Fighting credit bureaus, creditors and debt buyers

Doomed settlement conference failed, joinder of Trans Union next, GoFundMe

I’ve been receiving emails inquiring whether I was ok and requesting status updates.  I’m sorry for the silence here, I’ve been so incredibly busy and am finally making time.

Initially the settlement conference was scheduled for 7/7/14 and after countless emails and motions, it was rescheduled to 8/19/14.

The 8/19/14 settlement conference

I can’t discuss what happened at the conference, other than that it failed.

I wanted to reschedule the settlement conference again because I hadn’t received the Equifax initial disclosures and the Midland discovery responses, but attorneys William Fife for Midland and Ann Broussard for Equifax opposed another continuance.

While the Midland defendants’ discovery responses were due on 7/7/14, they didn’t provide a single meaningful response or document until the evening prior to the 8/19/14 settlement conference.  I downloaded hundreds of pages around 10 pm and obviously couldn’t review most docs.

However, it is clear from the Midland docs that they report an incorrect DLA for one account to Equifax and that they charge interest from the date of charge-off instead of the date when they purchased the accounts.  I will be posting a lot more info about the credit reporting and interest calculations in a separate post.

As expected, the settlement conference resulted in me wasting several hundred dollars on travel, two days on the road and having to drive through countless storms on flooded roads.  Not to mention the huge amount of time wasted preparing for the conference.

Incredibly, I was the only person prepared for the conference.  While the attorneys attending the conference had claimed that they were fully informed about the case, they didn’t even have the Midland documents proving that it reported incorrect data as I received those discovery responses from their California attorneys the night before the hearing.

Of course I will NEVER AGAIN agree to attend a settlement conference.

The defendants were allowed to attend by telephone and the entire purpose of the settlement conference was to waste my very limited resources or even better, cause me to dismiss my claims because I can’t afford to waste what little time and money I have on a doomed settlement conference.  So if you don’t live close to the courthouse, act accordingly. You don’t HAVE to agree to attend a settlement conference.

Apparently the Midland attorneys had NO idea that Midland’s own records show that they report incorrect information to the credit bureaus.

First attorney David Campbell and then his successor attorney William Fife filed all these motions without having any information about the accounts!

Despite clear evidence from Midland’s own records, they still have not notified me that they are correcting their credit reporting.

On 6/23/14 Midland verified the incorrect data with Trans Union and I’m currently working on my 2nd amended complaint to join Trans Union.

I will definitely try to update regularly and I’ve been meaning to post my email communications with the attorneys.

This litigation is not just about correcting my credit reports and getting paid for my damages, but I’d like to do whatever it takes to not have to sue for false credit reporting again.  After all, I’ve been in court for 12 or 13 years now and I’m continually experiencing NEW issues.   I’m sick and tired of corrupt courts!

As this case documents, scummy debt buyers won’t even correct their credit reporting when sued and their own docs show that they report false data.

The system needs to be changed and consumers need to be able to hold credit bureaus, creditors and debt buyers accountable WITHOUT having to spend a fortune on litigation.

Corporations ignore consumer protection laws with impunity.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs to step up its enforcement actions and as my litigation documents, we need a CONSUMER COURT with judges well trained in consumer law and ensuring that FAIR and SPEEDY proceedings will result in JUSTICE.

Of course it’ll require LOTS of work to bring these issues to the attention of legislators and regulators and I’m not superwoman.

I currently have two main “hobbies”:

  • Sharing my litigation experiences and working to increase the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
  • Learning and teaching how to grow nutrient dense organic food in the desert and fighting genetically modified food.

My day could have a hundred hours and I still wouldn’t get everything done.   So I decided to let YOU tell me how important it is to make it easier for consumers to find justice in courts, or even better, without going to court, and to enhance consumer protection laws such as the FDCPA.

I finally created my GoFundMe page and I plan on some major updates for this website.

It’s up to YOU to make it happen.

Remove the lying lawyers’ tongues?

From a post in a soil health group:

I think we should have worldwide mass tongue removals of pathological liars.

