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Registered: ‎04-29-2013
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Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

Background cliffs notes;

 

Canceled Verizon FIOS service mid 2012.  Asked if I should keep equipment as I was planning on reactivating service in winter, rep said yes.

 

Restarted service, using the prior equipment 01/2013.  There was an issue with restarting the service since they were showing an unpaid balance, which I knew I shouldn't have had since I paid the bill in full when we cancelled service. Sales rep spoke with billing, found out it was for unreturned equipment.  I explained the rep from a few months earlier said to keep it.  Sales and billing worked it out since the unreturned equipment was about to be activated.  Billing said the issue was fixed, pushed the order through, etc.   

 

Pulled credit report a few weeks ago as we are planning to buy a home, to see Verizon has an open collection on me for un-returned equipment (mind you, I never received a bill for this)

 

I spoke with Verizon Credit Reporting on Monday, explained the situation.  She advised that she couldn't do anything and would transfer me to billing to have it fixed.  Spoke with a nice woman in billing and after 10-15 minutes of researching my account, she said that yes, I should not be being charged for unreturned equipment since it was currently in use on my active account.  She said she fixed it and transferred me back to Credit Reporting for them to delete the erroneous tradeline.  The woman in Credit Reporting said it would take up to 60 days (!!!!) for the two billing cycles to go through on their end to receive the credit in their system from the billing system to clear the account, only then would they be able to delete the tradeline.  I asked A) why a collection account has a billing cycle, as it is not an open ended account and B) why she couldn't do a conference call with billing to get them to verbally authorize a deletion based on them submitting a credit, or whatever it is they do.  She said no, that's the way it is.  I reminded her that Verizon screwed up on this, Verizon was in the wrong and 60 days is unacceptable.  Tough cookies, basically, was her reply.  I asked to speak with a supervisor.  The supervisor was friendly, understood my frustration and said he would email the issue to the offline department and it would be taken care of within 24-48 hours and to expect a call by then.  In addition, he gave me some goodwill by (supposedly) deleting a PCL that I had 2 years prior.  He asked for my SSN as "it will basically delete instantly if I use your SSN instead of just name and address".  All 4 reps that I spoke with (3 in Credit Reporting, 1 in billing) admitted that Verizon was in the wrong on this.  As of today, I have had no alerts on Score Watch signifying that either the open collection, nor the PCL that he goodwilled has been removed.  At the time

 

48 hours, no call back, so I called back.  Supervisor was unavailable (after wasting 20 minutes re explaining the story to the rep, even after I told her she wouldn't be able to do anything).  I asked her to note on the message to the supervisor as a reminder that Verizon was in direct violation of the FCRA by reporting the the CRA's that I was in collection for the last 5 months, when I shouldn't be and that I could file suit on this if I so desired (possibly an idle threat, but I believe from what I've read that I can).
  She promised I would have a return phone call that evening.

 

Another 48 hours go by so I call back for a third time today.  I talk to the fifth Credit Reporting rep, another 20 minutes giving the same information that I gave on Wednesday.  Supervisor "just stepped out for lunch".  She again forwards another message to Tim, the supervisor.  I make it a little more adamant that I fully expect a return phone call by this evening to resolve this matter.  I again remind her that Verizon is in direct violation by of the FCRA and if I file suit that Verizon will be responsible for $1000 in my pocket as well as all attorney fees for the plaintiff.  She says she completely understands and she would not only make sure that the supervisor called me, but she would setup a return call for me as well to verify the issue has been resolved.

 

It is now 11:15pm EST, no phone call.

 

Clearly Verizon isn't taking me seriously.

 

What are the proper steps to take to send an intent to sue?  As I see it, I am completely in the legal right to file suit if I so desired. Verizon has reported a $701 collection for the last 5 months for unreturned equipment, again equipment that has been in use since January.  I have NOT sent a DV, primarily because I thought that Verizon would take this seriously and handle it in a prompt manner, and additionally because this is time sensitive matter, I need this stuff gone ASAP and I didn't want to wait around with sending letters back and forth and playing that game.

