Collections Law/Credit Reporting Error Attorney
Hi Mr. Shear:
I hope you can help me. I am being pursued by a debt buyer over an old consumer debt. I am not sure if they are going to sue me. But what is bothering me is that the debt buyer is reporting the account as later than the actual charge off date. By reporting the account has more recent, they are hurting my credit score. When I checked my credit reports, the debt is listed as opened about the same date as the charge off date.
Is this legal? Is there something I can do about this? Please shed some light on my situation. Thank you for your insight and help!
Good question. It sounds like you are the victim of the infliction of credit reporting errors due to incorrect dates of delinquency.
To further explain, many debt collectors, who are purchasers of delinquent credit card debt, report the date of the consumers’ alleged account delinquency not as the charge off date -- as federal law mandates -- but the date the debt buyer purportedly purchased the delinquent accounts, which is frequently years later (known as debt re-aging). False credit reporting is a powerful tool used at the fingertips of the debt buyer when attempting to collect debts. In effect, the consumers’ credit report is harmed by such abusive reporting, because the more recent the account delinquency, the more harmful such reporting is to the individual’s overall credit score.
Debt buyers use this false credit reporting as leverage to collect on these alleged accounts. They are fully aware of the fact that consumers need a good credit score to obtain a mortgage, loan(s), better rates on insurance, employment, etc., and these debt buyers abuse this need via their false reporting practices. In other words, by making the date of last activity look more recent, the debt collector is illegally using a powerful tool to coerce payment from consumers’ old debts, some of which are often beyond the statute of limitations. Often, this false reporting involves consumers who were simply an authorized user on the account or they never had the account at all. Still, many consumers will pay on a debt they do not owe simply because they desperately need to have the account listed as paid on their credit reports. In the past, many of these consumers have attempted to obtain a mortgage, loan, etc. and have been denied due this false reporting, so they simply pay on the account even if they do not owe it because trying to dispute the false information on their credit reports with the bureaus – namely the big three: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax -- and the furnisher often proves to be futile.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates primarily consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and consumer reports and therefore provides consumers with a legal framework with which to dispute inaccurate information so that they may ensure their credit reports are reflective of accurate information. However, prior to 1996, furnishers of information to the consumer reporting agencies were not covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As a result, these furnishers were not mandated by federal law to provide the CRAs with correct information and to respond and investigate a consumer’s dispute should the consumer feel the associated information was incorrect. Moreover, the furnishers were not mandated to cooperate with a CRA’s reinvestigation of the completeness or accuracy of the information any such furnisher provided.
In our firm’s practice, a debt buyer that reports such erroneous information can be subject to both the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the FCRA. The FDCPA provides a remedy for this misconduct under 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(8) if the underlying debt is a consumer debt. Under the FCRA, if the consumer disputes the incorrect information and asks that it be corrected, but after reinvestigation, the debt buyer again reports the date it purchased the account as being the date of delinquency, the debt buyer can also be liable under the FCRA.
Due to the inordinate amount of delinquent consumer debt; the expansion of the debt buying industry, as a whole, in the last several years; together with the major CRAs not having a motive to ensure that consumer reports are correct, these types of problems for consumers are likely to persist.
Hope this answers your question. If you need help with your case, please contact us directly.
Jason A. Shear, Esq.
Law Offices of Jason A. Shear
Credit Reporting Error Attorneys
Buffalo, New York
Phone: (716) 566-8988