We beat Chase! We got'em! Those nasty people! WOOOOHOOOO!
After last week, when I was advised to speak to a lawyer, about FCRA, I did After the free consultation, I went ahead and made one more attempt to resolve this whole $25 charge-off affair myself, but with some lawyer-type words to back me & DH (who is the one actually having the problem on his CR) up.
I emailed the letter to MCCS at Camp Lejeune and the CFO there shared it with their "contact" and the "VP" at Chase.
This was my letter:
Mr. XX and Ms. XX,
Attached are screenshots of my online credit monitoring service from FICO. Please note, these are not third-party credit reports, but reports pulled directly from each CRA and paid for by the consumer through the website www.myfico.com . Their veracity is absolute and reflect what Chase/First Bankcard is falsley reporting on my credit reports, for which Chase/First Bankcard maintains MCCS is responsible.
The first attachment you will see is titled "Experian June 2006". I have included this older credit report as proof that Chase/First Bankcard has maliciously altered the credit entries on our more recent reports as punishment for continuing to investigate this matter. As you can see on this report from 2006, the account status is "charged off/past due 30 days" and simply charged off in Sep 2002. In just a moment, you will soon see the vast difference between this rating and the new, devastating rating that Chase/FirstBankcard has leveed on our reports in retaliation for continuing to pursue this matter.
The next attachment titled "Experian screenshot", is from the most recent Experian in April 2008, and shows this account as "90+ days late" and lists 90-day late notations for every month from March 2006 to March 2008. This is inaccurate on two levels: first, an account is either late, or charged-off. The very concept of the charge-off notation is that the account has passed any "late" status and has been written off entirely. Therefore, for the account to continue to report as late while a charge-off is a fallacy. Secondly, the account has these 90+ day late notations for the months of February and March 2008. Since this account was clearly paid off in January 2008, this is an FCRA violation for each month Chase continues to report it as late after it has been paid in full. Additionally, Chase has clearly altered the status to reflect a much more negative status of 90+ days late continuously, and this change in status did not begin until we began our investigation into why the account was still listed. The coincidence is astounding and was duly noted by the lawfirm we have contacted.
The next credit listing, from Equifax in March 2008, shows the account as having been late "90+ days late 65 times" since March 2006. Clearly, there are not even 65 months in a two year reporting period to make this notation possible. Secondly, as we have already established, an account cannot be concurrently charged-off and 90+days late. Third, if you notice the notations at the bottom, First Bankcard is reporting this account as a 'REPOSSESSION/FORECLOSURE.' This is gravely inaccurate and an error that Chase has continually refused to address. In fact, in each and every correspondence with Chase, their representatives have referred me back to your institution, stating that the original creditor, MCCS Camp Lejeune, is the only company with the authority to alter any payment status listed on my credit reports and that any inaccurate listing must be resolved by your institution.
The third attachment, titled "Equifax Apr 08" is offered as further proof that Chase/FstBankcard continues to falsley report this entry despite being disputed by both the consumer, and your company, the original creditor. One month earlier, the March report lists this account as 65 times past due. Now, with only one month having past, Chase has updated the account as a repossession/foreclosure again, and miraculously changed the notation to 67 times past due.
You also requested any reckoning we have of insufficient and negative contact with Chase CSRs. Below is a partial list of just a few of the instances:
-I received an unsolicited letter from Laura Hartzell, listed as "Financial Service Advisor" in Consumer Dispute Verifications dated 27 January. This letter mentioned we had submitted a recent inquiry and requested an account update. We absolutely made no such request at that time, and had worked only with Camp Lejeune directly on paying off this account, using the contact information from our previous attempt to address this debt in 2006. Upon calling the number listed on her letterhead, I was informed first that her department did not exist and there is no such employee.
-I have received a letter from Tracy Russo, title listed as "SCRA/Military Account Specialist" with Chase. Upon calling the number referenced on her letterhead, I was told clearly and with certainty that no such department exists within Chase.
-On another phone call, I was refused service by the representative because he claimed our account number starting with a "6" was impossible and not an account held by Chase. He would not transfer me to another representative for assistance with service, or a supervisor. He told me repeatedly that all Chase account numbers begin with "4" and eventually hung up on me. More recently, I am told when I call that this account has been noted that it cannot be discussed with any CSR from Chase and is in the hands of "John Olson" and/or "Diane Ashcroft" and I must contact them directly for any further service with the account. The number given for these two is 910-451-2861.
The finger-pointing between Chase and MCCS has gone on for nearly three months now. My family and I have suffered enough damage due to this improperly reported, continually mishandled account for which there is no clear ownership. If this account is not removed from all three of my credit files, or updated to the proper status notating it was paid in a timely manner and not charged-off within five business days of the receipt of this information, a lawsuit will proceed, with both Chase/First Bankcard and Marine Corps Community Services Office of Financial Management of Camp Lejeune named as defendants in the case. It displeases me greatly that this matter has progressed to this level, but I am left with no other choice.
As you will see, Chase continues to paint a picture that it is MCCS/Camp Lejeune who is the true owner and adjuster of this account. Therefore, I have no choice but to include MCCS Camp Lejeune as a defendant in our lawsuit. I do hope that MCCS is found to be cleared of any wrongdoing, as I feel is this case. However, with the continual referrals by Chase to ownership being held by Camp Lejeune, you must understand I have to include all parties in this claim.
