What are my rights to have false information removed rom my credit report?
A collection agency's tactics are regulated by both federal and state law. Within five days of its first telephone call to a debtor, a collection agency must send a notice in writing that states the total amount owed, and the name of the original creditor for whom the agency is attempting to collect. The written notice must also inform the debtor that he or she has 30 days from receipt of notice to dispute the debt in writing, and/or request a written verification of the amount.
Debtors are usually authorized at this point to make payments directly to the collections agency, which will forward the net balance (after deducting its percentage of the recovered amount) to the original creditor. It is important to verify that the collection agency indeed represents, and is the agent for, the principal creditor. A debtor may reasonably rely on correspondence from the collection agency, stating the name of its creditor client, as evidence of this.
If a debt collector violates the law, you can write a letter concerning the activity to the nearest office of the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a federal or state lawsuit against the debt collector for violation of the law, although there is usually a 1-year "statute of limitations." That means you have to file the lawsuit within 1 year of the violation to recover the actual damages that you've suffered. You can also recover up to a $1,000 in an individual lawsuit or $5,000 in a class-action lawsuit for each violation, plus attorney fees and costs.
If there is inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report:
-Contact both the credit reporting agency (CRA) and the company that provided the information to the credit reporting agency.
-Tell the CRA in writing what information you believe is inaccurate.
Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, the information provider is required to investigate and report the results to the CRA. If the information is found to be incorrect, it must notify all nationwide CRAs to correct your file. If the investigation does not solve your dispute, ask that your statement concerning the dispute be included in your file. A notice of your dispute must be included anytime the CRA reports the negative item.
The following is from the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act:
§ 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]
(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing --
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(5) a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
(c) The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.