling with Capital One (or whoever) for $3,000.

So how much do you owe?


But Capital One lists you as owing $1,000 (the difference in $4,000 and the $3,000 payment).

So you dispute this through the credit reporting agencies.

They verify it — which means it is not being changed to a Zero balance.

Since this is false information and you did a proper dispute, you can sue under the FCRA.  We will focus this article on suing Capital One but it is also the same for suing the credit reporting agencies.

Compensatory (actual) damages . . . to make up for your loss

Having Capital One keep false information on you — even after you disputed — is incredibly frustrating.

So it is natural this will cause you mental anguish.

How frustrating to have a large company just refuse to fix the problem in a such a high handed way.  They settled with you but now they want to change the deal and blackmail you into paying them more money.


So you could and would make a claim for mental anguish damages to compensate you for your frustration and what they put you through.

It is also natural this could cost you money in terms of higher interest rate or being rejected for a home loan.

You can also recover damages for any monetary loss.  So you pay more for your home mortgage — that would be damages.

You lose a job due to the credit reporting by Capital One — that can be damages.

Point is you can be compensated for both monetary and non monetary damages.


Punitive damages . . . to punish companies for breaking this law

If the bad conduct of the defendant was intentional or reckless, then you may can get punitive damages under the FCRA.

Punitive damages serve two critical functions:

  1.  Punish the defendant for very bad conduct
  2. Discourage the defendant (and others like the defendant) from ever doing this again

So the first one is simply to punish.  Someone cheats you or intentionally hurts you, they need to be punished.

The second one is to send a message to all companies who credit report — do not break the FCRA or you will face punitive damages.


Statutory damages . . . even if you can’t prove you were harmed

Like punitive damages, the statutory damages are designed to be used when the defendant (Capital One in our example) intentionally harms you or intentionally breaks the law.

You can get up to $1,000 per violation of the law.

This is so even if you were not hurt (compensatory damages), you can receive monetary damages.  It is to provide you an incentive to bring suit.

Why would the law encourage you to bring a lawsuit?

Because the federal government knows it can’t police all of these companies who break the law.  So it encourages consumers to bring lawsuits to help clean up the industry.


Attorney Fees . . . that the bad guys have to pay you

Another way the law encourages you to bring suit is the company you sue may have to pay your attorney fees.  This makes it easy for you to sue because your lawyer will be paid for by the bad guys.

Ironic isn’t it — they break the law and have to pay you, pay their own lawyers, and pay your lawyers.

This is to encourage you to bring suit and to encourage companies to do the right thing — simply follow the law.


When your damages begin . . . as it is unusual under the FCRA

Let’s talk a minute about when damages can begin.

Here is the typical situation:

Bad credit reporting -> turned down for credit -> dispute -> does not get fixed

The FCRA says you only get damages after you dispute and the bad information is not fixed.  Not the damages that you suffered before you disputed it.

Like anything there are exceptions but this is the basic concept.

This is not anything to stress over, but you do need to understand this as you and your lawyer calculate your damages.  We often see consumers who don’t understand this bizarre way to figure damages and it can cause confusion.

We can work with the law to get you full compensation but just keep this in the back of your mind that there is this unusual starting point for FCRA damages.  [Note — this is different than other laws including the FDCPA].

Let us know if you would like any help

If you live in Alabama, we are happy to talk to you about your situation and see how we can help you answer all of your questions.

Give us a call at 205-879-2447 or fill out our contact form and we will be happy to help you.

Best wishes!

John Watts


  1. Lana says:

    CACH LLC purchased my credit card debt in 2008. They name a bank I’ve never done business with ( Maryland bank) as the original creditor. I told them to prove the debt and they sent a reassignment letter from Bank of America (correct original creditor). Every 1-3 years a different attorney or agency writes to me trying to collect. I disputed the amount as it has increased by more than $1,000. No one representing CACH ever responded to the disputed amount. Except for placing an “investigating” notation under IBM credit union. IBMCU actually provided the credit card but BofA was the card issuer. I contacted the collections manager at IBMCU who said they themselves have no business relationship with me and did not place that notation on my credit file.
    Yesterday, I received a letter from First National Collections Bureau claiming to represent CACH, which states the need for me to respond/dispute within 30 days…
    Note: I had never received a response to my dispute 3 years ago. CACH has chosen to not sue me since 2008 and this debt has passed the SOL. CACH also began addressing me by a different name, adding a Margaret as a middle name. I wrote to them saying this isn’t my name and to address me correctly. They submitted this conjured up name to the credit reporting agencies, though I don’t know how as the bad debt no longer was on my credit report. Can I sue them?