The inclusion of MCCS in the lawsuit comes from Chase's stance that you are the actual owners of this account, according to Chase CSRs. It is their repeated assertion that this account is not handled by Chase CSRs and has a notation which I am referred to whenever I call the 800-436-7939 number listes on their correspondence. That notation reads that this account has been turned over to "John Olsen" and for any inquiries regarding its status, I must call John Olsen directly at 910-451-2861.
Additionally, to quote from the correspondence from Chase Employee "Tracy Russo" dated 1 Apr 08,
"Due to the unique nature of Military Club Private Label accounts, we are unable to fulfill your request without the request of the military base. Please contact your base to request these changes.
When we receive these requests from the military base, we will be happy to address your request."
This account notation with a direct phone number leading back to your offices, along with this clear passing of ownership in Ms. Russo's letter leave me no other option but to include both parties and allow the fingerpointing and blame to continue between you all in court.
For your own information, the VP's assertion to you that in no cases can an account be reverted or adjusted after being reported as a collection is patently false. I feel sorry that this executive is either attempting to use his position as authority in place of accurate information, or is truley so uninformed that he does not know the FCRA statutes his own company operates under. A creditor is required to furnish accurate information to the CRAs. This information can be changed at any time if found to be inaccurate. Your office has already reaffirmed that this account was reported to charge-off by a Command error, which clearly supplants the need for revision due to inaccurate reporting. It is an FCRA violation to continue to report information deemed inaccurate. This is called "willful noncompliance" and will be part of the allegations in our suit. A creditor is also allowed to not report information at all. Finally, a creditor is not allowed to continue to report an account that is actively being disputed. As your office is well-aware, this account has been in a status of dispute since at least February of this year. That means that First Bankcard (or, by their logic, MCCS) has continued to report a clearly disputed account for at least the months of March, April, and now May. That is an FCRA violation as well, for every individual instance of reporting.
The VP with whom you communicated either does not understand the nature of the own accounts for which he answers, or simply does not value his relationship with his military customers.
It is my hope that this matter can be resolved within the five business day timeperiod I have offered. However, given the history of the past months of unresolved issues, my expectations are low. Please do call or email me with any updates you have regarding this issue. At this point, given the litany of violations, the only acceptable resolution will be removal of this account entirely from all three major credit reporting agencies, an update to accurately reflect the true, positive status of this tradeline, or damages sought in court for the maximum allowable, that being $1000 per violation.
I hope to speak to you soon. You have my permission to continue to discuss this issue with my wife, Ivyalmighty.
And today, in the mail, after receiving six letters denying the request and maintaining charge-off status, I got this:
"I am writing to inform you that we have received the request to update Mr. Ivyalmighty's credit bureau report for the Military Club Proprietary card mentioned above.
We have completed our investigation of the account. As a result, we are updating the credit bureau report to no longer reflect that this account is charged off. The account will be reported to the credit bureaus as closed by the consumer's request. It may take up to 30 days for this information to be reflected on the credit bureau report with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
If you have additional questions regarding this account, please call us at 800-759-0294. blah blah blah"
Joanna C. Schmuff
Military Relationship Manager
YYAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!! KISS THIS, JOANNA SCHMUFF! WE WILL NEVER HAVE A CARD THROUGH CHASE AGAIN.
Not sure what I've learned from all this, but it sure feels good
I guess maybe being a boil on the butt of your creditors pays off?
And, always throw the BS flag when you see foul play? (And throw it, and throw it, and throw it again and again!)
I'm even happier because we had resigned ourselves to just losing the positive TL, if it meant getting their BS tactics and lies off his report.. but to know that we get to keep the TL (And thus, a little more history) AND it will show as positive, which it rightfully should.. that's great!
This letter is amazing, what a great job you did! You are so well informed of the law and have so much back-up on yuor case no wonder why you beat Chase. Congratulations!!! Reading your letter, there were a couple of points made that struck a chord with me regarding my own accounts. If you don't mind, I have some questions...
"Since this account was clearly paid off in January 2008, this is an FCRA violation for each month Chase continues to report it as late after it has been paid in full."
I have an account settled in full with two payments, one 12/07 and one 1/08. I got the letter stating the account was satisfied and closed before the end of January. Here is what they report for experian on freecreditreport.com - it does not show up on the myfico.com report:
EXPERIAN Account Name: ARROW FINANCIAL SERVIC Account Number: XXXXXXXXX Acct Type: Collection Department / Agency / Attorney Acct Status: Closed Monthly Payment: Date Open: 8/1/2005 Balance: Terms: 1 Month High Balance: Limit: Past Due: Payment Status: Paid, was a collection account, insurance claim or government claim or was terminated for default Date: Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Experian: 07 07 07 07 08 08 KD
(for the sake of keeping it lined up, I only included the last 6 months reporting, but 2/08 is the only one with data.) Does this account apply to the statement you made? Can someone put a negative comment on your credit report a month after the account has been settled and closed?
Now on Equifax, my score just went up 7 points, and according to ScoreWatch, it was due to this account. Here is how that looks:
Previously reportedNewly reported
Balance: $0 $0
Past due: $0Not Reported
Status: At least 120 days or more than At least 120 days or more than
four payments past due four payments past due
Last activity: 1/1/20051/1/2005
Description: Consumer disputes this Consumer disputes this account information account information
Settlement accepted on this account Collection account Paid collection
Now how can that status be correct? How can it be 120 days past due AND be paid? This account doesn't show on Transunion at all.
I appreciate any feedback anyone is able to give! Thanks!