| Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 02:44 pm |
To: FTC - Credit Reporting Complaints
via fax to firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaint about FCRA violations by:
12726 Glenkirk Road
Richmond, VA 23233
Tel: (804) 364-0195
Fax: (804) 360-1418
Re: Collection Agency Inovision, Inc. violates the FCRA as described at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2000/08/performance.htm "California Debt Collection Agency Settles FTC Charges Of Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations"
On March 22, 2001 I contacted Inovision about my client's 1995 collection. Samantha informed me that they are NOT a collection agency, that they purchased the charged off account from a utility company and that the account is OPEN, as they reported it to Equifax.
It is my understanding, that for an account to be open, I have to be able to use it, charge on it, or receive services, which is NOT the case. When I requested that they report this account as closed and in collection, she refused.
The next day, I faxed to Inovision the annotated pages of the Equifax credit report pertaining to the Inovision account as well as information relating to my client's EXTREMELY LOW Fair Isaac Beacon credit score:
"I found that your INCORRECT reporting of the PECO Energy account is SERIOUSLY lowering his credit score.
"Credit score: 571
Source of score: Equifax (BEACON®)
Reason codes: 39 14 13 34
First Reason Code: 39 Your first reason code is 39, “Serious delinquency”. This is the single most important factor affecting your score. This reason appears when your credit report shows one or more serious delinquencies on your credit accounts. Studies reveal that consumers with previous late payments are much more likely to pay late in the future. There is no “quick” fix to improve the score if the serious delinquency indicated on your credit report is valid. However, as these age and fall off the credit report (credit account delinquencies stay on your report for up to seven years), their impact on the score will gradually decrease."
This above statement is a direct quote from Fair Isaac Company.
1) You are violating the FCRA by reporting this account as open, with a current 120+ past due notation as of 10/2000. The credit scoring software does NOT age this account BECAUSE you report it as open.
2) Your INCORRECT reporting also has the effect of EXTENDING the 7 year reporting time to 7 years from whenever you STOP reporting. I.e. if the 1/2001 reporting date was the last one, the account would stay on the Equifax report until 2008. Again, that is a violation of the FCRA, and you can find links at the BayHouse Forum to the FTC Opinion Letters.
Please IMMEDIATELY correct your reporting."
I spent at least 5 hours on my efforts to get Inovision to correctly report this account, unsuccessfully. My final contact was with supervisor Kimberly Cross, who promised to get back to me, and of course she did not. Ms. Cross also stated that they are NOT a collection agency, unlike some of their other employees I spoke with. I would like some clarification as to exactly what they are and what the implications are. Because they are NOT a collection agency they do NOT have to comply with the FCRA and can report 1995 charged off account as open and delinquent in 2001? I don't think so.
My clients are first-time buyers and can NOT get a mortgage because the credit score is lower than that of people who just filed for bankruptcy. The Inovision account is the ONLY account with ANY derogatory data on this Equifax report. The SOL has long expired, Inovision's INCORRECT credit reporting is EXTORTION. While a 5 year old collection for a few hundred dollars should be a minor impact on someone's otherwise PERFECT credit, Innovision is purposely and KNOWINGLY destroying peoples' credit ratings.
Please take the appropriate actions as with PCM as this is NOT an "error" by Invosion. Inovision REFUSED to correct their reporting and I will be happy to supply my contact log as well as the numerous faxes to Inovision TRYING to get them to comply with the FCRA.
As always, this complaint and the results are published at the BayHouse Forum at bayhouse.com.
Thank you very much,
| Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 05:52 am |
I just finished filing a formal complaint with the Attorney General of the state of Virginia. I hope this along with my complaint to the FTC will give us some kind of justice with this company. I will keep you posted of my progress.
| Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 06:26 am |
I just received this message regarding my complaint with the FTC, I guess they are going to do NOTHING to help us:
FTC Ref. No. 1336469
Dear Russell and Annmarie Hanson:
This is in response to your complaint concerning your credit report. While the FTC does not collect or keep credit records on individual consumers, it is responsible for making sure that credit bureaus report accurate and up-to-date information. We have enclosed a brochure that addresses your concerns. Between the brochure and this letter we hope to be able to answer all of your questions.
Credit bureaus are private information distributors which report credit information supplied by retailers who use their services. Most credit bureaus operate locally and you should look in the yellow pages of your telephone book under "credit bureaus" or "credit reporting agencies" to find the credit bureau or bureaus most likely to have your file. It is possible that you may have a file in more than one local agency. In addition to the local credit bureaus, there are three national credit bureaus that may have you on file:
- Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- Experian, P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013
- Trans Union, 760 West Sproul Road, P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064-0390
The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") became effective in 1971 and was significantly amended in 1997. It was designed to protect consumers against the circulation of inaccurate or obsolete information reported about them in consumer reports (a credit report is one type of consumer report). Negative information, if accurate, generally may be reported for 7 years with the exception of a bankruptcy, which may be reported for 10 years.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows a consumer reporting agency to issue a consumer report to a person ("user") which it has reason to believe has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer. When permissible purposes exist, parties may obtain, and consumer reporting agencies may furnish, consumer reports without the consumer's permission with the exception of employment and medical purposes. Credit reports containing medical information or reports issued to present or perspective employers always require the consent of the consumer.