 

Don't get me wrong, an extra grand in my pocket would be nice, but all I really want is the collection (and the PCL) to be removed immediately, as well as a faxed or emailed statement from Verizon with an authorize to delete the 2 negative tradelines so that I may directly deal with the CRA's if need be, since Verizon's "instant" electronic system doesn't seem to be very instant.

 

My logic is that an ITS letter would light a fire under their ass.  I just want to make sure I have my ducks in a row if they don't take the ITS letter seriously, which at that point I will be glad to file suit and collect $1000.

 

Thoughts?


Starting Score:05/04/13 SW EQ607, SW TU672, PSECU EX xxx
Lender Pulls 04/24/13; EQ597, TU641, EX662
Current Score: 05/14/2013 SW EQ 643
Goal Score: 760's across the board would be nice, but I realistically won't "let it go" until I hit 800's


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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

I would not recommend handling it by way of filing suit for violation of the FCRA, at least not at this point.

 

It is not per se a violation of the FCRA to report information that is later determined to be inaccurate.  No statute can mandate human accuracy.

Under FCRA 616 and 617, violation occurs when the party reports information that was either knowlingly inaccurate at the time of its reporting, or they should have known but for negligence that it was inaccurate.  Willful or negligent noncompliance requires proving their knowledge and procedures, and would be a bear to support in court.

Actual damages are limited to $1000, and no punitive damages can be awarded unless the stricter standard of showing willful noncompliance is proven.

 

I would first file a formal complaint with the FTC.  While the FTC admittedly has a practice of not initiating legal action on individual consumer complaints, they will at least contact the creditor and require a response.  Perhaps they will fold at that point.  If they dont, it will at least show that you first took the admin process under the FCRA, and will additionally give you benefit of their response prior to filing any legal action.  A real potential benefit in court to see their position prior to initiating action.

 

 

Established Member
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎04-29-2013
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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

Robert, thank you for the response.

 

A few things;

 

At the moment, I have no desire to actually file suit.  As I said, I just want them to fix their screw up in the quickest way possible.  As I understand it, an "Intent to Sue" is basically a threat to help light a fire under to get things taken care of and to show them you aren't screwing around.  Filing suit is actually starting legal proceedings, correct?

 

Regarding what you said about it not being a violation per-se; I reactivated service 5 months ago.  During the account reactivation is when we initially found out that I was in collections with them for the unreturned equipment.  Sales could not process the order until billing researched the account to see why I was being charged for equipment.  According to the rep a few months prior to that, I was supposed to keep the equipment as this was to be a temporary, customer requested, disconnect.  During reactivation, billing did in fact research the account and see that I was supposed to have the equipment according to the notes.  At that point, they supposedly applied a credit so that sales could then finalize the order.  This was all taken care of in a single phone call.

 

"Under FCRA 616 and 617, violation occurs when the party reports information that was either knowlingly inaccurate at the time of its reporting, or they should have known but for negligence that it was inaccurate"

 

They said they fixed the problem, but for the last 5 months they have still continued to report me to all 3 CRA's as being in collections for $701.  In my book, that falls into negligence at the very least, if not willfully violating.  Billing statements showing that I have been using the equipment for the last 5 months seems like it would be plenty of support in a court setting.

 

I'm going to call Verizon back first thing Monday morning and give them one more chance to rectify things before I proceed with further action.  If I don't get anywhere on Monday, then I will file complaints with the FTC and BBB.  Past that, I suppose it is an ITS, followed by bringing suit.

 

As I said, I have no desire to file suit, that is a last ditch effort.  The thought of an ITS to letter was get them moving faster than the "60 days" BS when they are clearly in the wrong. 

 


Starting Score:05/04/13 SW EQ607, SW TU672, PSECU EX xxx
Lender Pulls 04/24/13; EQ597, TU641, EX662
Current Score: 05/14/2013 SW EQ 643
Goal Score: 760's across the board would be nice, but I realistically won't "let it go" until I hit 800's


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Posts: 40
Registered: ‎04-29-2013
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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

It looks like the threats of filing based on FDCPA and FCRA violations paid off on Friday.  I got a call back (that I missed) from the Credit Reporting department @ Verizon this morning.  Shortly after the missed call I got a Score Watch notification that my score jumped 27 points.

