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Don't mess with LexisNexis!


bsgeorge
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This is a long one for those of you interested in my dispute process with LexisNexis. This all started with my dispute on a BK in my file, resulting in a few letter exchanges ... here's the latest letter I sent:

August 16, 2004

LexisNexis Public Records Data Service

Richard A. Koehler

100 S 5th St Ste 300

Minneapolis MN 55402-1237

RE: Reinvestigation Request

Dear Mr. Koehler:

I received your letter dated July 21, 2004, concerning the reinvestigation of my dispute by LexisNexis Public Records Data Service (“LNPRDS”) and Hogan Information Services Co. under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

Based on the information outlined in your response, I feel you have not fulfilled your obligation to reasonably investigate my claim under the FCRA, see 15 USCA § 1681s-(B)(1) (West 1998) (amended Dec. 4, 2003). Your violation is consistent with Johnson v. MBNA, whereas the case, brought before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, clarifies the way investigations are made. Before this case, “investigate” could mean a cursory records check. The court’s decision demands more in-depth investigations when consumers ask for them.

My dispute is regarding a bankruptcy attached to my name and social security number appearing in your database. I never filed bankruptcy therefore the information in your database is inaccurate. Furthermore, this information is damaging to my creditworthiness, ability to gain employment and has caused me a great deal of emotional stress.

On June 19, 2004, I wrote to LNPRDS disputing the accuracy of the aforementioned bankruptcy. I received your letter dated June 24, 2004, regarding the results of reinvestigation, which determined your records to be accurate and complete due to information provided by Hogan.

On July 1, 2004, I wrote to Hogan, disputing the accuracy of their findings, requesting procedure of reinvestigation and a copy of all information maintained in association with my name and social security number. I was surprised not to receive a response from Hogan, but from you on behalf of LNPRDS in your letter dated July 21, 2004. Your letter describes the method of reinvestigation from LNPRDS, but fails to explain the methods used by Hogan to determine its findings, which LNPRDS incorporated as reason why the bankruptcy remained in my file. Also, Hogan failed to include a copy of my records and a list of any entity that received this information in the two years prior to my request.

From your response, LNPRDS method of reinvestigation was not verified from actual documents retrieved from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Central District of California, but from PACER, an electronic database. You said PACER provided a match with my social security number and an address of ..... Please remember from my letter dated June 19, 2004, I stated I never lived at this address, which contradicts your statement that I provided no information to support my assertion that I never filed bankruptcy. How is one able to provide information to support a claim to something that never took place? This statement questions LNPRDS willingness to investigate my dispute in the first place.

Your reinvestigation results were also determined by an input of my social security number into a LexisNexis online information database to check for matching addresses. You said the search matched my name and social security number with the address listed on the bankruptcy record, “among others”. My record provided by LNPRDS contains only one address, which I stated wasn’t mine, and it does not list “others”. Since LexisNexis is maintaining a list of addresses tied to my name and social security number, I question why this information is withheld. Additionally, I question how this online information, which is used by LNPRDS to verify its information, is determined for accuracy. Because I have never lived at the address noted in your database, I suspect my information may have been merged with another individual(s) with the same or similar name(s). As this is quite alarming to me, I request you submit to me a list of all addresses you are maintaining associated with my name and social security number. As you know, under the FCRA, I have the right to dispute any inaccurate information, which would include these addresses.

I hope you can understand how frustrating and upsetting this ordeal has been for me. Because my record contains a bankruptcy I never filed at an address I never lived, I believe my identity has been used fraudulently. As a fraud victim, I request a fraud victim statement be added to my record and wish to place a security freeze on my record as allowed by my rights as a California resident.

I am also questioning the thoroughness of your reinvestigation and again, request this inaccurate information be deleted from my file. After you have verified this inaccurate information, please send me a copy of my corrected file (including addresses), along with a list of any entity that has received this information in the past two years.

Sincerely

bsgeorge

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On 8/19/04, I recieved this letter from Hogan:

This is the 2nd attempt to respond to you. The 1st attempt was returned uncliamed. This letter responds to your letter of July 1, 2004 regarding your dispute to LexisNexis Public Records Data Service Inc. (LNPRDS) of the accuracy of the bankruptcy record that Hogan Information Services Co. (Hogan) provided to LNPRDS. Hogan was requested by LNPRDS to verify the accuracy and completeness of the information in the court records obtained from the the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in California. Hogan investgated the dispute and verified that your name and social security number were associated with the record you claim is inaccurate. Hogan report the results of its investigation to LNPRDS.

You are incorrect that Hogan is a consumer reporting agency as the term is defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The mere fact that Hogan collects and distributes public record information does not make it a consumer reporting agency. Since Hogan has just completed its investigation into your dispute to LNPRDS and determined that the information from the Bankruptcy court was accurate and complete, Hogan has no further obligation regarding these records under the FCRA.

