How to remove a disputed judgment from your credit reports

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Hello MFC-Robert
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How to remove a disputed judgment from your credit reports

Postby Hello MFC-Robert » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:33 pm

There would be several steps I suggest when someone contacts me about a court judgment that is on their credit report. My first step is to use the information from the credit report to look up the case in the court’s records to evaluate whether the judgment is valid and unsatisfied. Also, I would need to know if the judgment that is actually against you, rather than a case of similar name or identity theft. I’d suggest contacting a consumer attorney for help with this step, such as one of the lawyers in your state affiliated with http://www.MyFairCredit.com.

Once you have obtained the court case information and evaluated the case and judgment carefully, my second step would be to challenge the judgment. There are many ways to challenge the judgment, such as it was not your debt, resulted from identity theft, judgment was satisfied, or lack of service. The court in which the lawsuit was filed will need to correct its records, accordingly. This may be the most challenging step, take several months of working with the court, and require an attorney who is familiar with civil procedure and money judgments, such as one of the lawyers in your state from this website.

My third step is to ensure that the credit report information is disputed directly with the credit reporting agencies which are showing the judgment on your credit report. I prefer to have the client do this more than one time in writing and follow up, as needed. Perhaps even a phone call or two directly with the credit reporting agencies, as the Fair Credit Reporting Act specifically recognizes written and telephone disputes, so doing both is productive. The agency’s investigation should include a review of the court case information to confirm whether the information is accurate as reported or if your dispute should be followed. I have sample letters (such as letter # 3.1) on my website, http://www.StopCollectionHarassment.com, that consumers may use for written disputes, including the mailing addresses of the credit reporting agencies. This can be done effectively by the consumer and I don’t recommend using a credit repair company.

My fourth step is to monitor and evaluate each of the responses from the credit reporting agencies to each of your disputes. The CRA’s response should be sent within 30 days of its receipt of the dispute, so mark your calendar of when that is, based on the day they received your dispute letter by U.S. Certified Mail. The credit reporting agencies that remove the judgment have complied with your dispute. The ones that have not should be closely evaluated to understand why they did not remove it and, if they updated the item, if the update is correct. For instance, if the judgment was satisfied in full, then the credit reporting agency should accurately report that fact, so it is clear to a user of the credit reports.

My fifth and final step is to determine if there are any violations of the consumer laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or state law, such as the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I would also evaluate the damages that resulted from such violations, as that is important if a case is to be filed in court. Please be aware that not only are damages important, but so is timing, as the consumer laws has deadlines, known as the statute of limitations, so filing a lawsuit timely is as important as having a valid claim.

For this last step, you need an experienced consumer attorney handle the case, because the court procedures are daunting and the various statutes have numerous traps for the unwary, even if the case seems straightforward. I have seen experienced trial counsel lose a trial that seemed “straight forward,” because the attorney did not regularly handle credit reporting cases (he was a general practice attorney). Also, the noted consumer statutes provide an award of costs and attorney’s fees when the consumer prevails, so there is no reason why a consumer should not have good counsel for a good case. If there is no good counsel available, it is worth patiently searching for good counsel to get a candid review of the case. Good luck and please let me know if I can assist further.
Robert Stempler, Attorney at Law
California State Bar # 160299
Email: Robert@StopCollectionHarassment.com
Telephone: (805) 246-2300
_ © 2015 Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC

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