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Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Separation of powers means what it says.
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My Car dealer told me my credit score was 626 after I just

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My Car dealer told me my credit score was 626 after I just checked it and my scores were 705, 757, 757 I was stuned but he assured me he was in the mortgage business before and little inquiries can make a huge difference. I signed a deal with a huge interest rate because we desperately needed a vehicle ours broke down and we live far from work. Later I found out a close friend had beeen to the same guy and he expereinced the same false credit score issues, we had both checked our scores before and after we were told it was lower than we though. We also had both gone on to re-check our scores and they had never changed they were still exactly the same. Is this worth pursuing?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

What you describe probably falls more into deceptive trade practices than into classic fraud. To tag someone for fraud, the victim must have "reasonably relied" on the lie(s) told--and the reliable third-party reporting of one's own credit score would lead a decent attorney defending the case to ask WHY the victim believed his "honestly mistaken" client over a genuine Experian or Transunion or Equifax (or worse all three) report.

In Montana, the law most likely to fit is the "Montana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act", Montana Code Annotated §§30-14-101 to 224, which you can read here: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/30_14.htm

A common problem in cases like what you describe is measuring damages: what did the lie cost you? To prove that in an interest rate case, the first step is to actually prove how much *better* an interest rate the victim could have obtained--either from the lender, or from an alternate lender...then the perpetrator whines that it's all "speculative" and "that other lender would have never loaned to you". Then the jury gets to decide whom to believe. That's why the law lets a citizen harmed recover a minimum of $500 (It think it needs to be updated to at least $1,000) of what we call "statutory damages", OR their actual damages if proven to be greater than $500.

See http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/30/14/30-14-133.htm

The Montana law lets private citizen bring suit and recover their attorney's fees as well. That's in the same sub-section listed above.

Thank you.

BAB.
Brent Blanchard, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1915
Experience: Separation of powers means what it says.
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Separation of powers means what it says.