    • John Watts says:


      Whether you can sue CACH or any of the collectors CACH hires is a complicated question.

      Let me give you some thoughts.

      If you dispute to a debt collector (and CACH is considered a collector as this is their main business — collecting debts), then the collector needs to respond or do no further collection. But they can sell or assign or transfer the debt.

      A debt should not be on your report — talking about negative debts — more than 7 years after the first major delinquency. Typically 6 months of not paying. So if you defaulted in 2008, this should not be on your reports.

      I’m not clear if it is CACH or First National Collections Bureau reporting on you.

      Here’s my advice:

      Get with a consumer protection attorney in your state. Lay out the timeline of everything that has happened and include the documents. So the collection letters, the dispute letters, the credit reports, etc.

      For example, does your credit report show this debt is disputed?

      Does the collection letter you just received tell you it is too late to sue you? Does it warn you that if you pay, you may restart the statute of limitations?

      Then the lawyer can advise you on these types of options:

      1. Sue CACH
      2. Sue First National Collections Bureau
      3. Sue both
      4. Send a dispute letter to one or both
      5. Dispute with the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, etc)
      6. Call them

      There are options and it really depends on exactly what has happened so get you some good advice.

      If you are in Alabama call us at 205-879-2447 if you want to chat with us.

      Best wishes

      John Watts

    • Laura Wagoner says:

      Cach did the same thing to me, it’s related to the Wells Fargo fake account scandal. When they made money disappear they said a sheriff took it for a levy. Wells Fargo really took the money in bank fees and identity thefted the sherif. Now when I tried to figure out what happened at the court lvl, judges, court attendants and sheriffs all helped in submitted affidavits they weren’t definitely not true, Like the sherif hand delivering my original court notice personally to me at a P.O. Box address?! Yup ppl live in P.O. Boxes lol, and I was really in the hospital fighting for my life and learning to walk and feed myself again and not one visitor signed in to deliver me or even see me, definitely not a sheriff. Now 6 years later when I tried to get the first hearing, the courts mailed me documents saying My motions were accepted and then two days later didn’t notify me of the appeal saying they couldn’t read my address, same address they could read 2 days prior. So I never received notification of court date 1. They allowed me to gave another court date and again no notification but I kept track daily so I showed up. They didn’t have my name on any court documents so by the time I found out the court room I was in I was refused access to the proceeding and forced to sit in the hall and wait. They then filed that I never showed up and it was another default judgement. Cach turned out to be a company of my credit cards that I paid my cc bill insurance to and when I became paralyzed my insurance kicked in. This was the insurance company way do getting their money back. Also after the insurance kicked in all my cards were closed. Two years later they re-issued my credit card to this random PO Box that wasn’t even recognized by the Usps as a valid address. What they took me to court for was only their fees for activating this new account which I never requested and monthly late payment fees and interest charges. This is illegal on so many levels and considering Wells Fargo is owned by the government 51% of every public bankers and the courts are helping steal our money up to every judge that handled any of the orders. Welcome to being blacklisted, they really want to overwhelm you so much you jump off a bridge and then they can really put your accounts into debt, and if you don’t kill yourself from the hell they are about to inflict on your life they will put something in your soda that you happen to order from the same vending machine, c4 was always my selection and the selection that made me fight for my life while docs refused to even test me and just decided I was making it up. I was paralyzed from the untested H pylori that starved me to death for 2 years and then my neuropathy kicked in, I shouldn’t even be walking right now but all the anger I had to these places doing this to me overcame everything, I survived and am actually able to walk and I’m still raising hell about this. This is going to be the fight of your life to get out of this. You will have banks approaching you, blackmailing you that is you don’t help commit gov check fraud they will blacklist you. I’ve intercepted checks in my name and address from banks that said it wasn’t my account because the birthday didn’t match, odds of two Laura wagoners living at the same address at the same time with different birthdays?! Worst place you could be is in jail so be extremely vigilant and cover your tracks and report identity theft now and go to the police, and whatever anyone threatens you with don’t commit any crimes. The banks own the jails you’ll be going to. It’s all to steal our tax money in bank buyouts and payments for housing us in jai. It’s Americans number one market paying banks( aka the government) out trillions of tax dollars for faked debt and buyouts and the private prisons the government pays for each inmate plus how much it costs the inmates and their families to also pay for them to be there. Check out my movement Tesla’s Revenge, it’s still fairly new but it’s gonna redefine what death and taxes really means and every guilty judge, sheriff and politician will pay back the American ppl which the debt will continue to their offsprings. I remember how helpless I felt at first, it’s worth sticking it through as your helplessness will turn to the most empowering feeling you’ve felt and now I’m unstoppable. Stop using banks to keep what little money you’ll be able to acquire, don’t eat predictable food and don’t so much as jaywalk and keep your phone tracking your every move so they can’t frame you.. it’s gonna stop soon I promise .. just hold in there..