With respect to your request to opt out of the sale of information associated with you, the FCRA does not provide an absolute right to opt out of the sale of such information. Instead, 15 U.S.C. § 1681b (e) provides for the more limited right to be excluded from lists relating to making unsolicted offers of credit or insurance. Hogan does not sell any such information, so that provision of the FCRA does not apply here.

Sincerely,

Kim R. Davis

Client & Consumer Relations

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On 8/24/04, I recieved this response from LNPRDS:

Dear bsgeorge:

This letter will address the various issues you raised in your letter dated August 16, 2004. First LexisNexis Public Records Data Services (“LNPRDS”) is confident that the reinvestigation of your dispute was in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). As previously noted to you, PACER is the Bankrupcy Courts’ electronic data repository, and is therefore considered to be a reliable source of information.

Second, the address information was obtained from LexisNexis, which is not a consumer report agency. Accordingly, this information is not controlled by the FCRA. I advised you of the address match in my previous letter only to describe the scope of the investigation conducted on your matter.

Third, you requested that LNPRDS place a ‘security freeze’ on your record pursuant to California law. I have examined the California statute relating to a consumer reporting agency placing a ‘security freeze’ on a person’s credit report. Because there appears to be a material misrepresentation relating to this bankruptcy record, LNPRDS will not place the requested security freeze at this time. LNPRDS does not waive any other rights and/or defenses it may have under California or federal law.

Finally, to the extent you feel your letter of August 16, 2004 is a new request for reinvestigation, LNPRDS takes the position that such a request is frivolous or irrelevant under the FCRA since a reinvestigation of this same dispute was completed just over a month ago.

Sincerely,

Richard A. Koehler

Senior Corporate Counsel

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I am very interested in any of you credit experts' take on this ... How do you interpret, "Because there appears to be a material misrepresentation relating to this bankruptcy record, LNPRDS will not place the requested security freeze at this time"?

Do I have anything here or is LNPRDS playing by the book?

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First thing that jumped out at me is what DocPC caught: they'll use FCRA when and how and if they want.

I'm no atty, but how about supplying them with an affidavit that states you never lived at the addy in question? How about another affidavit that states you never filed BK? Then watch 'em try to squirm out of that one.

In the meantime, start looking for a atty that likes to eat these guys up.

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  • 3 months later...

bsgeorge,

I would make a formal complaint to the FTC so fast on LexisNexis right now it ain't funny. The simple fact that they have flat out lied to you by saying they are not an CRA is total BULL. The same goes for Hogan, I really like the fact that you let them know that if they matched an address to your name in their database and did not disclose that address to you they are in violation. You know that I dealt with these guys a while back and got no where with it so I put it on the back burner for now. I am dealing with my own personal hell with those Aholes from Experian on a PR matter.

Anyway, here are a couple of things that freaking LexisNexis should look at before they say that they are not a CRA.

§ 603. Definitions; rules of construction [15 U.S.C. § 1681a]

(f) The term "consumer reporting agency" means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.

(g) The term "file," when used in connection with information on any consumer, means all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.

And take a look at this one closely, how and the hell can they tell you they are not a CRA, it says they are right here.

(p) Consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis. The term "consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis" means a consumer reporting agency that regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating, and maintaining, for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, each of the following regarding consumers residing nationwide:

(1) Public record information.

(2) Credit account information from persons who furnish that information regularly and in the ordinary course of business.

Did ya see #1 LexisNexis!!! they have got to think that consumers are stupid and don't think that we will reasearch something until we find the correct answer.

I strongly urge you to file a complaint with the FTC and provide them with copies of your documentation.

Good Luck...................................

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How do you do a pacer search. No judgments myself, but DH has some. It's worth looking into. Does this cost money??

Here's something to ponder. Somebody has to furnish information to the CRAs in order for it to be verified. If the end of the line is a computer database, then how can it possibly be verified. If the information isn't being supplied and verified by the original source, then it can't be verified.

Here's another thing to ponder. With FCRA amended you can dispute information directly with the supplier of the information. How can you dispute with Pacer. Isn't that just a database? I bet if we all start sending disputes straight to the courthouses, they'll get sick of it, refuse to verify, and start taking action against the information being put in credit reports.

Just my two cents, but I'd start sending court disputes straight to the courthouses. They are the ones with the original information, and the only ones who can do an "investigation" as required by the FCRA.

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This is clearly wrong. They are a credit reporting agency and they are refusing to play via the law. Whether or not he filed a BK, they are violating his rights per the FCRA.

I don't know what the next step would be, but I think it would take a brave lawyer or consumer to file a case. The FTC should definitely be notified...

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