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Question
Hi Mr. Shear:

I hope you can help. I am dealing with a debt collection company called RJM Acquisitions, LLC out of Syosset, NY. They are contacting me about an old credit card account that is at least 6 or 7 years old.

I read that if the account is over 7 years old it should not be on my credit report. But RJM is reporting to the credit reporting companies that the account is only 3 years old. Also RJM Acquisitions threatened to sue me.

If I am sued by RJM Acquisitions can you help me defend the case? Thank you for your help. I live in New York State.

Answer
Dear Tim:

It sounds like you are the victim of the infliction of credit reporting errors due to incorrect dates of delinquency by RJM Acquisitions.

To further explain, many debt buyers, 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 debt buyers such as RJM 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 collectors 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 buyer 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 collector 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 me directly.

Jason A. Shear, Esq.
Admitted in NY & NJ
Law Offices of Jason A. Shear
www.jasonshearlaw.com
New York Consumer Rights Attorney
Phone: (716) 566-8988  

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Jason Shear, Esq.

Expertise

I can answer questions for residents of New York and New Jersey regarding creditor harassment claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); credit reporting errors under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); debt collection defense/credit card defense; student loan law; and consumer class actions. I can also answer questions relating to consumer debt defense/collection agency defense, specifically pertaining to consumers being sued or harassed by collection agencies or NY collection attorneys. If you live in New York and have been contacted or sued by firms such as: Mel Harris & Associates, Forster & Garbus, Rubin & Rothman, Choi Law Office, Lacy Katzen, Malen & Associates, Solomon & Solomon, Daniels & Norelli, Cohen & Slamowitz, Pressler & Pressler or others; give us a call at (716) 566-8988.

Experience

I have obtained settlements for consumers in NY and NJ under the FDCPA and FCRA. I have successfully defended consumers who were sued by collection agencies/debt purchasers in the New York State courts.

Organizations
National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) Law Offices of Jason Shear Consumer Attorneys 3957 Main Street, Second Floor Buffalo, New York 14226 (716) 566-8988

Education/Credentials
BA/BS, Accounting & Political Science, Hunter College. Juris Doctor, Univ. at Buffalo Law School. LLM (Criminal Law), University at Buffalo.

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