  2. Dave Mock says:

    I paid off a loan with Wells Fargo early with no late payments and they reported to Eqifax only that I was delinquent of the pay off amount ($3592.00 – Feb. 2018). This error in reporting lowered my FICO score 42 points or 10 years of my good credit. Wells Fargo says it was a mistake and after I disputed the amount with Wells Fargo and Eqifax they did correct the error. I had an 831 FICO score for many years and after paying off this loan my FICO score went down 42 points to 789. I have been with Wells Fargo for almost 30 years and paid of many loans including home loans. With all depute corrected my FICO score still remains under 800. Is there anything I can do to retain my original FICO score? Is this something I can sue for punitive and/or statutory damages for?


    Dave Mock

    • John Watts says:


      Under the FCRA it is almost always required that you dispute first, and then ONLY if the false information is not corrected can you sue under the FCRA.

      Sounds like it was fixed but your score has not returned.

      Were there other changes? Were credit limits lowered as a result of Wells Fargo error? That could lower your score also.

      I would pull your report now and compare it to how your report was before the WF error — see if you can find any differences. It might be you had some other consequences to the WF error and by contacting those companies showing them WF made an error (wouldn’t be the first time for those geniuses at Wells Fargo!!) they might put things back the way they were.

      You should also be able to get with a consumer lawyer in your state who does FCRA work to help you look at this at no charge. Here is a useful site to start looking for someone in your state: https://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-an-attorney

      Hope you can get this fixed ASAP!

      John Watts

  3. Ashley Darby says:

    I am possibly looking into suing TransUnion and Equifax for false reporting. I have already submitted a dispute to both and they have decided to keep thr original 5818.00 charge on my credit when the company that submitted the charge has agreed that my rightful balance is $702.00. This is s frustrating process and it feels like the credit reporting agency as well as the creditor don’t care about facts.

  4. Yolanda B. says:

    I’ve been trying to get Nissan-Motor/Infiniti Corp (NM/IC) to correct a credit reporting error for three months now. I was leasing a vehicle and was contacted by the dealership in Jan 2019 to do an early-trade, to which I agreed to. Well after all the paperwork & agreements with NM/IC (completed end of Jan 2019), I discovered they reported me late for both the month of Jan 2019 & Feb 2019, thereby causing me to drop significantly in credit score which has resulted in the loss of my ability to qualify for financing on my new home (I was simultaneously trying to buy a home at the time and informed the dealership that this absolutely could not interfere with that process, they assured me it would not and even notated it on my financial account with NM/IC to which they also agreed). I’ve disputed all of this with all 3 credit bureaus, and we’re told until NM/IC sends corrections, the bureaus cant just auto-update. I’ve had numerous phone conversations with NM/IC; they addressed the Jan 2019 late, but still will not send anything regarding the Feb 2019 late error being reported. Again, this is affecting my livelihood altogether & my children & I need to find a home… Do I have a case to sue NM/IC and the bureaus? I live in Alabama. I appreciate any help you can provide.