Leave them their lives, don’t even remove them from office or function. Just remove their tongue.

The archetype “The Devil” or “Baal” is called the Lord of Lies for a reason. All power of intimidation comes from Lying. Weapons are only secondary, The Lie is primary.

Although there are other forms or tools used for Lying, truly the most effective way of lying (and causing the greatest psychological damage) is speech. Remove that power, and it is like clipping wings.

Also most of the power of a Lie comes from its quick, ad hoc, response (or failing that, its dragged out empty circular rhetoric). It catches people unawares and off guard.

The written word does not nearly have so much power. This is due to the time-delay because of the reading and the processing of the words in our brains. It is a personal process, and will allow our own thoughts greater control over what is being assimilated.

So the removal of tongues from the Liars will greatly help others see through the bullshit.

There’s a thought.  But I think the keyboard also needs to be taken away. 

It is true that the written word does not have that much power because you have time to consider a response, if it’s possible to respond.

And that’s the reason why I never want to argue with lawyers in court — where I don’t have any time at all to think about how to prove that they’re lying. And often there are so many lies, you just don’t have time to address them all.

Midland Funding demands protective order prior to providing ANY docs

Midland and MCM didn’t provide a single document in response to my discovery requests.  Last week I asked that they provide me with their portion for a joint motion regarding this discovery dispute.  Instead, they sent me this bizarre protective order:

7-11-14–Proposed-Stipulated-Protective-Order.pdf

7-11-14–Proposed-Protective-Order-Exhibit A.pdf

I emailed to her yesterday:

The Proposed Protective Order states:

“…. in order to facilitate the exchange of information and documents which may be subject to confidentiality limitations on disclosure due to federal laws, state laws, and privacy rights, the Parties stipulate to the following Stipulated Protective Order: ”

I am perfectly capable of protecting my private data such as my social security number and other personal information and if I wish to publish it, that’s my right.  I trust that you will comply with state and federal laws and that you and your clients will refrain from publishing my personal data without a protective order.  Since I did not ask for any personal and private data from your clients, the Order is simply not necessary.

As you already know, this case will be used to document that consumer laws such as the FDCPA and the FCRA need significant enhancements and I am preparing a website for regulators, legislators and consumer activists so they can see for themselves what happens when a consumer who can’t afford to pay an attorney sues a debt buyer like Midland for correct credit reporting.

And lastly, the Proposed Protective Order is completely unclear on the procedures.  Am I supposed to fly around the country to “inspect” documents?

Please immediately provide ALL documents requested and if you feel that any document contains your clients’ “private” data, identify each document and state exactly which information you consider private.

Sincerely,

Christine Baker

Attorney Gabriel’s response today:

Dear Ms. Baker:

Please clarify your statements below and explain precisely which terms in the draft Stipulated Protective Order are unclear to you.

With respect to your bolded request below, we are not required to list in advance which documents we consider confidential.  This is the purpose for the Protective Order.  As previously explained, we will supplement discovery responses and exchange documents with you once a Protective Order is in place.

If you do not want to agree to a Stipulated Protective Order, please let us know and we will proceed with our Motion for Protective Order.

Thank you,

Tamar Gabriel, Esq.
Carlson & Messer LLP

My reply:

Ms. Gabriel,
Did I not write in English?
What is it you don’t understand?
Do you EVER actually answer a question?

Christine Baker

The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that the more obnoxious they are, the more likely it is that legislators will significantly enhance the FDCPA and FCRA.

Midland and Equifax settlement conference rescheduled

It was a nightmare last week leading up to the settlement conference scheduled for 7/7.

I would have NEVER agreed to a settlement conference had I known that the defendants would appear by telephone, see my post Settlement discussions with Midland Funding and MCM.

I had been out all day when I got the judge’s order granting Midland’s motion to appear telephonically despite my opposition and I ended up working on my motion to reschedule the hearing to August till 3:30 AM.  In the alternative, I requested permission to appear telephonically.   Why the hell should *** I *** have to incur the costs and waste MY time to have to travel to Phoenix?  After all, I filed the lawsuit in Kingman and Midland had it removed to federal court.

