After you answer a debt collection lawsuit what should your credit report show?

After you answer a debt collection lawsuit what should your credit report show?

A picture of a man looking at a question mark with the words, "After you answer a debt collection lawsuit what should your credit report show?"

Once you’ve been sued by a debt buyer such as Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or LVNV, and you’ve filed an answer, what should your credit report show?

It’s excellent that you’ve answered the lawsuit. Most people fail to respond, which can be detrimental to you. 

So what should the credit report show about this debt buyer?

There are a few important things to look for when reviewing your credit report. 

First, is the original creditor on your credit report? Are they showing a $0 balance?

An original creditor is a company that you originally opened an account with, someone like Capital One or Synchrony Bank

Let’s say that Chase Bank has supposedly sold your debt to Midland. 

This means that Chase should show a $0 balance for this account because they no longer own the debt.

If the original creditor shows on your credit report, it should include comments saying that this debt was transferred to another lender. 

This shows everyone that you used to have an account with this company, but they no longer have an account for you.  

This balance owed to the original creditor should show as $0.  Otherwise, if Chase shows a $5,000 balance and Midland also shows that you have a $5,000 balance, this would look like you owe $10,000, which is not true. 

Second, what is the debt buyer doing?

How should the debt buyer be showing up on your credit report?

Compare what they are saying on your credit report to what they are saying in the lawsuit.

Is it the same? Are there discrepancies?

Is the amount they are suing you for the same as what shows on the report?

This amount could be a dollar off, or it could be a thousand dollars off. 

It’s worth taking a look at – you have the right to a completely accurate report

If these numbers do not match up, this can give you an argument in court. 

They have not been accurate in their lawsuit. 

Or they are not credit reporting accurately, which can be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Finally, are they showing your account as disputed?

Once you’ve filed your answer, the next time they update your report the account should show as disputed

If you filed an answer, a response to a lawsuit, you are not saying “I totally admit this, please enter judgment against me for the full amount.”

It’s never a good idea to say that you owe the money to them, because the collector must prove that they own the debt in the first place

I’ve been doing this for many years, and I have not seen the debt collectors actually do this. 

Your credit report should show that this account is disputed. 

It will say something like “consumer disputes this account” or “disputed by consumer” in the comments. 

If they do not mark the account as disputed when they update your report after your answer has been filed, then they are in violation of the FDCPA. 

Specifically, they are violating FDCPA 1692 e(8) which covers deceptive conduct.

FDCPA 1692 e(8) says that they cannot do any false credit reporting, including failing to mark an account as disputed when they know it is disputed. 

If you filed an answer that is a pleading in court, you are saying that you disagree with this. 

This is the ultimate dispute that you can make. 

They have no excuse to not do this. 

The moment you file your answer, you should start pulling those credit reports. 

Currently, you can pull your full credit reports for free every week through April 2021

Look at these reports. Save them to a PDF for your records. 

Did they show your account as disputed after you filed your answer?

Are there inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the report?

Look at what they are saying about you, and take appropriate action if it is wrong.

If you live in Alabama and you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.

We would be glad to help you in any way we can.

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-John Watts

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