The FCRA provides that any person who knowingly and willfully obtains information on a consumer from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both. Authority to bring criminal action for violation resides solely in the U.S. Department of Justice, not the Federal Trade Commission.
While it is permissible under the FCRA for credit reporting agencies to furnish lists of names and addresses to credit card and insurance companies, Section 604(e) allows consumers to "opt out" of these lists. Proper notification of the credit reporting agency will exclude the consumer’s name and address from any list that the credit reporting agencies routinely provide to credit card and insurance companies. To properly notify the credit bureau, you should call the toll free number that shall be included in the unsolicited offers, or contact the credit bureau directly and fill out an "opt out" form. The phone call will remove your name for two years. Filling out the credit bureau’s "opt out" form will permanently keep your name off the lists.
If you are denied credit because of a credit report, the FCRA requires the creditor to tell you the name and address of the credit bureau which provided the information. You should then contact that credit bureau to obtain your credit report. You have the right to learn the nature, substance, and sources of information in your file at the credit bureau at the time of your request. Disclosures may be obtained in person, upon reasonable notice, during normal business hours, or by telephone if the consumer makes a written request for telephone disclosure and pays the cost of the telephone call. For either type of disclosure, section 610 of the FCRA requires that you must provide proper identification before you receive this information. If you request the credit report within 60 days of the denial notice, the report is free. At other times, the credit bureau may charge a fee of $8.50.
Section 611 of the FCRA provides the procedure to be followed if the consumer disputes the accuracy of the information in the consumer's file. If information in your file is inaccurate, you should write both the consumer reporting agency and the creditor or other party who furnished the inaccurate information to the consumer reporting agency. Tell both of them that a dispute exists. You should provide both of them with any information that you have that will assist them in investigating your dispute. You should clearly state the facts concerning the disputed item and include copies of any letters or other documents that support your position. We suggest that you send your letters via certified mail, and that you retain a copy for your records. Remember, the right to dispute information applies only to items that are incomplete or inaccurate. The FCRA does not give you the right to dispute information just because it is unfavorable.
Consumer reporting agencies are required to investigate your dispute usually within 30 days, unless the bureau has reasonable grounds for determining that the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant. The creditor or other entity must also conduct a reinvestigation and notify the consumer reporting agency of the results within that 30-day period. If the item is wrong or can no longer be verified, it must be corrected or dropped from your file. If the item is verified by the creditor (or other information furnisher) and accepted by the consumer reporting agency, the information will remain in your file at the consumer reporting agency. After the investigation, the consumer reporting agency will send you an updated copy of your credit report if it has changed as a result of the investigation. If, after the credit bureau has concluded its reinvestigation, you still don't agree that your report is accurate, you should write a short statement of 100 words or less giving your side of the situation and ask the consumer reporting agency to include it in your file. This statement or a summary of it then becomes a part of your credit report. If your report has changed based on your dispute, you have the right to ask the credit bureau to send your updated report to anyone who has received a copy of your credit report within the last six months (two years if sent to an employer or potential employer). You may be charged a small fee for having these updated reports sent.
If information is inaccurate or has not been verified by the furnisher within the 30-day period, it must be removed from your file. It can only be reinserted in the file if the creditor or other furnisher of information certifies its accuracy to the credit bureau. In turn the credit bureau must notify you in writing that the information is being reinserted. If the furnisher finds the information to be accurate and you still dispute the information, the furnisher cannot continue to report that information unless the information is accompanied by a statement that it is disputed.
Applying for credit, insurance, or financing for large purchases creates credit record inquiries. A creditor may ask your local credit bureau for the number of inquiries it has received about you. Excessive inquiries may indicate to a creditor that you may become overextended with too many active credit accounts and may cause a credit or to deny your application for credit because of excessive inquiries.
The FCRA does not specifically state how long inquiries may remain on the credit report. However, the FCRA does require that credit bureaus disclose to consumers any recipient of a consumer report for a two year period regarding employment purposes and a six month period for any other purpose. The law does not require that inquiries stay on the credit report for any specified period of time, but only that the credit bureau must be able to provide consumers with this information upon request. Because the FCRA does not specifically state how long inquiries may remain on the credit report, credit bureaus have the right to set their own policy or procedure regarding how long inquiries will remain on the credit report.
If you feel that your credit report does not accurately portray your creditworthiness, Regulation B, which implements the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, provides that you have the right to present information to a prospective creditor to show that your credit report does not reflect your ability or willingness to repay. It is possible that the consumer reporting agency used by the firm to which you applied for credit does not include in their files those organizations with which you have already established credit (an occurrence which is not in violation of the FCRA). To overcome this you may wish to provide the creditor with copies of bill statements and other information about your credit history from other creditors with which you have done business. The creditor must consider this information at your request. Also, if you know there is adverse information on your credit report, it is often best to explain the circumstances surrounding that item and provide other positive information to the creditor at the time you complete an application.
