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Removing an erroneous debt from a Credit Report


graym
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So about 4 months ago we tried cleaning up my girlfriends credit.  There was a hospital debt on there that she didn't recognize so we did an online dispute with 1 CRA only stating we did not recognize this debt.  It came back as verified, so we contacted the debt collector.  They sent us an online printout with 4 lines simply stating her name, date of services, original creditor, amount due, the same information we had already disputed from her Credit Report.   We sent in a 2nd letter stating we believe this is a case of mistaken identity and/or an accounting mistake and she did not receive any services on the date in question or even around that time.

 

They sent back a 2nd verification of the debt which is yet another computer printout this time listing the work done and the doctor's name.   She has never had a doctor by this name, and never had the procedure the printout says was performed.  The only thing tying her to this at all is simply her name.  They can not produce any written paperwork of any kind and they've told us they do not have anything except the computer printout's they have already sent us.  They agree it would appear they can't verify this debt at all however they refuse to remove it from her Credit Report unless she files a police report and fills out one of their fraud packages. 

 

That seems ridiculous that we would have to go through that to remove something from her credit report that is clearly erroneous.  How should we handle this?

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Threaten to sue for FCRA violation and/or report this to the CFPB. 

 

The issue is that the CRAs only need 2 matching data points to put something on a person's CR.  (That's how there is cross contamination between Sr's and Jr's.).  I actually had a CO on my CR 30 yrs ago for a person with my first name (different spelling) and same last name.  Nothing else matched....except *I* did have an acct with the same creditor. (Household Bank).  When they skip traced the first, they found me, changed HER address to mine and sent me the collection.  She was 30 yrs older than I was.  Our SSNs obviously didn't match and that didn't matter.  There is was on my CR.

 

It took 6 months to correct (I knew nothing about repair back then).  I called the CA....That is when I was able to find out that she was older, SSN didn't match, etc. 

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We called the collector and asked for the Creditor's contact information as the information provided on the paperwork is not correct (incorrect address and phone number).  They stated they do not have the contact information for the Creditor.  The heck?  So, we did a google search and after 2 initial wrong numbers, finally got a hold of the original Creditor on the third number we found online.  After speaking with them about the bill, the lady on the phone told us that the office where this work was performed had closed, and they didn't have the paperwork.  She actually put us on hold at this point to double-check when the office closed down to see if it had closed prior to the date billed as an easy way to see if it was an accounting error.  After being on hold, she reiterated that the only thing she had is what we already received, the computer printout.  So we then asked her, how is it that you are verifying this debt to the Credit Reporting Agencies without the paperwork?

 

In the end, she asked for another couple of days to investigate this further.  Apparently she will need a few days to go to their records archive to see if she can find it.  If they can't find the paperwork I'd assume they would stop reporting and we wouldn't need to deal with the Collector anymore.  It's still crazy to me that they verified this debt to the CRA over a dispute without any paperwork whatsoever.  

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The OC didn't verify it, the CA did.

 

I would send a letter to the CA outlining your conversation that he could not provide a valid contact for the OC and as such, cannot verify the debt, therefore, you are demanding immediate removal from all CRAs or you will consider a suit for FDCPA/FCRA violations - the very fact that they "validated" data that they cannot validate is proof.  :p

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