 

I called back to talk to the supervisor to verify what TL's were removed (1 was goodwill, the other was a legitimately incorrect TL on their part), only to get a hole of a nasty rep who hung up on me when I said I couldn't provide my account number.  Apparently "I'm *returning* a call from Tim, the supervisor" wasn't good enough for her.
  I called back later, talked to a very nice rep who said she would have Tim call me back in the morning. 

 

As a side note, this was my first Score Watch alert.  I was under the impression that Score Watch would tell you what TL's were "active" for the alert?  All it told me, aside from my new score, was some "scenario's" as to why it could have changed, not the real reason why it changed.  As it sits right now, to verify that they removed the 2 negative TL's and not just one or the other I would have to pay to pull my report.  I almost want it to have only been 1 TL removed, so my score goes even higher when the second TL is removed.

 

I just signed up with EIDT for daily pulls for myself and my fiance ($18/mo total for the both of us!), but they say that won't be active for 2 or 3 days. 


Starting Score:05/04/13 SW EQ607, SW TU672, PSECU EX xxx
Lender Pulls 04/24/13; EQ597, TU641, EX662
Current Score: 05/14/2013 SW EQ 643
Goal Score: 760's across the board would be nice, but I realistically won't "let it go" until I hit 800's


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Posts: 32,869
Registered: ‎08-04-2007
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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

SW won't alert for dropped accounts. If the score change was due to Verizon alone, then it's possible that a "dispute" comment was placed on that TL and that would cause FICO to ignore the negative payment aspect to it. You'd need to check with EQ from somewhere to see if it dropped.

 

Be careful with any legal jargon you toss out and be 100% on top of it when citing it. For example, the FDCPA won't even apply to Verizon because they are an OC.

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Posts: 40
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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases


llecs wrote:

SW won't alert for dropped accounts. If the score change was due to Verizon alone, then it's possible that a "dispute" comment was placed on that TL and that would cause FICO to ignore the negative payment aspect to it. You'd need to check with EQ from somewhere to see if it dropped.

 

Be careful with any legal jargon you toss out and be 100% on top of it when citing it. For example, the FDCPA won't even apply to Verizon because they are an OC.


llecs, I'm a little confused.  If Verizon did finally pull 1 or both of the negative TL's, that would cause a score increase, causing a SW alert, correct?  It's possible I just don't understand how SW works yet.  I've signed up with EIDT to get daily pulls for myself and my fiance.  I signed up last night, apparently there is 2-3 days of processing time needed to get the account setup.  Once I get an email from them notifying me that I can start pulling reports, then I'll find out what changed on my CR for sure.

 

As it was explained to me by Verizon, my accounts were in their in-house collections department.  Unless I'm mistake, in-house collections is no different than a "real" collection agency, so the FDCPA would apply to them as well in that case, correct?.

 

It's possible that their term for in-house collections isn't really a "collection agency", so maybe it is incorrect.  Either way, they were violating FCRA at the least.


Starting Score:05/04/13 SW EQ607, SW TU672, PSECU EX xxx
Lender Pulls 04/24/13; EQ597, TU641, EX662
Current Score: 05/14/2013 SW EQ 643
Goal Score: 760's across the board would be nice, but I realistically won't "let it go" until I hit 800's


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Re: Verizon violating FCRA, contemplating sending a ITS, checking my bases

Absent credit alerts (e.g. balance increase, stati change, added accts, etc.), your EQ FICO is monitored for changes every 7-10 days for changes to your EQ FICO and is based solely on your target score. So, if your new EQ FICO hits or exceeds the target score then you'll get alert within those 7-10 days. For best results, always make sure your target score EXACTLY matches your current EQ FICO. As your EQ FICO changes, then certainly reset that target. Lather, rise, and repeat. If your 27 points didn't specify a reason why, then this could have been your credit alert. Maybe it includes both TLs if deleted within that finite time frame. Maybe only one. EIDT would clarify that. I used that service for a while and it was great.

 

In-house just means that the OC is collecting. They aren't viewed as a CA or 3rd-party collector under the law. It's just like your CC calling you if you were 1 day late. It's in-house collections to get you to pay but they are still the OC and the FDCPA wouldn't apply to them.

 

 

 

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