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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38507
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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To socrateaser, only" Hope you're doing fine. I had worked

Customer Question

"ToCustomer only" Hope you're doing fine. I had worked with you a year back on a rental issue . I hope you can access the history of our conversation from this reply instead of me copying the conversation into this window again. Please let me know
if you need the history so that you could advise me. I just pulled my Credit report yesterday to understand that the Collection agency in fact reported the information to the credit agencies and my credit history has been ruined. During my conversation with
the collection agency last year, they confirmed that they will consider this as a disputed transaction and will work with the Rental company to resolve this. I never received any reply from them. I Do I have any other options left other than suing the Rental
Company or the Collections Agency in a small claims court? Whom should I be suing if I decide to do this? What is the normal time that it would take to settle this in a small claims court in Connecticut?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I've refreshed my recollection by reviewing the previous Q&A session.
You can file a dispute with each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs: equifax.com; experian.com; transunion.com). The CRAs are legally obligated under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to attempt to "validate" the alleged negative report. However, in practice, this validation frequently consists of asking the organization that has provided the negative report, as to whether or not the report is correct. If the organization says, "yes," then the CRA simply reports back to you that the debt has been validated, and you'll have to deal with the reporting organizations.
This is not entirely true -- you can sue the original reporters and you can sue the CRAs. Assuming that you were to prevail in small claims court, by default (since it's practically certain that no one will show up to defend), you could use the judgment as proof to the CRAs that the debt is invalid. However, a small claims court judge cannot order a CRA to remove the bogus negative report. You can only get money damages (up to $1,000 from each defendant, but no more than the state maximum award in small claims: $5,000). Consequently, you may end up having to sue the CRA in civil court for a second violation of the FCRA. That would require hiring legal counsel, in my opinion.
But, that's probably how I would try to handle the issue: (1) dispute letter to CRAs; (2)small claims suit; (3) hire lawyer.
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using justanswer.com!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your quick answer.I've already filed a dispute with the CRA(Experian). But according to Experian, this negative report will show on my credit report as a disputed transaction until it is paid and will seriously affect my credit score. Will the judgement from the Small claims court be enough proof for the CRA to remove the negative report? Or suing CRAs for the violation of the FCRA and getting a verdict, the only option left to remove the negative report from the credit reports. And what approx. time frame am I looking at to resolve this issue, if I pursue this in a timely fashion?regards
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
But according to Experian, this negative report will show on my credit report as a disputed transaction until it is paid and will seriously affect my credit score.
A: That's because Experian did exactly what I previously described: asked for validation, received a "yes," and is now telling you the rubbish that it will include a maximum of 100 characters dispute note in your credit report -- but, that the FICO credit scoring system completely ignores such notes -- consequently, your credit score is damaged for seven years from the date that the original debt was incurred.
Similarly, the debt collector's comments about handling the matter as a dispute, is also rubbish. There's no such thing -- and what you were told is merely a means to make you feel good, while the debt collector does precisely nothing other than what it would otherwise do -- which is nothing at all!
This is the sad truth of how the debt collection and reporting industry operates. The law is "fixed" to provide everyone with practically no real obligations to debtors/borrowers.
Will the judgement from the Small claims court be enough proof for the CRA to remove the negative report?
A: The judgment, if it finds an FCRA violation, would be legally sufficient, because that would mean that the account was reported in error. That's what you would have to plead. Then, if none of your adversaries show up, the judgment would provide the requisite proof.
Or suing CRAs for the violation of the FCRA and getting a verdict, the only option left to remove the negative report from the credit reports. And what approx. time frame am I looking at to resolve this issue, if I pursue this in a timely fashion?
A: This question appears to be the same as the previous one. The only real benefit to suing in civil court is that you can receive "punitive" damages for willful noncompliance by the CRAs and other defendants. After conducting some additional research, it appears that the federal courts have not permitted injunctive relief -- so, your only leverage to correct the credit report is the amount of damages awarded. Also, if you win, you would have a great story for the media, and that would likely get your report corrected, faster than any court could accomplish.
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using justanswer.com!