wtpmarsh

"Soft" Inquiry Permissible Purpose?

9 posts in this topic

Is this even a "permissible purpose" as defined by section 605 of FCRA?  

Today I did a periodic check of my credit reports (TR, EQ, EX) which I try to do every 90 days or so.   Clean reports, no negatives, no obvious errors . . . until I got down to the Inquiries section on Experian.  A "soft" inquiry was made by Asset Recovery Associates on 12/19/2018.  This is a name with which I'm unfamiliar and so I hit up Google for some information.  Upon learning they're a Junk Debt Buyer, I returned to my credit report and poured over it looking for any sign of a collection account.  None.  There shouldn't be as I have nothing outstanding or unresolved and my score is consistently 780 and above.  

I went and dug up my old credit records and made a tenuous connection.  On 03/07/2018 I received an odd voicemail message which stated "...my name is Sandra Washington.  I'm with the processing division with ARA and I do need to speak with you in reference to a claim that has been placed with  my office.  We have made several attempts with trying to contact you and you have failed to return any of our calls.  A final decision has been scheduled to be rendered on your behalf by the end of the business day as of today if there is no response received.  I can be reached at 888.686.9475.  My direct extension is 3065.  When returning the call, reference your case number.  That number is XXXXXXX."  I documented and preserved the message but did not return the call.  Instead, I sent Ms. Washington a CMRR letter that same day stating that I had no information concerning the purpose of the call and that was the first I've ever been contacted by ARA, so I've never ignored any call.  I asked for supplemental information which would permit me to respond in a more educated fashion.

A week later, I received two nearly identical letters, both dated 03/12/2018.  They both referenced a creditor "US Bank" and both referenced the same US Bank account number sixteen digits long which I presume is/was tied to a credit card.  They both referenced the same ARA file number.  They both were signed by the same individual, Mark Farmer.  They both asked for immediate payment of the full outstanding debt, but one indicated the debt as $38,258.11 and the other $70,181.18.  I don't have and never have had an account with US Bank.  I also don't have and never have had an account number even similar to the sixteen digit account number listed.  BUT searching my computer for that sixteen digit number produced a "hit" on a saved document from 12/04/2008 (nearly a decade prior!) where I had responded to "HS Financial Group, LLC" concerning a letter they'd sent concerning a US Bank debt of $26,097.91.  The letter they'd sent to me had been addressed to my previous employer but sent to my mailing address.  In my response I told HS Financial that this was, most assuredly, not my debt and stated that I hadn't been associated with that employer in a number of years.  I never heard from HS Financial again.

On 03/15/2018, I sent Mr. Farmer a CMRR letter acknowledging receipt of both his letters dated 03/12/2018 and shared with him my observation that this must be somehow related to HS Financial's collection attempt from a decade ago.  I reiterated that this is not my debt.  I stated that I will not be paying any alleged debt and asked they not contact me about this again.  Never heard another word.

I am guessing that ARA and Asset Recovery Associates are one and the same, though the letters I sent last year were to a P O Box address in Villa Park IL and the address that is showing on my credit report is in Lombard, IL.  I realize that a "soft" inquiry doesn't affect my credit score, but the fact that any type of collections facility is sniffing around has me slightly annoyed.  Is this even a "permissible purpose" as defined by section 605 of FCRA?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I were you, I would go back and check your past credit reports. Starting from the time you notified then that this is not your account, how many times does HS or Asset appear in the soft inquiries?

It is likely a violation, but I am not sure how viable a defense of ID Theft would be if they try to claim that.  Also, I would want to use more than just one soft pull.  If I can show a pull every 2-3 months (as is usually the case with their automated systems), and that it continued after being noticed that this was not your account, I think it would be a much stronger (and worth enough money to spend the time on) case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Subsequent to 2008, there was never another contact by HS, including no "soft" inquiries to my credit report.    "ARA" appears as a soft hit in February 2018, which is one month prior to them initiating contact by mail.  My Cease & Desist to ARA is dated 03/15/2018.  No word and no CR inquiries by "ARA" since, until this soft inquiry by Asset Recovery Associates on 12/19/2018.  If ARA and Asset Recovery Associates are one and the same, this is a potential violation, correct?   For now, shall I take the passive approach and see what pops up on the next credit report, or should I be proactive and send another C&D?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wtpmarsh said:

Subsequent to 2008, there was never another contact by HS, including no "soft" inquiries to my credit report.    "ARA" appears as a soft hit in February 2018, which is one month prior to them initiating contact by mail.  My Cease & Desist to ARA is dated 03/15/2018.  No word and no CR inquiries by "ARA" since, until this soft inquiry by Asset Recovery Associates on 12/19/2018.  If ARA and Asset Recovery Associates are one and the same, this is a potential violation, correct?   For now, shall I take the passive approach and see what pops up on the next credit report, or should I be proactive and send another C&D?

What is the address you sent the C&D to for "ARA"?  I would believe they are one in the same as Asset Recovery, but it is good to see if a google search can turn up proof.

I would not send another C&D.  Did your C&D clearly state that this is not your account?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, my 03/15/2018 C&D to ARA, Inc. stated "This alleged debt is not and never has been mine."   That was mailed CMRR to ARA, Inc., P O Box 5002, Villa Park IL 60181.  Asset Recovery Associates is showing as a "soft" inquiry on 12/19/2018 with an address of 1919 S. Highland Ave., Suite 225A, Lombard IL 60148.  I'm looking for something which shows they're the same company as their close proximity to one another would strongly suggest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/6/2019 at 6:33 PM, wtpmarsh said:

BBB shows the same company with both addresses and a few more as well.

Good proof.  In this case, I would suggest a call to some consumer attorneys in your county who do FCRA and FDCPA work.  Since you kept good records of everything you sent and recieved between these two entities, you may have a good 2 counts of FCRA violations and MAYBE 1 FDCPA violation.  Let the attorney you talk to know that you have all of the letters and credit reports saved for proof.  If you don't find one who wants to take this case for you, let us know and we can give you the options from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will do.  Thanks for the advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now