Out of nowhere, Equifax had also filed a motion to appear telephonically. Apparently it was just served by the US Marshals Services on 6/26.

Fortunately, the hearing was rescheduled to 8/19 on the Wednesday before the 4th of July, but I have to drive to Phoenix to attend.  Then Equifax wanted to move the hearing to 8/18 due to their attorney’s travel schedule.   I offered to go on the 18th which requires an extra day car rental if Equifax pays for my extra costs, but they advised that they would not reimburse my additional expenses.  So it’s 8/19 and both Equifax and Midland will appear by phone.  Considering how sick and tired I am of those lying lawyers, settlement is extremely unlikely.

I have to say that it is extraordinary how the lawyers are deliberately offending me, lying to me and being at their absolute worst.  Obviously, they get paid much more if we don’t settle and they managed to piss me off tremendously in those weeks leading up to the settlement conference.  Great job!

There is the option to cancel the conference if we feel that it will not be productive and I’ll probably do that.

My next post will be about Midland’s refusal to provide ANY documents requested through discovery unless I sign a confidentiality order.

Basic income – Grundeinkommen

An excellent article on “basic income”, also discussed in Germany as “Grundeinkommen”:

7-6-14--basic-income

We know it works great in Alaska and of course the “world’s greatest countries” such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc.  They actually give some of the money from natural resources to their citizens.

In the US (except for Alaska), our assets including OUR resources such as oil and minerals are being funneled to the CORPORATIONS.

In case you’re wondering why I’m posting on this subject at a website about credit litigation …

If we had a basic income of $1,000/month, MANY people could take time to fight predatory lending practices, lying lawyers and court rules and policies designed to make it IMPOSSIBLE for a consumer to actually “win.”  Having worked with home buyers and clients who needed to improve their credit rating for almost 25 years, I know that most people just don’t have the TIME to fight abusive creditors, debt buyers and their henchmen.

Back in the 70s I was sure that the 20-hour week was only 20 years away.  But something happened just around the time Reagan was elected and instead of working fewer hours, we worked MORE hours to be able to survive.

And it doesn’t matter who was president since, the working people got to work harder and longer with few benefits while the rich got richer.

Obama threw us a bone with Obama Care.  For me it’s a blessing because I actually got free health insurance now.  Midland Funding’s henchmen argue that I don’t have any damages for emotional distress because I couldn’t afford to see a doctor.

Debt buyers claim that unless you are rich, you cannot be damaged!

I made the decision to drop out of this corrupt system many years ago and I moved to the desert in 2001.  I have friends and clients who support me and I was able to put up a fight.   If we had a basic income, I would have been able to publicize my litigation against Capital One (they sued me 3 times and finally gave up) and debt buyers Acarta and Midland and I would have had the time to contact regulators and legislators. MANY people could afford to FIGHT BACK against these vultures if they weren’t struggling to get by.

I doubt we’ll see basic income any time soon as the corporations know exactly how far they can push the people and they make sure that most people will have a place to live and food on the table — crappy GMO food that makes people sick and that of course results in even greater profits for the pharmaceuticals.

Most people are so busy working and watching TV, they don’t have the slightest clue what’s going on. For a lot more info basic income and many reference links please read:

Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income?

Settlement discussions with Midland Funding and MCM

This is a DRAFT to be updated with edits and links to documents

The conference is set for 7/7/14 and on 6/12/14, over a month after the settlement order was issued, Midland and MCM attorney David Kaminski left a VM for me and I returned his call a few hours later.  He inquired about my claims and tried to appear to have a sincere interest in the credit reporting issues.  I explained the incorrect balances and date of last activity for one of the two accounts.

Attorney Kaminski informed me that they were filing a motion to appear telephonically at the settlement hearing and he claimed that they had agreed to my requests for extensions (a blatant lie).  He also stated that the reason for my request for an extension, having to attend to our small organic farm and plant, was not good cause.  What a @#$$#@!

My first reaction to their motion for telephonic appearance was:

“Why should *** I *** drive 250 miles to Phoenix?