We cannot act as your lawyer or intervene in a dispute between a consumer and a credit bureau or between a consumer and a creditor or furnisher of information. The private enforcement provisions of the FCRA permit the consumer to bring a civil suit for willful noncompliance with the Act. You may receive actual damages or punitive damages up to $1,000 for willful noncompliance (Section 616). You may also sue for negligent noncompliance and recover actual damages sustained by you (Section 617). Attorney's fees, as determined by the court, will be allowed for both forms of action. If you believe that the FCRA has been violated, we suggest that you consult a private attorney or a local legal services organization.
Consumer Response Center
| Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 02:46 pm |
How interesting that both Pa.and Va. do not license collection agencies.It's possible debt collectors may have different guidelines to adhere
to.Over my head.Look at www.frojac.com/pubs/0283654.htm
you may look into filing a different complaint
under fdcpa.Was debt already charged off?
Look at getting a lawyer(Va.Lawyer Referral Service?,800-552-7977 $25.00/half hour)
As you were a customer in Pa.(Pa. Bar Lawyer Referral Service? 800-692-7375)
Important to note I'm not a lawyer,info may not be important or complete or right or blaa,blaa blaa...
That said this whole thing really bothers me because it is so typical.They may want to be a first party creditor..(may be harder if debt was charged-off)...or a credit agency... or a debt collector...or a pawnshop, I don't know.
The Biggest one thing...Utilities have tended to be the only game in town.The idea of my phone company giving or selling my personal information
#ss,DOB,DL#,Phone# to another party without my auth. for valuable consideration,Truely Amazing.Many times this is protected by law(as in the judge signs the order for your info to be given to another party)or highly regulated by state.I think it is somewhat protected in Va. and Pa.I think in Va. there may even be a $100.00 penalty per offense per acct.and maybe a criminal offense. Both states have Public Utilities Commissions which regulate what the utilities can and can't do.Of course inovisions knows this because some of there key people came from the Va.Power utility.
I would get an opinion from Pa and Va.Consumer Advocates,and Va.and Pa. P.U.Cs All Written if possible.Remind them ronald the clown could be calling them about a big macc very soon based on their opinions as they are all users of utilities in that state.
What I'm getting at is the utility may have the right to sell their charged-off debt,but maybe only if it's without your SS#,DOB,DL#,if it is protected info.but when they use a collection agency they are still the owners and have a right to the info that was intrusted to them to protect.I would give my last dollar to be there when inovisons called the CRA's
without a SS#,DOB.to tried to have this put in your file.
Don' lose sight of your goal. You could call utility,ask for legal dept,ask for a copy of the court order releasing your private info then see if they could get the debt back to avoid possible huge PR and investor disaster.Everything here IMHO.
GOOD Luck Ann. No more posts from me for awhile.
How much difference is there when you look at
CRA's, banks and ficoland. Curly bumps into Moe,who's throwing a pie at Shemp but Shemp ducks and the poor lady signing her charge card gets hit with the lemon pie...Very funny...to them.Throw in the FTC who in their yearly reports to congress says consumer complaints have risen,alot,we send them out a nice flyer that cost about two cents but we truly feel the best way to lower complaints is to educate our industry with seminars and luncheons(in a far away state?)And the FTC doesn't see a want or need to expand their budget.Fastforward... And our next guestspeaker at the luncheon is...the president of one of the CRAs, calling everyone at the FTC table by their first names in his speech about the importance of less regulation of the industry.
Well,at least now they will know which fork to use...
| Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 05:01 pm |
The FTC, to my knowledge, has not investigated individual complaints for some time. If enough complaints are received against a particular company or CRA it may spark some action.
This is generally the province of the individual state (Either Attorney General or State's Attorney). Constitutionally, as this is the states right to investigate and enforce, the federal government rarely steps in, as not to infringe on these tenets.
| Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 07:08 pm |
Koona knows much more about this than I do, and I greatly appreciate the info!
Those luncheons sound exactly like the ones I remember with the DRE and Realtors and HUD ...
Of course Hal is right too, most likely one complaint won't do it. BUT, I'm not aware of any State ever complaining about the FTC enforcing the FCRA. I firmly believe that if the feds don't want to enforce federal laws, they should just do away with those laws.
As long as those laws are there, I will insist they enforce them.
So I decided to give Inovision a few days to re-evaluate their credit reporting. There is the possibility that my faxes got to the Inovision legal department and that their lawyers have more brains than the supervisors in the boiler room.
If we can't resolve Ann's problem, I'll start posting at other sites such as askme.com and classactionAmerica.com and in the newsgroups, alerting other Inovision victims to the FCRA violations. Since they didn't correct their reporting, I assume that's how all their accounts are reported.
I may just find out how many complaints it takes to get the FTC to investigate Inovision.
AND, we now have so much documentation that Inovision is KNOWINGLY and PURPOSELY violating the FCRA, lawyers might want to take this case on a contingency.
Credit Forum CreditCourt Forum 2003 Credit Suit CreditFactors Order Credit Reports