From time to time, a Guest Blogger will share voice at the New Mexico Bankruptcy Law Blog. Today, we welcome Deborah DeMack. Deborah is a former Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. A solo practitioner now in private practice in Santa Fe, NM, Ms. DeMack practices consumer law, debt collection defense, and consumer bankruptcy. She can be reached at 505.471.3302. This is part 10 of the series.
When Debt Collectors Call, Part 10: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Other Things You Should Know
If a debt collector has contacted you, chances are that negative or adverse credit information has been reported to one or more credit bureaus. It is a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit reports at least once a year to verify the accuracy of your credit history. Under federal law, consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year.
Any false or inaccurate information can be disputed with either the “furnisher” of information to the credit bureaus — i.e., the original creditor or the debt collector — or directly with the credit bureaus. It is best to put your dispute in writing, and send your letters of dispute to both the furnisher of the information as well as each of the three major credit bureaus. Once a consumer disputes a debt with a furnisher, the furnisher is obligated not only to report the debt to the credit bureaus as being in dispute, but it also must investigate the disputed debt. Once notified of a dispute, the credit bureaus must report the debt on the consumer’s credit report as being in dispute.
Previous posts in the series: Debt Collection Abuse and the FDCPA, To Whom Does the FDCPA Apply? What Debts are Covered?, How May a Debt Collector Contact You?, What Acts or Practices are Prohibited by the FDCPA?, How Do You Stop a Debt Collector from Contacting You?, The 30 Day Validation (Verification) Notice, Statutes of Limitations, Other Types of Illegal Debt Collection Acts, What are Your Rights and Remedies under the FDCPA?