He suggested a joint motion for me and Midland to appear telephonically and I agreed to it.

We got off the phone, I checked my email and they had already filed their motion — without any mention of MY telephonic appearance.

I realized that a telephonic settlement conference would most likely NOT result in a settlement and only waste the court’s time.   They sent me the draft of a revised motion, but I decided not to sign it, especially because I actually went through the emails with former Midland attorney Andrew Campbell and it’s just so typical for lawyers to claim that they agreed to my requests for extensions when they did not.

So I was thoroughly pissed off.  I truly hate being lied to and I especially hate being lied to by lawyers.  You can tell me a million times that I have to expect attorneys to be scum sucking bottom feeding liars, but I’ll never get used to it and it will always make me angry. I also have to say that I have dealt with a few (not many) lawyers that actually were quite nice, not the typical debt collection lawyers, and guess what …  their clients got settlements.

Instead of signing their joint motion for telephonic appearance, I filed my opposition on 6/25/14, the deadline provided by the settlement judge.

On Friday 6/27/14 attorney Tamar Gabriel called me to inquire about my credit reporting claims (incredibly, they refuse to read my court filings and they don’t talk to each other) and I once again explained everything.   I feel like the village idiot, being conned into wasting my time and AGAIN explaining the incorrect balances and the incorrect date of last activity.   Ms. Gabriel stated that her clients’ position is that they are reporting correct information.   Of course that made me angry again.   Not only did I waste my time explaining the credit reporting AGAIN, but to add insult to injury, they DENY that the obviously incorrect credit reporting is incorrect.  “The sky is green.”

What a bunch of @#$#@$#@!!.

Attorney Gabriel also inquired about a new settlement offer.  I had asked for only $25k (two years of litigation and they STILL don’t correct the credit reporting!).  They had submitted a $1,501 offer of judgment for ALL claims, including the FDCPA claims that were dismissed because MIdland’s filing of the lawsuit for a time barred debt was the last opportunity to comply with the FDCPA (Naas).  Essentially this means that after the filing of a lawsuit that violated the FDCPA ANYONE can do WHATEVER they want to the consumer without any FDCPA liability whatsoever and forever.  Of course I will appeal and I give it 99% that I’ll prevail.

So I countered the Midland offer with $20k for the FCRA claims and attorney Gabriel didn’t seem to like that.  They filed their reply in support of their motion for telephonic appearance and FALSELY claimed that they had discussed their 6/12 motion with me prior to the filing.  In fact, they discussed the motion WHILE they were filing and that’s important because they were responding to my argument that they filed their motion untimely, over a month after the settlement order and long after I had made arrangements to be in Phoenix on 7/7.

Since Midland apparently also claims that Equifax did not properly provide my disputes (in addition to claiming that the reported data is accurate), we all agreed that the settlement conference should be rescheduled and held after Equifax appeared.  So I expect the court to reschedule rather than to waste its time on the settlement conference.

We really need new laws with MINIMUM statutory damages for lies and misrepresentations in litigation with unrepresented consumer litigants.  And of course we need laws making it very clear that while pro se litigants are NOT entitled to attorneys fees, they ARE entitled to damage awards for the time wasted due to litigation.

At this point, it is practically IMPOSSIBLE for a consumer to “win” a lawsuit for violations of consumer protection laws because it will cost consumers MUCH more than they’ll ever get in a settlement or judgment.

How many THOUSANDS of judgments for TIME BARRED DEBTS or debts without legally admissibly documentation has Midland Funding obtained because the alleged debtors couldn’t find a lawyer to represent them on contingency, they could not afford to pay an attorney and they didn’t afford to take the time to learn how to fight these vultures?

Settlement conference with Midland Funding and MCM scheduled for July 7

We all agreed to a settlement conference with a magistrate judge at the 2nd case management hearing.   So last Thursday attorney David Kaminski with Carlson & Messer LLP in LA called me to inform me that they wanted to appear by telephone.   My first reaction was that I sure don’t need to drive to Phoenix if they won’t go.

