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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116140
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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I have disputed trade-lines (TL) on my Credit Reports with

Customer Question

I have disputed trade-lines (TL) on my Credit Reports with the three major CRA (Equifax, Trans Union & Experian) via certified mail return receipt requested (CMRRR). When the credit bureau responds, I then request the Method of Verivication (MOV) via CMRRR. The never give this to me, taking my follow up letters as further disputes. They have removed and replaced certain TL's without certifying them. The show TL as being disputed when I have never disputed them. Many violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). How do I get them to remove this inaccurate, incomplete and unverifiable negative information from my Credit Reports ?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick.

Note: (1) If you want legal advice, consult with a local attorney before acting or deciding not to act; information given here is for educational purposes only; (2) Most questions are answered within the hour; however, if I am not signed on, please allow up to 24 hours; and (3) Please assign a feedback rating so JA will compensate me. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms and to JA’s other site disclaimers.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I understand you are not giving legal advice, just talking in generalities
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

The most effective way to get this cleared up if your own attempts are not working is to hire a FCRA attorney. This is because you are also entitled to damages if you can show that the CRA negligently failed to comply with its obligations under the FCRA. You would then be entitled to recover your actual damages and attorney's fees and costs. Since these fees can be shifted, the lawyer can use that law as leverage to get a quick resolution for you. Try this link to locate a FCRA attorney near you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yeah Duh. I know that. I have talked with a local attorney. He doesn't want to take the case because the statutory damages are only $1,000 per instance and it's not a big enough Ambulance to chase. Can you give me any specific insight on getting a local attorney, because giving me a link to the Bar isn't much help?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
what do you mean by "these fees can be shifted"?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have read on debtorsboard.com you can search to see what attorneys have sued experian/transunion/equifax. Do you have any insight on that?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I live in Idaho. Since this is federal, Can I use an out of state attorney? or do I have to use member of Idaho bar? Would suing in small claims court do me any good? or Is it a waste of time/energy? What about arbitration?
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

1. The attorney that you spoke with must not specialize in FCRA cases. He only told you about the basic statutory damages which are between $100 and $1,000. To get these you don't have to prove that the violation harmed you. There is an alternative remedy if you can prove negligent or intentional conduct for which there is no set damage limit. You can ask for your actual damages and punitive damages if intentional conduct can be shown. In your case, you could keep sending letters and if they keep ignoring them and you keep copies of your letter and document your repeated efforts, then you may be able to show intentional conduct.

more to come...

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
On a personal note I have used JustAnswer.com previously. I found it took a little correspondence back and forth but it was worthwhile to both myself and my expert. I look forward to giving a great rating, I just need to get this done. I am less concerned with punitive damages and more concerned with getting the neg info of my reports.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

2. We are not permitted to refer any particular attorney to JA customers this is why I gave you a link to the State Bar. These types of lawyers advertise themselves as consumer law attorneys or financial services lawyers as well as FCRA and FDCPA lawyers. You may want to try these links: http://www.lexmundi.com or http://www.hg.org.

more to come...

Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

3. The FCRA allows your lawyer to collect his fees from the CRA's if he wins the case. So the CRAs are much more likely to get these issues resolved efficiently since they could get pinned with the legal fees that you initially incur.

4. I do not know anything about debtorsboard.com

5. You can use an out of state lawyer if he is also licensed in Idaho.

6. Whether you may sue for this in small claims court is an involved issue and will require some research on my part. You may want to submit this as a new question. That said, the claim does not have to be filed in federal court; it can be made in State court.

7. Arbitration is a possibility if you can get the CRAs to agree to it.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
your response #3 - "more likely to get these issues resolved efficiently"can you expand on that concept?
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Sure. Once the CRAs receive a letter from an FCRA attorney, they know that there is now a risk that all of the time that the lawyer spends on your case may get shifted to them for payment by court order. Now not only do they have to worry about fixing your report, but they also have to worry about footing your legal bill. Naturally, they will give your case more attention and priority in order to avoid having to payout this extra money.

For example, there was a FCRA case filed against Home Depot for damage to a customer's credit reputation and the jury awarded about 1 million in damages against Home Depot for not contacting the CRAs and removing the negative information that this customer asked Home Depot to do over and over.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I wrote my first letter to the CRA over 4 months ago. I have sent numerous follow up letters, including Intent to Sue (ITS) letters mailed to their legal depts. My first letter was a dispute (they have 30 days to answer) all subsequent have been asking for Method of Verification (they have 15 days to answer) but they look at the MOV requests as a re-dispute and take 30 days to respond with a re-validation. Have had things removed from report only to be reinserted without "certification".
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
As I see it all violations of FCRA. But I am not a lawyer. My local expert is after a big fish. He wants a case worth his time as he stated quite clearly he is looking for punitive damages. How good is my case?
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry, I am not in a position to evaluate your case. This is something that needs to be done in person by a local attorney who has all the facts and evidence at his disposal. Even a minor detail overlooked can make the difference between a winning and losing case. This is why people hire lawyers because they are trained in looking at these details and bringing them to life. If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you can file your own case in a State court that is at a higher level than small claims court. Small claims courts are funny in that they handle certain cases and not others.

