acorn

Unrecognized Accounts AND Zombie - which approach?

Recommended Posts

Between my husband's and my credit reports, there are five accounts, listed by collection agencies, that we do not recognize.  Not only that, but the "last activity" dates for all five are past the statute of limitations for our state (Texas).  I'm preparing to write a letter to each of the credit bureaus for each listed account (not all accounts are on all three bureau reports).  Should I attack based on "not my account", "past the SoL", or both?

Secondly,  I'm preparing to write letters to each collection agency.  In addition to "not my account" and "past the SoL", I found that in four of the five instances, the collection agencies are not legally licensed (no bonding) to collect in my state.  Which approach should I use with them?

There is a sixth account that we recognize and the "last activity" date is within the SoL.  The collection agency is licensed and bonded within the state of Texas.  However, this is an account that we have disputed over and over with the original creditor without success.  We still insist that their billing department is mistaken, and that we do not owe them anything, but they have not accepted our proof.  What's the best approach to use with that account?  Is it possible that the "last activity" date is not the date that determines the start of the SoL?

Thanks for your help!

Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  If a debt is past the SOL (Texas 4 years) They can legally still report until 7.5 years after the default.  So although the debt is time barred, they can still report up to 7.5 years.

I would attack those with not mine.  I would do it in writing, and not online so they have to physically go through the paper work.  If it comes back verified, You can dispute it again in writing, and the person reporting has to conduct an investigation before verifying again.

2.  Reporting to your credit report is not collecting, so even if they are not licenced, it won't matter if all they are doing is reporting.

3. the 6th account shoud read "customer disputes" in the trade line of the report. And it is the last payment, not last activity in most states. Not sure about Texas.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/7/2016 at 4:55 PM, shellieh98 said:

1.  . . .So although the debt is time barred, they can still report up to 7.5 years.

7.5 years?   Where did that come from?  Everything I've ever read says 7 years.

 

On 1/7/2016 at 4:55 PM, shellieh98 said:

2.  Reporting to your credit report is not collecting, so even if they are not licenced, it won't matter if all they are doing is reporting.

According to what I've read here, reporting on a credit report IS a collection activity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

46 minutes ago, acorn said:

7.5 years?   Where did that come from?  Everything I've ever read says 7 years.

 

According to what I've read here, reporting on a credit report IS a collection activity.

@acorn

The FCRA says that a TL can remain on your CR from 7 years after the event that leads to a collection activity OR 7 years from the date of charge off.   Since charge off can occur as late as 6 months after default, that's what @shellieh98 meant by "up to" 7.5 years.

Collection agencies do not have to be licensed to report to the credit reporting agencies.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, acorn said:

According to what I've read here, reporting on a credit report IS a collection activity.

There is quite a bit of information on this site that is wrong.  The courts are deeply divided on whether reporting a trade line IS collection activity.  Even with Texas having some stronger protections for its citizens your chances of getting a court to agree with you that continuing to report is collection activity is not good.  The reason many courts hold that it is NOT collection activity is because it is not communication with the consumer to effect payment.  Consumers argue it IS collection activity because it affects their ability to get credit.  Creditors argue It is their legal right to report the debt.  The FDCPA does NOT require a creditor to delete a trade line that existed already prior to sending a dunning letter to a consumer which the consumer disputed in writing within the 30 day period allowed by the law.  

Until someone challenges this all the way to the Supreme Court AND the court agrees to hear the case and renders an opinion this will be a controversial issue as to whether or not a trade line is collection activity.

Last:  this is not zombie debt.  While it is past the SOL for suing you, it is not past the SOL for reporting.  True zombie debt is that which not only cannot be sued to collect in the courts but also cannot be reported to the credit bureaus.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so how is this for the letter?  Do I need to include my SSN somewhere?

 

To Whom it May Concern,

This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate credit information.  The following information needs to be verified and deleted from my credit report immediately:

CREDITOR AGENCY -  Account #123-34567-ABC

This account does not belong to me.  No doubt this inaccurate information was included on my credit report by mistake, but this mistake has wrongfully damaged my ability to obtain a mortgage for the purchase of a house.

Sincerely,

Me

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

However, this is an account that we have disputed over and over with the original creditor without success.  

First off, if these collectors are listing their accounts and not specifically stating that they are disputed then you can sue them under the FDCPA.  

Secondly, credit reporting is a collection activity if the debt is delinquent.  There is a FTC opinion letter on the issue and a ton of courts have followed the FTC's lead.