    • John Watts says:


      I’m sorry you are dealing with this.

      Please call us at 205-879-2447 and ask for Randi.

      Short answer is we need to see what they do with the disputes — do they fix this or keep it?

      Be glad to walk you through your options.


      John Watts

  5. Ken says:

    I’m having a problem with Navient regarding a student loan. They reported me as 90 and 120 days late back in 2013 in June, July, August, and September. In October of 2013 I have a forbarence granted that was retroactive back to May 1st of 2013. Now they refuse to remove the deragatory marks from my credit report claiming they are accurate. I have repeatedly filed disputes over the years through Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. More recently I have filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and they respond back that the FCRA says only that it has to be accurate and that because it was accurate at the time they reported it they can leave it on my report. My research reveals that under section 632 of the FCRA they must also “update” the credit reports when new information is available. Can I file suit against Navient for damage to my credit under the FCRA? This is beyond frustrating. I’m in Maryland by the way. TIA.

  6. Tam P says:

    I recently received a letter from my mortgage company stating that they have reported my spouse with an active bankruptcy from 03/2013 through 11/2014 and will have it corrected within six weeks. Is there any recourse?

    • John Watts says:


      I would not trust a company that messed this up to then fix it. I’m assuming spouse is not really in bankruptcy, right?

      Your spouse can send a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, etc) and if they don’t fix it, then sue.

      And if the mortgage company is a “debt collector” then you may want to look at suing under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) — 15 USC 1692e(8). (Here is a video on section 1692e if you are interested — https://youtu.be/ABG8Bk5m6fw)

      So you may have recourse if you (your spouse) can sue under the FDCPA or if your spouse disputes and it is not fixed under the FCRA.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

  7. Arthur says:

    Help me understand here:

    Settled an account with Chase. Received completion letter in March 2018. They continued to report the difference as being owed. I disputed 4-5 times with each bureaus (did not provide letter as I didn’t think I needed to). The disputes always came back as verified and accurate. Finally called Chase and faxed in document 1.5 weeks ago as they had “no record of it.” Can I sue? They are still ‘investigating’ but how can they claim they had no record of it when they were the ones that sent me the letter in the first place? 1.3 years of inaccurate reporting???


    • John Watts says:


      Sounds like you have not been treated right if I’m understanding what happened.

      So let’s say you owed $5,000.

      You paid a total of $3,000 as settlement.

      Chase still reporting you owe $2,000?

      And you disputed multiple times with the credit reporting agencies and the account came back verified?

      Email me at john [at] wattsherring.com and I’ll be glad to take a look and see what thoughts I have for you.

      Or you can call at 205-879-2447 and ask Carolyn to set us up a phone call.


      John Watts

  8. Jessica says:

    Verizon Wireless allowed someone to open an account using my information. Of course, I found out once that account got sent to collections, and hit my credit score. I have since gotten it removed, but it took a while and they gave me the runaround. During that time my credit took a serious hit and companies lowered my credit limits, which gave me more problems of increasing my credit ratios. So even though I’ve gotten them to remove the collections now, it left me in a difficult spot. I’m debating on suing them, but I don’t know if that’s a wise choice financially. Realistically speaking, is this something that would benefit me or just cause a lot of stress, time, energy, and resources with very little to come out of it?

    • John Watts says:


      It may be that you can sue the collector. A lot depends on how much notice you gave them, should they have known it was a bogus account, etc.

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

      I understand your frustration as lowered limits mess up usage which lowers scores even though collection account is removed.

      I would say its worth it to look at especially if this has harmed you getting a loan, etc.

      Sorry having to deal with it.


  9. Steve says:

    I am preparing to file a small claims lawsuit against Equifax CRA. Equifax has been inputting false negative information submitted by Chase Bank to my credit file over the last few months in order to downgrade my score. The negative changes include reporting timely payments as late, changing the status of currently open long-term accounts currently open to closed status on my file, inputting fraudulent address changes to my file. I have disputed their attempted defamation thru certified letters to Equifax. A couple of the previous payments falsely marked as late were corrected but then they falsely marked the next month as late. My score had been in the mid 700s prior to their defamation campaign; currently they are reporting a 594 score. My question is what section(s) of the FCRA would you recommend filing the lawsuit under? Thank you for whatever advice you can provide.

