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HELP! What do I do??? (Newbie in trouble...)


Tigger1313
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Hi everyone!

I've been poking around this board for some time and have gleaned just enough information to make me dangerous - not sure to exactly whom yet, but that will be determined later. Anyway, here's my situations:

I have a paid collection on TU and EX that I am trying to get rid of. Quite honestly, I paid it right when it first went to collections, and it showed up months later. Don't know why it ever hit in the first place. Trying to figure out best approach to get rid of it.

Now, tonight I get an e-mail from Equifax Credit Watch about a collection from AT&T that I paid off TWO YEARS AGO and has been bouncing from CA to CA. Each time it bounced to a new CA, I called them, spoke with someone, faxed them all of my information (including copies of the cancelled check) and they swore it would be taken care of. Now it's on my report as an unpaid collection. Considering that I have already informed this CA that this debt is not due and have sent them proof, is this a violation of the FCRA or FDCPA for knowingly reporting inaccurate information?

Now I'm really pissed and want to straighten this out! If anyone has any advice on what I should do next, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Sorry, I should have been more specific.

Well, apparently I didn't send the check right away, at least if the information on my CR is accurate to some degree. According to my CR, the first collection (the paid one) is from Ameritech and was "opened" on 06 Feb 01. I sent them a check for the full amount on 17 Jul 01. (What did I know? I thought if I paid it everything would magically get better.) I still don't think it was on my CR at the time, and my CR shows a date reported of 09 Sep 03. I've read so much information on the "best way" to get rid of a paid collection, but some places have conflicting information and it's a bit mind boggling. (BTW, I did dispute this one of my EQ report, so now it's just the other two.)

The second one is the one from AT&T. It originally went to a CA named Great Lakes Collection Bureau, who I sent a check to on 19 Jan 02 and cleared 6 days letter. I figured this was the end of it. Then I got a letter from NCO. Called them. Sent them all the info. Thought it was over.

THEN!!!!! I get a letter from RMA about the SAME ACCOUNT! I called them. Sent them the information. Even called them back to make sure they received it.

So imagine my surprise when it shows up today on my CR as an unpaid collection.

Does that help?

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O.k. now we're getting somewhere.

I'll tell you the easiest way to get this resolved. You're going to file a complaint with your state Attorney General against both of them.

First, Ameritech: The account was paid in 2001. They can't report the collection in 2003 because the collection was entered on your credit reports after the fact. The account was paid in full prior to the account going to collections (Sept. 2003). That's your argument.

Second, AT&T: You're going to file a joint complaint - Great Lakes and AT&T together. You have proof the account was paid in full (cancelled check). There's nothing to say Great Lakes pocketed the money. AT&T refuses to contact Great Lakes to verify the account was paid. They're both going to have to answer. Demand deletion of every collection entry with the major credit repositories including any inquiries made to view your credit file. They did not have permissible purpose to view your file. These are bogus collections.

Go online and find the website for your state AG office. There will be contact info for filing a consumer protection complaint. Copy all your supporting documentation and send it off. There is no charge for this.

So as not to make this post any longer, you can check out this link where the AG process is explained:

http://debt-consolidation-credit-repair-service.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=14048

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Thanks for the help! It's greatly appreciated :-)

Quick question: Do I only need to write to the AG in MD (where I live now) or do I also need to write to the AG in MI (where this whole mess started), since that is where both accounts were originally opened and where I suppose the collections process originiated from when I lived in Lansing?

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HMMM....Doc, I have benn sending my complaints to the CA's state AG. I figured they may take it more seriously than if it came from good ol' Mississippi.(I guess some people still think of Miss as hickville. I'm from NC so I do too!) So far I have had good :D results, so maybe to both?

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This is a very common problem with RMA and is another good reason to avoid doing business or even communicating with collection agencies. Send letters with proof of payment to the credit bureaus and request the items be deleted or corrected to paid status. There's really no consumer fraud, only sloppy bookkeeping. The AG in your state will probably not be interested in your complaint unless you assert material damage as a result of the adverse reporting. Cite a reason such as you were denied employment due to adverse credit or you lost a home due to a mortgage denial or something to that effect.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Going back to one of my original questions though: is this a violation of FCRA or FDCPA because they are willfully reporting inaccurate information after having already been advised by me that this matter was settled?

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I believe they are violating both the FDCPA and the FCRA.

FDCPA:

§ 807. False or misleading representations [15 USC 1962e]

A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

(2) The false representation of --

(A) the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or

FCRA:

§ 623. Responsibilities of furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies [15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2]

(a) Duty of furnishers of information to provide accurate information.

(1) Prohibition.

(A) Reporting information with actual knowledge of errors. A person shall not furnish any information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency if the person knows or consciously avoids knowing that the information is inaccurate.

(B) Reporting information after notice and confirmation of errors. A person shall not furnish information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency if

(i) the person has been notified by the consumer, at the address specified by the person for such notices, that specific information is inaccurate; and

(ii) the information is, in fact, inaccurate.

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The AG in your state will probably not be interested in your complaint unless you assert material damage as a result of the adverse reporting.

I respectfully disagree. The AG will be interested in your complaint, especially if the state has its own version of the FDCPA. It is the job of the Consumer Protection Division to enforce those laws and provide protection to the citizens. If they fall short of such direct protection, the amount of complaints received may steer them on a course to enact such protections, as they do keep all complaints on file.

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HMMM....Doc, I have benn sending my complaints to the CA's state AG. I figured they may take it more seriously than if it came from good ol' Mississippi.(I guess some people still think of Miss as hickville. I'm from NC so I do too!) So far I have had good :D results, so maybe to both?

One complaint should be sufficient. What I do is check the AG's website for the state the CA is located in. If it appears they are lax in their consumer protection enforcement, I file with my state. However, there is nothing to say you cannot forward notice of the complaint filed in your state to the state AG where the CA is located and alert them of their (CA's) conduct. They're not aware unless you make them aware of what's going on out there.

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In a perfect world maybe a state's AG would do a better job with consumer protections, however this isn't a perfect world. AG's barely have time and resources to resolve major breaches and criminal matters let alone some poor constituent who ran up his credit cards, is getting chased by bill collectors, then asserts his rights were violated! At least that's how most will see it unless they're receiving multiple complaints. It's always better to approach it like you're injured and no longer have a commode in which to void! Or perhaps, a bill collector threatened bodily injury, cost you your livelihood, etc.

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I've yet to receive a lackluster response from any AG with regard to consumer protection. I'm sure there are some that are not as aggressive as others, but as long as the FDCPA is in effect, CA's are required to follow it regardless of the situation that led to your paths crossing, which behooves their office to intervene.

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