Anthony, please read

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by cole, May 24, 2001.

  1. cole

    cole Active Member

    A friend of mine is also trying to clear his credit, and he reads the posts here and has bought a couple of books on the subject. In December, 2000, he sent a letter disputing 3 items to an Equifax affiliate which serves a specific region of Texas, using a letter he got off the Internet. There was no response. In March, 2001 he sent another letter reminding them that they had a reasonable time to investigate but did not do so, and he requested a deletion of all the items in dispute. Still no response.

    In May, 2001 he sent a letter to the local BBB office complaining about the violation of the FCRA. Shortly thereafter the BBB sent him the CRAâ??s response. Their response was to make a lot of noise about a possible credit repair company being involved and about how the repair clinic must be bonded, etc. Almost in passing, they mentioned that they had â??advised himâ? in April. He never received any such advisement.

    Here is where it gets good. They also sent the BBB a copy of the verification form they had sent the Texas Attorney General about child support!!! (By the way, the form had 2 check boxes on it, one said â??Verified as reportedâ? and the other one said â??Make changes as shown.â? The second box was checked!)

    The CRA clearly had no permissible purpose in releasing my friendâ??s credit information to a third party. The FCRA provides for a fine and imprisonment for up to 2 years for what they did. I think they hung themselves.

    How would you use that mistake to your best advantage? Since imprisonment is involved is it still a civil case or is it now criminal? Do you think an attorney would take the case on contingency? Have other laws (privacy, civil rights, etc.) been broken? Is Equifax at all responsible for the actions of their affiliates? The same complaint was also sent to the Texas Attorney General, The Atlanta BBB (where Equifax is located), the Georgia Attorney General, and the Georgia Consumer Affairs office. Do you think the Texas Attorney General would do anything about this? The AG does not know about anything but the original complaint at this time.

    It just seems there are so many options and he wants to make the right choice. Thank you for your thoughts on this.

    (Bill Bauer, thank you for the idea of using the BBB as a stick. The results for this particular individual are almost scary. Do you think your friend the investigative reporter would be interested in this? It may go to court, but if it doesnâ??t at least an expose would be in order.)
  2. tom65432

    tom65432 Well-Known Member

    Prosecutors have too much work to do. They have to pick only the most serious cases to prosecute. I cannot imagine a prosecutor getting involved in this case. Only if the violations were repeated many times. And, against many people.

    Can anyone actually cite an example of a prosecutor taking a case like this?

    Years ago, when I investigated bank and securities fraud, we sometimes took our cases to the federal prosecutors. We were told they would not touch them unless the losses were over one million dollars. Eventually, they started turning down cases less than five million.

    I am usually against civil cases also. The court system in this country is broken beyond repair. I am currently involved in litigation involving an auto accident. Three years later and almost no action.

    I know many people on this board say to sue the SOB's. But, can anyone give me examples where someone has actually won one of these suits and collected damages? Is there anyone out there willing to admit that they tried a lawsuit and failed to win?

    I am just saying the deck is stacked against us in court and it is not a reasonable alternative.
  3. Crdt Dfnse

    Crdt Dfnse Well-Known Member

    Well, Tom has the right spirit but is off a bit; not completely accurate IMHOâ?¦ While state AGâ??s are pretty busy folk, in most states they have an obligation under Government Code to take some kind of action (if warranted). Clearly, filing a complaint with the AG is one avenue but not the only one to consider.

    If the circumstances are such as youâ??ve stated, and I have no reason to believe they arenâ??t. Iâ??d strongly suggest attorney consultation for possible representation, even if only to threaten litigation for nuisance value. Depending on the dollar amount in controversy, having a lawyer get involved in issues like this can often be well worth the expense. Yet frankly an attorney may take on such a case via contingency, depending on supporting evidence available.

    Other than this there isnâ??t too much more I could recommend, because the issues are clearly too complex for board discussions. Apparently someone is telling tales in the situation, so donâ??t be surprised that if counsel gets involvedâ?¦ The real facts come out and in a hurry!

    As far as jail-time for the alleged offenders? Thatâ??s a heady call and one not very likely to produce any satisfaction, in that the probability of a CRA Officer going to jail is pretty slim.
  4. tom65432

    tom65432 Well-Known Member

    The question still remains. Can anyone actually cite a case where a lawsuit or criminal prosecution actually worked? That is, did someone go to jail (in a criminal case) or did someone collect in a civil suit?
  5. cole

    cole Active Member

    Just to clarify, and this is only for my own education, does a penalty of imprisonment necessarily make it a criminal matter, or can it still be a civil issue?

    I appreciate your response and I assure the facts are exactly as I described. I would not waste your time on a "what if" case. Thanks again.
  6. tom65432

    tom65432 Well-Known Member

    If a penalty of prison applies, then it is criminal and would be handled by the prosecutors. You would not hire an attorney to do it for you. You can file a complaint with the criminal authorities, but they can decline to prosecute if they want. And, as I've said before, they probaly will not prosecute. Just too many other things to do. Of note, most prosecutors will not let you file a complaint directly with them. You have to go first to the investigating authority (police, attorney general, etc.)

    Having said that, it is also true that when there is a criminal law, there is usually a similar law that can be enforced in civil court. Here, there will be civil penalties - a fine, injunction, etc., but no jail time involved. A court can usually order the wrongdoer to do something - for example, delete an erroneous credit report , for example.

    Sometimes, the same law provides both criminal and civil penalties. Again, criminal to be handled by prosecutors, civil to be handled in civil courts by attorneys or by you acting on your own behalf.
  7. cole

    cole Active Member

    Thanks, I was just curious. The matter was turned over to an attorney today.
  8. Squawk1200

    Squawk1200 Well-Known Member

    In 1999, I sued Viking Collection Service out of Eden Prairie, MN, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for violations of the FDCPA and NY State law. We settled for $1750.

    Keep in mind that I'm a lawyer, so it was easy and virtually cost-free (I had to pay a $150 filing fee) for me. Plus, I absolutely had them dead to rights -- they had asked for (and I had given them) postdated checks. They cashed them on the appropriate dates, but without giving me the notice that the FDCPA requires. Now, I could have cared less about the notice, but it was a handy club when they pissed me off later.
  9. tom65432

    tom65432 Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the reply. But, you are a lawyer. my point is that it is too expensive and time consuming for most people to litigate. I am interested in seeing if someone (other than a lawyer) actually sued and won a judgement that made it worthwhile.
  10. Crdt Dfnse

    Crdt Dfnse Well-Known Member

    Your question is relative to what itâ??s worth on an individual basis, presumably regarding suits under FDCPA. While it may not be worth it, per se, for one to sue for a given amount; another may have totally different motives and litigation objectives; i.e., credit redress (perhaps) to obtain a mortgage.

    Besides, the vast majority of credit related cases are settled way before going to court. In these instances tracking records of judgment wouldnâ??t be possible, because settlements arenâ??t an aspect of public record. Now if youâ??re just looking for general appealed cases, any county law library will have this information. In the alternative you may also discover that, can be a good resource at least from which to start.

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