We talked for a while, attorney Kaminski was not at all familiar with the case, he really had no clue whatsoever about my FCRA claims and I tried to explain a few things to him.  And I agreed to a joint motion for all parties to appear by telephone.

When I checked my email after we got off the phone, they had already filed their motion and after I read it, I realized that I have to attend the settlement conference in person.   From their motion:

… Midland denies Plaintiff’s allegations. Midland reported accurate information regarding Plaintiff’s debt. As such, Midland is not liable to Plaintiff for damages under the FCRA.

What a bunch of MORONS!

It has LONG been established that Midland and MCM reported FALSE information to the credit bureaus and just a few weeks ago they VERIFIED the false information with Equifax according to the Equifax investigation results.

The million dollar question:

Why on earth would they agree to the settlement conference if they are not liable?  After all, Midland and MCM have been litigating against me for years and they never once made any settlement offer whatsoever.

WHY did they agree to the settlement conference?

From their motion:

Midland respectfully contends that the costs of a personal appearance by its settlement representative and its counsel at the MSC are significant and thereby not conducive to settlement negotiations. Furthermore, the MSC will not be hindered if Midland’s settlement representative attends by telephone because Midland can still meaningfully participate telephonically and has done so in MSCs in the past. …

Due to the claims in their motion and attorney Kaminski’s lies during our phone conversations (he claimed that they had agreed to my requests for extensions which is completely false), I decided to attend the settlement conference in person.  If I’m on the phone, I won’t have a chance to properly respond to their lies.

I’ve attended settlement conferences before and I found magistrate judges to be quite competent and settlements are much more likely if the parties appear in person.  One time the conference lasted over 7 hours, but we did settle.

So here is my email to attorney Tamar Gabriel who emailed the joint request for telephonic appearance on Friday:Continue Reading

Ordering the COMPLETE Experian report and canceling the Experian $1 trial

I just ordered the $1 Experian trial because I’m working on a Midland motion and I was wondering what they’re reporting to Experian.  I’ll elaborate on Midland and I’ll post a screenshot of the reporting later, hopefully by tomorrow.

You can’t cancel the $1 Experian trial online:

How do I cancel my membership?

To cancel, please contact Customer Care at 1-888-829-6560.

I called, selected option 1 and it did not take long until I got to speak to a polite foreigner.   In response to her “how are you doing today” I told her that I was fine, but very busy and just wanted to cancel. She went through the identity verification and asked whether my credit report was accurate.  I told her that I didn’t know yet because I was too busy to review it and just wanted to cancel before I forgot.

Canceling was fairly easy, considering the hard sell I usually get when canceling any service.  I’ll still have access until the 21st, but don’t need it because now I have a report # that will give me free access for a few months.

4-14-14--Experian-$1-subscription
Click for larger image

 

ALWAYS make sure you PRETEND to want to dispute something so that you get the COMPLETE report. 

Click on “Initiate Online Dispute” and you’ll have to enter your personal info again and pass another security quiz, but it’s well worth the effort because you get more info and the report # for future free reports.

Once you’re on the dispute page PRINT the full report and SAVE it with the report date for your records.

Do NOT order their tri-merged report because it is missing MUCH info (order from the other bureaus directly, preferably get your free annual report) and of course do NOT use the Experian “credit adviser” unless you’re ready to commit credit suicide.

Fair Isaac considers incorporating social media into FICO scores

From the Wall Street Journal article Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles:

… Lending companies—some of which are backed with venture funding from Google Ventures, the venture-capital arm of Google Inc., and Accel Partners, an early Facebook Inc. investor—are looking at potential problems such as whether applicants put the same job information on their loan application as they posted on LinkedIn, or if they shared on Facebook that they had been let go by an employer. A small business that draws negative reviews on eBay also could undermine its chances of getting more credit, lending companies say.

The practice is being used largely by startups that grant smaller loans, but the concept seems likely to spread. Fair Isaac Corp., which provides the credit scoring used in more than 90% of lenders decisions, says it is weighing possibilities for incorporating social media.