Thirdly, your creditors likely sold your delinquent accounts to a debt clearinghouse and JDB's are now listing those accounts as theirs.  If you look at every entry there should be some indication of who they once belonged to.  They want you to know so that you will realized that you do owe the debt.

Personally, I would not bother with disputing the CRAs if you have documentation that you already disputed the accounts because the CRAs will likely just verify the accounts.  I would go straight for their jugler and sue the data furnisher who did not list the account as disputed.

You can contact any NACA or consumer attorney and they will likely take your case if you have the documentation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Downto0 said:

First off, if these collectors are listing their accounts and not specifically stating that they are disputed then you can sue them under the FDCPA.  

You can sue but you would lose.  The courts are DEEPLY divided on whether a trade line is collection activity and until SCOTUS issues a binding opinion on ALL courts it will remain that way.  NO one has pursued a case that far and even if they did there is no guarantee SCOTUS would even hear it since they take less than 3% of the cases presented for review each year.

This falls under the FCRA NOT the FDCPA and all the creditor is required to do is correct the reporting and to collect under the FCRA the OP would have to have provable damages. 

15 hours ago, Downto0 said:

Secondly, credit reporting is a collection activity if the debt is delinquent.  There is a FTC opinion letter on the issue and a ton of courts have followed the FTC's lead.

The FTC opinion letter is just that: OPINION and is NOT binding on the courts.  There are NOT "tons of courts" that have followed this at all.  SOME courts have ruled this way and used the FTC as supporting documentation but over all they are deeply divided and even here in Texas it is hard to get a court to rule it is collection activity since it does not involve the consumer directly with a demand to pay.  Again, until SCOTUS rules one way or another the chances of getting a lawsuit based on a trade line reporting for a debt the consumer legitimately owes is slim at best.  In some Federal circuits:  none.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You must have cited the wrong case because it does not support your position:

Sullivan V Equifax:

Because reporting a debt to a credit
reporting agency can be seen as a communication in connection
with the collection of a debt,
the reporting of such a debt in
violation of the provisions of § 1692e(8) can subject a debt
collector to liability under the FDCPA.


The complaint alleges that InoVision has "continued to
report such inaccurate information to various credit reporting
agencies . . . has failed to mark the debt as disputed and has
continued to attempt to collect monies from the plaintiff

regarding the inaccurate information by the aforementioned
conduct." Complaint, 7 16. These allegations are sufficient, at
this stage of the proceedings, to state a claim under the broad
language of § 1692e of the FDCPA
. See, e.q., Finnesan v. Univ.
of Rochester M e d . Ctr., 21 F. Supp.2d 223, 229 (W.D.N.Y. 1998)
("allegation that defendants . . . caused derogatory information
to be placed [on plaintiff's] credit report states a claim
sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss under 15 U . S . C
.

There are tons more.  

I have consumer attoneys working for me on 4 dispute cases.  We've settled for around $10,000 on other cases and expect to settle for that much more this year.

The op can pm me for more info because I simply do not have time to try to read cited cases which are not to the point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Downto0

Quote

 

Secondly, credit reporting is a collection activity if the debt is delinquent.  There is a FTC opinion letter on the issue and a ton of courts have followed the FTC's lead.

 

It's a collection activity only under certain circumstances under the FDCPA.

Quote

Personally, I would not bother with disputing the CRAs if you have documentation that you already disputed the accounts because the CRAs will likely just verify the accounts.  I would go straight for their jugler and sue the data furnisher who did not list the account as disputed.

That's only if the OP can prove he disputed the accounts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your letter is fine.  You identified the account and the problem.  The CRAs have to contact the data furnisher and the data furnisher has to respond and, I believe, the account (or bad data) will be removed.  Make sure you sent it to all three.  Also, there are typically local CRAs that some creditor draw a cr from.  You might want to seek some of them out as well.

However, I've been that route.  It does not work.  I don't think it will work in your case either because the information you have given us reads as if the OCs sold your delinquent accounts and JDBs have bought them and are now listing them as their own.  Perfectly legal.  

I don't often use that term but in your case the trade lines appear to be legit.  

You should sue if you have the documentation that you disputed.  It's not hard.  Contact a NACA  or consumer attorney and they will likely take your case.  Some will take your case on contingency.  

Otherwise it looks like to me that those delinquent accounts won't drop off your cr until the 7.5 years have passed.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.