One simple thing you can try is to file what is called a declaratory judgment action and ask the court to issue an order that based on all the evidence that you have presented, XYZ negative items should not be on your reports and the CRAs would be ordered to remove them. Here is the law.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR, please understand we cannot represent anyone from this site by state law, but if you had some additional questions, we are happy to provide you that information.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I believe text works better for me than phone calls
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply. I am sorry you received a phone call offer, that is auto generated by the site and not the experts who are not site employees.
If you have further questions beyond what the previous expert answered already, please ask them using reply and we can continue here.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Basically I am trying to clean up my credit. I have read 6 books on the subject cover to cover. Glanced through a dozen or more. Came to the conclusion best method would be to dispute via certified mail return receipt requested (CMRRR) the accuracy, completeness and their ability to verify the trade lines. As example I had two negatives from AT&T which appeared on each credit report. One CRA deleted both, one deleted one and "verified" the other the third bureau "verified" both. More
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I then wrote back CMRRR asking for "method of verification" (which according to my understanding they have only 15 days to answer). A month later they responded like I re-disputed again. I continually write MOV requests only to be treated as disputes. I have even written the legal departments. Am I missing something?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
As the previous expert stated, if the credit bureaus have not removed the negative reports despite your requests, your next step would be to file suit against the creditors for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act for making false reports to credit bureaus. You are not missing anything, you wrote them pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and if they are not complying, your next step is civil suit. So, if you have reports that the credit bureaus will not remove pursuant to your request and proof that the reports are not valid, your next step is you have to file suit against the creditor making the report to seek removal.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
it's my understanding I do not have to prove they are not valid. I just have to prove they are not following the law by their method of investigation.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is a burden shifting issue. They have to show they have valid grounds for filing the report and if they come up with some alleged proof, then the burden shifts to you to prove their alleged proof is not valid. In a suit against the CRA if you show they did not follow proper procedure in validating the debt, that would be all you need to show.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I would like to think that if I sue (since an Intent to Sue letter did nothing) that they would want to quickly settle vs the costly battle that they could lose. Opinion?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, if you have the proof you say you have, then they generally will want to settle quickly because they would be liable for your attorney's fees and costs in addition to your damages if you win your case in court.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
since this a federal case, do i have to sue in my own state? or can i sue in a different venue?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your reply

There is concurrent jurisdiction on FCRA claims, so they can be heard in state court or federal court. If you sue in federal court, you have to sue in a jurisdiction where the defendant is located and if they have an agent for service in your state, you would have to sue in your state. You cannot just go shop courts in other jurisdiction, the proper venue is state or federal court where you are located.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
That confirms my understanding. I am having a hard time finding an attorney in Idaho who does this type of case. any insight on how to present? any insight on how to look? discuss?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
You need to seek a local consumer protection law attorney, which you can do at the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.hg.org or http://www.lexmundi.com
You will need to give them the evidence that these negative reports are invalid, which ultimately would make them improper and violations of the FCRA. So when presenting it to the attorney, you need to be able to show them the reports themselves are not accurate.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page , as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page , as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Failure to do so may prevent you from receiving any answers from other experts in the future. Thank you.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I disagree that I need to show the reports are inaccurate. the law states the CRA have to perform the re investigation under a certain procedure which they are not
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If they claim the reports are accurate, you then indeed do have to prove they are not. If that were not the case, people would flood them with reports on accurate reports. AND I said the CREDITOR, NOT THE CRA, has to prove the reports are valid and if they show the reports are valid, you have to show they are not.
As far as your issue with just the CRA, yes, you only have to show they did not follow their investigation procedures. That is different than your claim against the creditor for filing a false report.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I am not sure I have an issue with any creditors. Ironically one of my negative items is reported differently on each of the three CRA's.I am simply hoping to get the CRA's to remove the negative information. I was hoping to force them to do so because of what I perceived to be a violation of the FCRA (specifically they're not given me a method of verification in a timely manner. Cannot that be simply shown by the fact that the certified return receipt has a date more than 30 days prior to their response?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply, as your question has timed out and it appears you have obtained a refund, we cannot continue. I apologize for any inconvenience, but the experts are not employed by the site and as I said failure to ever leave positive feedback is something that hurts the expert not the site and can result in customers not receiving any further answers.
You have an issue with any creditor who filed a false or inaccurate report, credit bureaus do not make them up on their own, they get information from the creditors. If there is an inaccurate report, the issue is with the creditor as well as the CRA for not removing it.
The FCRA still requires you proving the reports are not accurate and that the CRA did not properly address your complaint and remove the inaccurate reports. If the CRA proves the report was accurate you lose your case.
Thank you very much and best wishes.

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