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Is Reporting on Your Credit Communication With the Consumer?


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I was responding to another thread about a CA communicating with a debtor after a refusal to pay and got to wondering.

The courts have ruled that credit reporting is collection activity. In fact, you get a violation if you request DV and they don't respond but keep reporting.

So if credit reporting is collection activity, would it not be communicating with the consumer. How could you have a ruling that says credit reporting is collecting but not be with the consumer. The consumer would be the only one that the collector would have standing to collect from. How can you attempt to collect if you are not communicating that attempt to the consumer, therefore, communicating with the consumer.

Here is what the FDCPA says.

CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt.

Of course not for original creditors but let's say you had Midland on your report. You send a letter to Midland, even if you have never been contacted by Midland. You just say I refuse to pay this alleged debt and leave it at that.

At the very best they might mark the account in dispute, but I doubt that, it's not even a dispute, it's a refusal to pay.

Of course they will continue to report. Could one not then sue them for violating the FDCPA by further communicating with the consumer with respect to such debt.

They are communicating about the debt to the consumer via the consumers credit report. That is basically the whole reason for credit reporting, to get you to pay by saying, hey look here what's on your report (communicating with you), if you want to get this off or mitigate the damage this has to your report you better pay us.

They are basically communicating with the consumer each month by continuing collection activity, and the courts have already ruled reporting as collection activity. The only argument would be if they are communicating with the consumer when they report and continue collection activity.

:hmm: I'm thinking possibly test case? Thoughts?

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I do believe that in quite a few of the cases, for continued reporting to be considered continued collection they needed to do some overt act involving said reporting (i.e. verify a CRA dispute or update)

There are also some cases that say reporting is not communication with the consumer because it is to the CRA and not directly to the consumer. We had a discussion like this a few years ago.

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Reporting on a consumer's credit report is not initial communication, nor any other type of communication with that consumer. In Robinson v TYSY, the court ruled:

“when Defendant communicated the debt to Plaintiff’s credit report”—cannot support a claim under the FDCPA because it is not a communication with a consumer. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a) (identifying “initial communication” as “with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt”) (emphasis added).

On the other hand, it is continued collection activites after a consumer request dv and the collector has not returned dv. In Edeh v Midland the court said:

the Court finds that Midland was engaged in “collection of the debt” in violation of § 1692g(B) when it reported Edeh’s disputed debt to the CRAs before sending verification of that debt to Edeh.

You will note that in this same case the court said that answering a dispute was not continued collection activites as the CRA was not attempting to collect the debt, just responding as they were required to respond after a dispute from the consumer. So much for the one-two punch in the 8th district.

If you can't find the cases I can send them over to you.

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If I was the CA, I would argue the definition of "communication" with the consumer as a direct contact with them by mail, telephone, or electronic means, designed to effect collection of a debt. Reporting truthful information to CRAs would be allowed legally and could be argued as not being a communication with the consumer, but about the consumer. Might be an interesting thing to pursue, but it strikes me as a bit of a stretch.

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I do believe that in quite a few of the cases, for continued reporting to be considered continued collection they needed to do some overt act involving said reporting (i.e. verify a CRA dispute or update)

There are also some cases that say reporting is not communication with the consumer because it is to the CRA and not directly to the consumer. We had a discussion like this a few years ago.

This is the exact problem, if there was going to be any problem, I was anticipating with my argument. Thanks.

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If I was the CA, I would argue the definition of "communication" with the consumer as a direct contact with them by mail, telephone, or electronic means, designed to effect collection of a debt. Reporting truthful information to CRAs would be allowed legally and could be argued as not being a communication with the consumer, but about the consumer. Might be an interesting thing to pursue, but it strikes me as a bit of a stretch.

Exactly.

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