I'm not an expert by any means, but I've had cause to do a lot of research over the past year. I'll try and be concise as possible to conserve space, but will provide links to resources that I've found very valuable...CREDIT REPORTING
As is commonly known by credit-saavy consumers, there are 3 major consumer credit bureaus: Equifax
. All three bureaus keep a database of information acquired from companies that pay them a membership fee (their subscriber base). These can be companies like your mortgage lender, your credit card issuer, your utility company, or when things get bad financially - debt collectors
It all starts out when you apply for credit. Most times a lender will want to pull a credit report from one or all three bureaus in order to gauge your "credit-worthiness". This report contains information on what kind of credit has been extended to you, what your payment history is like, how much you currently owe, or where you've been shopping for credit.
For those that have been unfortunate or irresponsible with their finances, it will also contain information on any bankruptcies, debt judgements and collection accounts. A collection account gets reported to a person's credit report after a debt goes into default and gets charged off by the original creditor. An outstanding debt can then either 1) be assigned to an internal collections company or a third-party collections company, or 2) be sold to a debt purchaser that makes a living by collecting on defaulted debt. But bear in mind that a defaulted debt purchaser is STILL a debt collector in the eyes of federal and most state laws (and supported by caselaw) and is subject to following those laws while reporting and collecting debts.THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
When reporting a debt on a consumer's credit report, debt collectors are considered "data furnishers" and must follow the mandates of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
. This law regulates exactly how a credit report can be used, what types of information can be reported (and for HOW LONG), as well as stipulates exactly how a data furnisher should handle consumer disputes.
The law provides consumers with a measure of protection against inaccuracies and fraudulent credit reporting, by mandating accuracy in reporting and by giving consumers the right to sue the pants off of companies that violate the law.THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTIONS PRACTICES ACT
When "collecting" on a debt, debt collectors must follow the mandates of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
, which sets guidelines on exactly what a debt collector CAN and CAN NOT do while attempting to collect a debt.
Among the many mandates, a debt collector may not do things like: be untruthful with you or misrepresent themselves to you, harrass you, threaten you with actions that they can't legally take, or make inconvenient telephone calls to you at your home or work. It also stipulates that they have to provide you, in a timely fashion, with certain legal notices that inform you of your right to dispute the debt and how to go about doing it.
Here again, the law provides consumers with the right to sue violating companies in federal court.STATE LAWS
Each state offers its own set of consumer protections that can govern such things as: when a consumer CAN and CAN'T be sued and made to pay an outstanding debt, called the Statute of Limitations
; state licensure and bonding regulations; debt collection practices and credit reporting practices.
The list is far too vast to detail, but a great resource to start your research can be found at Lawdog.com
Now on to the part where I show you how Sherman, LVNV and Resurgent violated these federal and state mandates...
Labels: credit bureaus, credit report, Equifax, Experian, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Reporting Act, Texas Finance Code, TransUnion