    • John Watts says:


      I’m sorry you are going through this non sense with Equifax.

      Here is my best advice to you: Do NOT file in small claims court.

      Here are the reasons:

      1. Equifax will almost certainly remove your case to federal court anyway.
      2. You may have limited your damages — in Alabama the most you can recover in small claims is $6,000.
      3. If you have proof of disputes and failure to correct, then your case is likely worth more than small claims limit.
      4. Get a lawyer in your state to help you — someone experienced in suing Equifax — as it will not cost you any money to hire a lawyer. Your lawyer will be paid out of the settlement but will very likely get you more than you can get on your own and the judge can make Equifax pay your attorney fees. If you don’t have an attorney, Equifax gets off the hook on that.

      You will be dealing with a lawyer for Equifax that this is all they do. They will know the tricks, etc and will try and beat you on procedural grounds in federal court.

      As far as the sections — this is one you want to start with — https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681i. 15 USC Section 1681i.

      The damages section is https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681o for negligence and https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681n for willful violations of the law.

      You may also want to sue Chase if they have not fixed false info that you disputed with the credit reporting agencies: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681s-2

      Best wishes!!


      PS — if you are in Alabama feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447 ask for Carolyn and she’ll set us up a call. If outside of Alabama, here is a good place to start looking for a lawyer: https://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-an-attorney

  10. Dom says:

    A debt collector tried to collect a debt I do not owe. I reported them to CFPB and they responded that it was a mistake. Few months after, I now see the debt in my credit report. I have disputed with TransUnion, but I will like to know if it is financially wise to sue the debt collector since I have proof of acknowledgment from them few to CFPB a few months back that they made a mistake trying to collect the debt from me.
    Can I sue them in small claims court?

  11. Alex says:

    So I have filed a dispute about my credit report mashing with somebody else for a credit card. They removed it but that was a few years ago now same thing with the same guy on a few different accounts and the credit agencies are refusing to remove it’s not me even the person at transunion said have never seen this I dont know what to do please help

  12. Mary says:

    My husband’s credit score is 881. We have been turned down for a car loan by Transunion twice. 1 small card balance under 2000 no other debts. Their reasons aren’t realistic. We are going to try again with a credit union we have money in and our bank. The car dealer chose the first two banks. Will we get the same results from the new 2 bank’s from Transunion.

    • John Watts says:

      Mary — you should look for an “adverse action” notice telling you that you have been declined and it will give the reasons.

      May also be worth a bit of money to do “myfico.com” to get an idea of why your score is this way.

      Sometimes it can (ironically) be for not using credit cards that much or maybe not having “installment” loan type of debt.

      I know its frustrating but hopefully, you can get some answers soon.

      John Watts

  13. Steve says:

    My credit score previously was in the mid 700s until about 1.5 yrs ago. Credit file has been getting attacked on all 3 cras since that time with fraudulent late payment entries, unauthorized inquiries, phony addresses. Been able to correct some of the garbage but as soon I make corrections get attacked on another report. Then I was advised by Credit Karma that one of my accounts that I had at least 10 yrs was closed, I contacted that Bank, and was told that Experian contacted them and sabotaged the account by telling them that I was disputing the balance (which I wasn’t) and they told them that there was a Fraud alert on the account, resulting in them closing the account. I sent final certified letter on Experian report and ready to sue them for maximum they are liable for. Is this an issue that you handle, and if not, can you recommend someone?