“There could come a time where certain social media could be predictive and we’re looking at that, but it isn’t yet,” said Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer-credit specialist at FICO. ….

It makes sense to analyze online customer reviews, BBB ratings, etc. when underwriting a BUSINESS loan.  However, using ANY data on the web to determine a human being’s credit worthiness is just appalling.

I have a HUGE dislike for “social media” because not just because it is a giant waste of time, but it is so annoying to have to read what people post on Facebook (a giant marketing operation).  Not to mention having to decide whether you want to approve some stranger’s “friend” request.

I love the internet and I have learned SO much.  There’s no way that I’d be growing organic veggies in the desert while building an adobe living room / greenhouse with very little cash if I didn’t have access to so much free info.  Of course it takes time to research and to validate that the info is correct because, guess what — not everything you read on the web is true!

How do the lenders currently using social media notify consumers that they took “adverse action”

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, creditors have to  disclose to you any adverse action (decline, higher interest rate / fees, lower credit limit) due to your credit report. There are NO regulations regarding information obtained on the internet. Maybe one day you’ll get this disclosure:

Your application was declined because you don’t have enough local Facebook friends.

Underwriting at an all new low.

What happened to stable employment and paying your bills on time?

What happened to having to IGNORE an applicant’s religion, sexual preference, color, race, etc.?

As I have documented for many years, credit scoring is nothing but a huge fraud, deliberately designed to justify the bankers’ desire to charge higher interest rates and fees for lower limits based on FALSE data.

When I notified Fair Isaac in 2007 that they are CREATING completely fictitious late payments for Equifax FICO scores they ignored me and did NOTHING to fix their software. In 2013 I again documented that myFICO still creates entirely fictitious late payments on Equifax reports.

It is incredibly easy to manipulate FICO scores, but often IMPOSSIBLE to get FICO scores based on accurate data.  It is also very easy to set up fake social media accounts.  You can set up 50 Facebook accounts and create the APPEARANCE of being the perfect borrower – posting as your friend, co-worker, boss, relative …  I also know that it can be impossible to remove false info from the web.

The internet turns into a credit report.

Your internet activities and what other anonymous people post about you determines whether you get approved or declined.  The internet turns into a credit report without ANY way to dispute incorrect data.  And even if you could dispute, why should you have to waste your precious time on this BS?

I have no desire to participate in this charade.  I realize that one day I may have to apply for credit again, but I sure hope I don’t have to play that game.

Lending Tree mortgage and home improvement SPAM

I get hundreds of emails every day and most of them are SPAM.  Lately I’ve been getting a lot of spam for home improvements such as window replacements.  So I recently started to opt out of marketing lists.

Under the advertisement in the SPAM with the subject “Find Licensed and Certified Window Installation Pros In Your Area” they state:

This is a commercial message and may be recurring.

Done Right! A service of LendingTree, LLC. LendingTree, LLC is known as LT Technologies in Lieu of true name LendingTree, LLC in New York.
For a current list of applicable state licensing & disclosures, see the LendingTree website or call for details – NMLS #1136.
Done Right! – 11115 Rushmore Drive, Charlotte, NC 28277
Guaranteed – Home Pros displaying the Done Right! Guarantee logo are backed with a $10,000 money-back guarantee
If you would like to unsubscribe, read our Privacy Policy or Terms of Use, please see the following:
Unsubscribe | licensing & disclosures | Privacy Policy | User Agreement

I clicked to unsubscribe and unlike “good” mailing lists, they don’t automatically insert the spammed e-mail address:

Unsubscribe from Done Right!

We hate to see you leave! You’ll miss out on information and special offers from local home improvement professionals. Done Right! is providing you a trusted, free, and easy way to find home improvement professionals in your area.
Though, if you no longer wish to receive information from Done Right!, please enter your email address below. Your email will be added to our unsubscribe list within 10 business days.

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I hate Lending Tree with a passion because just like LowerYourBills.com, they primarily get mortgage leads through false promises and misrepresentations.

I looked up Lending Tree to find their phone number:Continue Reading