When a "reasonable" reinvestigation is unreasonable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
Being the conscientious person you are, you have decided to pull your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com and you noticed that there is a trade line that does not belong to you. So what do you do? You go on line with the credit reporting agency and posit a dispute to that item. Because you are follower of my blog, you know that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, that the credit reporting agency has 30 short days within which to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation into that item. During that 30 day period, if the agency is unable to verify that item, it must remove that item. No problem, right? WRONG! You see, credit reporting agencies verify only 3 bits of information on a consumer credit report:
Your address; and
Your social security number.
If these three items match the data in the lender’s data base, then the credit reporting agency has considered its job done. Don’t believe that this actually happens? Check out this whiny guy’s, blog post. He complains that Experian would not believe him that a judgment against the defendant with the same name as his, was not his judgment. What he does NOT realize is:
a. That judgment sitting on his credit report is sinking his score faster that rock in water;
b. The only way he is going to get that judgment removed from his credit report is with a lawsuit;
c. a lawsuit against the credit reporting agency will cost him nothing to pursue because under the FCRA, the defendant has to pay his attorneys’ fees;
d. He only has two years from the date that he discovered the judgment on his credit report to file that lawsuit.
MORAL OF THE STORY TO CONSUMERS:
a. When you discover something on your credit report that does not belong on it, posit your dispute immediately.
b. If (o.k., when) the credit reporting agency confirms the trade line as belonging on your report, go hire a credit and collection attorney, immediately. You only have two years to file that lawsuit.
c. An experienced credit and collection attorney will charge you nothing to file and pursue that lawsuit for you because under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the defendants have to pay your costs and attorneys’ fees.
Now, you are far smarter and more educated than whiny man. Go forth and protect your credit score.