  14. Norma Rivera says:

    I received an offer to sign up for the OLLO credit card, which I did. I took a $13,000 loan out to pay off my car and credit cards. I was given 4 checks to send out to my credit cards,one being OLLO, the check was for $1,432,20 cents. I sent it out Jan 29th,2020, they received it February 3rd and it was posted on Feb 7th. I called OLLO a week later because my account stated it was on hold. I question them as to why and they stated that they hold the check for at least 20 days to assure that it clears. I followed up with a call a week later and they stated it would be available Feb 21th, which it was. I started using the card and on a purchase that I made 3 days later I received an email that it was declined. I called OLLO, they directed me to the Fraud Dept, I was told that my account was flagged as fraud because of my payment history (clarification) because I was paying sometimes $50,$75 and $100, and that all of a sudden I paid $1,432.20, and they decided it was fraud and that I needed to prove that this was my bank account. I try to explain to them that it was not my account, that the check was given to me to send to my credit card companies, the checks all had my name and the credit card name on it. I signed it and sent it over to them. Today is Feb 20th and nothing has been resolved. I truly feel that this is a case of deformation of character,. Has anyone ever been accused of fraud because you paid off your credit card or was I flagged because of my last name RIVERA!!! Can someone please help me with some answers

  15. Brenda Antillon says:

    I have been damaged by the credit report beuro stating wrong information with a different used written name and several addresses that I don’t have theres also false information saying I owe left and right to several different companies which I don’t owe them I have documents stating otherwise but my previous lawyers say they can’t do nothing for me because I have a chapter 7 bankruptcy I filled before. Please give me some advice I sent letters and put a freeze on my credit report but they still don’t do nothing for me. Can I sue them still? Which lawyers can I call?

  16. Alyssa Siagga says:

    Wakefield and associates put a collection on my account in 2017 from physicians and professionals on a date of 4-21- 2014, I was a minor at the time, only 17 years old. Therefore I should not be responsible for that. And it should not be on my account. I contacted them and they said they would delete it, but it is still on my credit. Can I sue them? This has affected me and made my credit score go down over 100 points.

  17. Jason says:

    I had a lender pull my credit report, and Transunion has someone else’s name and social security number associated with my credit report. I have called Transunion 4 different times, and explained to them (once I finally get someone on the phone) that the information that pulls up on there that it isn’t mine, but keep getting the run around from Transunion and transferred to another department. Would I be able to sue Transunion for this?

    • John Watts says:

      Jason — yes if they don’t fix it. Sometimes even if they do fix it you can still sue.

      If you are still dealing with this email me at john@wattsherring.com and I’ll be happy to take a look at your situation.

      This is what is called a “mixed file” where they have you mixed up or merged with another consumer.

      John Watts

  18. Jason says:

    Transunion has someone else’s information associated with mine, and their name and social security number are showing up on my report, the accounts listed on the credit report are not mine. I’ve called Transunion multiple times to dispute the reports, but it doesn’t seem to matter to them. Can I sue Transunion over the false information?

    • John Watts says:


      Yes based on what you have said you likely can sue under the FCRA. It is best if you have done disputes in writing but disputes can be done over the phone.

      If you are in Alabama contact me — 205-879-2447 or https://alabamaconsumer.com/contact-us/ and you can get a message to us.

      Thanks and be happy to help you!


  19. William Dumas says:

    The 3 main credit monitors lowered my credit because I dont have enough credit card account I dont need credit cards as I have enough income to buy what I need. I have one card. They refuse to listen. They recommended that I should have 5 credit accounts. I got another credit card act to see if it made a difference. (I cut up credit card as soon as I received it as I had no intension to ever use it) I got to get and cut up 3 more credit cards to make the credit monitors happy. This is ridiculous

    • John Watts says:

      Most scoring models do penalize you if you never use your card. It is just a choice you have to make whether to have and use credit or not.

      If you don’t need credit, then no problem.

      But if you need your credit score to be higher, then you do have to play the game. FICO is the dominant scoring model and they have a lot of information on their website about what goes into the scoring model.

      Frustrating I know.

      John Watts

  20. sara says:

    I opened a loan with greensky. I paid 8 months in a row on time. On may ist 2020 they apparently took my bamking info wrong. I found out on june first that the payment ddi not go through. So i paid that 12.27 payment again and the 13.12 for june. On june 13 i got notice from trans union that i am 30 days past due. I have complained with no answer except blaming me saying i used different bank(not true and have proof)accounts to pay bill. I called mon to dispute with transunion and Equifax. I just sent letters today. My credit scores were 760-780 now 675-700. I was just turned down for a credit card on Saturday. What else can i do? I can not seem to find an attorney. Do i have to find one in the state i live for them atleast send a letter? Can i still sue?

