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Disputed Accounts Reported on Your Credit

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2013 | Consumer Protection, Firm News

Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) upon receiving
notice of a dispute from a consumer regarding inaccurate information on a credit
report, the credit reporting agency (“CRA”) and furnisher of the account
have a duty to conduct a reasonable investigation into the dispute
within 30 days and report back to the consumer with the
results.  The law is clear that the CRA in conjunction with the furnisher of the account must
conduct a reasonable investigation and either verify if accurate, update or delete
the account information complained of.

In Dennis Van Veen v. Equifax Information, et al., a
Pennsylvania Court ruled on the issue of a furnisher’s duty to
conduct a reasonable investigation even if it takes more than the
30 days proscribed by the statute.  2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
21019 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 14, 2012).  In Van Veen, the plaintiff
had a dispute with AT&T over a telephone bill that the
plaintiff argued did not belong to him.  AT&T billed the
plaintiff for $202 for a telephone line which the plaintiff claimed
he never made calls from.  AT&T subsequently reversed the
charges except for $62 which it proceeded to report to the CRAs as “charged off”, thereby negatively impacting the
plaintiff’s credit report.  AT&T sometime later sent the
plaintiff a letter stating the adjustment was due to incorrect
billing.  After discovering the account on his report, the
plaintiff sent a dispute
letters to the credit reporting agencies asking the account be
deleted from his credit file due to its inaccuracy.  However,
instead of deleting the account, it  was verified and remained
on his credit file.  The consumer subsequently filed suit
arguing that AT&T failed to conduct a reasonable investigation
into his dispute and failed to mark the account as “disputed” while
taking additional time to conduct a reasonable investigation as
required under the law.

The court denied AT&T motion to dismiss the case stating
that furnishers of credit information, like AT&T, have a duty
to investigate disputes received from the
CRAs.  In holding that AT&T may be liable for failing
to take the necessary time to conduct a reasonable investigation
and report the debt as “disputed” the court reiterated the purpose
and spirit of the Act is not to discourage consumers from disputing
accounts that are inaccurately reported.  Failing to report
the debt as “disputed” would be considered misleading to a party
reviewing the credit report as the “disputed” notation serves as an
explanation into the consumer’s credit worthiness.

If you feel your rights have been violated by a furnisher or credit reporting agency and information about your credit
history is inaccurately reported, contact SmithMarco,PC for a free case review.