Common Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FCRA

  • My bank is reporting wrong information on my credit report, and now my credit score has tanked.  What do I do?!

    1. Answer – First step is to dispute the inaccurate reporting with the consumer reporting agencies – such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  Disputes made directly to the company reporting the information does NOT count.  The content of that dispute letter is important, contact us for a free consultation before sending in your dispute letter.

  • I’ve tried working with a credit repair agency but they haven’t been able to help me.  What can a law firm do different?

    1. Answer – A credit repair agency can be a great partner with the expertise to help you navigate the credit disputing process.  However, many times these disputes are just rubberstamped as ‘verified’ by the consumer reporting agencies, no matter how valid the dispute.  In many cases, the only way to get these companies to comply with the law is with a lawsuit.

 

  • Why is someone else’s information on my credit report?

    1. The credit reporting agencies maintain a file on every single person.  Because credit reporting agencies generally do not require a full Social Security Number match before associating account information with a consumer’s file, often a consumer’s file will become ‘merged’ or ‘mixed’ with another person’s file.  This can be a very difficult mess to unravel, and often will not fully resolve without a lawyer getting involved.

 

  • How does the dispute process work?

    1. A dispute letter is first sent to the credit reporting agency.  This letter will generally contain the consumer’s personal details, as well as a description of the consumer’s dispute.  The credit reporting agency then forwards the dispute to the company that furnished this information to that agency.  That furnisher then has several weeks to respond to the dispute, and either must verify the information as accurate, or it must delete or correct that information.  The consumer reporting agency will then notify you of the furnisher’s decision.  All of this should happen within 30 days of submitting the dispute.

 

  • I think I’ve been the victim of identity theft.  What should I do first?

  1. ​​Notify the credit reporting agencies immediately.  They can put a fraud alert and a security freeze on your credit file.  If you see anything on your credit report that is a result of identity theft, you will typically need to fill out a Police Report and an Identity Theft Affidavit, which you can obtain here (insert link to https://www.identitytheft.gov/).  Once you submit that to the credit reporting agencies, they have 4 days to apply a special identity theft block to your credit report.

  • How long can negative information remain on my credit report?

    1. Generally seven years from the date of your last delinquency (the last missed payment date).  Bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to ten years.

 

  • Can anybody just access my credit report?

    1. Generally, no.  Your credit report is your private information, and cannot be viewed by someone unless they have a permissible purpose.  Permissible purposes can include debt collection, potential employment or to determine your eligibility for a credit application.  Companies pulling your credit typically have to let you know before they access your credit, and can be liable if they do not make that disclosure.

 

  • What kind of rights does the law give me if my credit gets messed up?

    1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (the FCRA) protects consumers and their credit reports.  If a company does not follow the law, they could be liable for statutory damages (between $100-$1,000), actual damages, punitive damages.  These companies may also have to pay for your attorneys’ fees and costs.  The law provides a powerful tool to keep credit furnishers and credit reporting agencies honest, and to make sure that information reported in your credit report is accurate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – TCPA

  • I am getting tons of collection calls.  Is there anything I can do about that?

    1. Yes.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the TCPA) is a powerful law that is meant to prevent robocalls and pre-recorded voice messages.  If a company places call in violation of that law, you may be entitled to $500-$1,500 for each and every call.

 

  • Does the law also apply to calls from my bank, or does it just apply to spam telemarketers?

    1. The TCPA prohibits any call or prerecorded voice message made through an auto-dialer to a person’s cell phone, unless that person first gave permission to be called.  The law applies to telemarketers, banks, collection agencies, credit card companies, and any other company that uses an autodialer to make these calls.

 

  • Does the law also apply to spam text messages?

    1. Yes. If the text message was sent with an autodialer, you may be able to obtain a monetary recovery for each and every message.

 

  • I am on the National Do Not Call Registry and still getting telemarketing calls.  Is this legal?

    1. No.   If you are on the DNC Registry and receive more than one telemarketing call in a year from a telemarketer you can likely sue that caller for monetary compensation.

 

  • Can I sue for these annoying political campaign calls?

    1. Yes.  Political campaigns are sued all the time for robocalling people.  The election campaigns for both President Obama and President Trump have both been sued for robodialing voters without their consent.

 

  • Can I sue my creditor for calling even if I owe them money?

    1. Yes.  The law protects everyone, regardless if you owe money or not.  If you don’t want to be called, tell the caller to stop calling you.  If the calls don’t stop, you likely can sue the caller for damages.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FDCPA

  • I am getting collection letters from a collection agency.  Is there anything you can do for me?

    1. Yes.  We review collection letters for compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the FDCPA).  If the letter does not comply with the law, we can sue on your behalf, and potentially get you money.

 

  • When does a collection letter violate the law?

    1. There are many ways that a collection letter can violate the FDCPA.  The law requires debt collectors to put very specific and accurate information in collection letters, such as the amount of your debt and the identity of the entity who owns your debt.  The law also requires collection letters to include very specific disclosures.  The law also prohibits debt collectors from making false or deceptive statements in collection letters.  Because a collection letter can violate the law in many different ways, it is important to have your attorney review the collection letters you receive.

 

  • Can a debt collector call my work?

    1. There are very strict rules about who a debt collector may communicate with.  In general, a debt collector cannot communicate with a third party about your debt.  A debt collector can call your work and leave a message, but they may not communicate any details regarding your debt.  You can also let the debt collector know that they may not call you at work, if your place of employment does not allow such calls, or if it is inconvenient to receive such calls at work.

 

  • I told the debt collector to stop calling me, but they keep calling.  Is there anything I can do?

    1. Under the law, a debt collector cannot call before 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.   A debt collector also cannot call at any time they know is inconvenient to you.  A debt collector cannot call you if you are represented by an attorney.  If you want to stop all debt collection calls however, you have to notify the debt collector of that request in writing.

 

  • I asked the debt collector to show me proof that I owe this debt.  All they sent me is a single page.  Is this enough?

    1. Under the law, a debt collector must ‘verify’ a debt if you make that request in writing within 30 days of the debt collector first reaching out to you.  The debt collector does not have to provide every credit card statement or every phone bill that supports the amount they are seeking from you.  However, the debt collector must show sufficient evidence demonstrating the validity of the amount they are seeking from you.

 

  • A debt collector reported me to the credit reporting agency.  Don’t they have to notify me first?

    1. No, a debt collector does not have to notify you before they report you to the credit reporting agencies.  However, if you dispute the debt, the debt collector has to let the credit reporting agencies know that the debt is disputed, the next time that the debt collector reports that debt to the credit reporting agencies. 

© 2020 by Marcus & Zelman  LLC. All Rights Reserved.  DISCLAIMER

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