    • John Watts says:

      Sara sorry dealing with this. Did this get fixed or are they saying you are still 30 days late?

      If still having a problem, feel free to email your information at john@wattsherring.com and I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts.

      John Watts

  21. Joshua says:

    I am being sued by a creditor after i had settled for less with a debt relief company that assisted me. I have the statement showing that they were paid. I had contacted the debt relief company and they are investigating as well. I had looked into the account under my credit report and it was purchased by another lender. I don’t understand much but I am upset and still waiting on information.

    • John Watts says:

      Joshua — shoot me an email with what is going on because if the debt relief company paid, then there is nothing owed.

      You do have to confirm the debt settlement company actually paid — they should be able to prove this to you.

      john@wattsherring.com if you want to email me.

      Best wishes

      John Watts

  22. Richard Newsome says:

    I have been going back and forth with Equifax for about 5 years now about inaccurately reporting my credit. It says I owe American Airlines Federal Credit Union $1500 when I already paid off and settled the debt in 2016. They have consistently taken the debt off and put it back on over the course of the last three years. I have called, written and emailed them multiple times. AAFCU says they are reporting it as paid to all the credit bureaus but Equifax is the only one who has left it on my credit report. It has caused my score to go up and down like a roller coaster over the past three years. I was also a victim of identity theft and Verizon said they would get the inquiry removed but it is still showing up on my credit report with Equifax after I filed a police report. Do you think I have a case?

    • John Watts says:

      Richard — yes you likely do have a case or can with the proper disputes. This is a frustrating problem folks have where settled debt comes back with a balance owed which is impossible — if it is settled then NOTHING is owed.

      If you are still dealing with this, feel free to email your information at john@wattsherring.com and I’ll be glad to give you my thoughts.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

  23. Chris Trautsch says:

    I had filed a bankruptcy about 8 years ago and have been trying to get my credit back on track since. One of the loans that was on the bankruptcy was just reported 8 years after the bankruptcy as delinquent and wrote off as bad debt. Now I am trying to refinance my house and have been refused due to my score falling to 600 this qill cost me thousands over the next 15 years. Is there anything I can do legally. It has been disputed and will be resolved but the damage is done.

    • John Watts says:


      Generally to sue under the FCRA you have to show that it was NOT fixed after you disputed with the credit reporting agencies.

      If the company that put the false information on your report was a debt collector, you can often sue under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) without disputing.

      Why don’t you send me the information and I’ll be glad to take a look your reports, dispute letters, etc. and I’ll give you my thoughts.

      I know this is very frustrating and it never should have happened.

      John Watts

  24. Hello

    I strongly suspect that the FICO score being reported on my credit profile is vastly different (in a negative fashion) to other people in very similar circumstances. I would like to sue but am unsure how to prove this, as the bureaus will not likely reveal the credit report of other people with very similar credit profiles.

    How can any person be assured that they are being reported fairly in relation to other people?

    • John Watts says:


      All you are entitled to is accurate credit reporting. What FICO does with their scoring models is something that you won’t be able to find out other than to see your score. Unless you sue FICO and that would be a very hard lawsuit.

      So step ONE is to make sure your reports are 100% accurate.

      Then really learn what FICO looks at — often it is a bit counter intuitive. So we might pay off a debt and have our score lower. We just have to understand the rules of the game.

      But start with making sure 100% correct reports.

      You can get your reports for free here — https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action — once a week until April 2021.

      Best wishes


  25. Brian Decker says:

    In my credit report its showing Trans Union has 4 garnishments through my Firefighters Credit Union. I have neve had any garnishments on any of my accounts. How do i dispute that?

  26. Jaylen Williams says:

    I am having trouble getting equifax to delete an account for reporting an incorrect date of last payment as well as the wrong close date. Both transunion and Experian have these two things correct and i have disputed twice once including my last payment confirmation from chase, a copy of my transunion report stating the correct dates, a letter from chase stating the correct close date and somehow they have still verified it. I also made a complaint with the cfpb which did not help.

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