Fighting credit bureaus, creditors and debt buyers

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.

[form field to type your email address]

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

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

Equifax blatant LIES to the CFPB

I KNEW they would lie and that’s why I did not attach the saved Equifax security questions when I initially submitted my complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after Equifax refused to provide my free annual report and refused to allow me to dispute online.  Give a credit bureau rope and they will hang themselves!

Here is the Equifax response to my CFPB complaint:

Company responded
Equifax said:
Explanation of closure

As required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equifax must obtain proper identification from a consumer before disclosing any information regarding his/her credit file. This is a security measure to protect the confidentiality of the consumer’s credit file information. The security questions presented to the consumer via the online system are in place to ensure the correct person is requesting the credit file. Each question is designed for the consumer to provide a response either verifying information or answering the appropriate response not applicable if the information does not pertain. If the questions are not answered appropriately the consumer will fail the authentication process and will not receive the credit file online. If you want a copy mailed to your home address please call 888-215-3859.


*Equifax has reviewed the complaint and its records. *Equifax did not receive any additional communications from the consumer during the review of the complaint. *No follow up actions are required in further response to the complaint.

I don’t know why it says “explanation of closure” and here is my response:

1) Equifax LIED to the CFPB.  I answered the security questions CORRECTLY.
Attached are the two pages with the security questions as submitted to Equifax.

Please do whatever it takes to make Equifax comply with the law.  Equifax MUST provide the free annual credit reports and accept disputes.  Equifax routinely refuses the free annual reports because it is much more profitable to make consumers PAY.

2) Equifax completely IGNORED the fact that I don’t want my credit reports snail mailed because I don’t want to be subjected to identity theft.

3) I hope that the CFPB will not tolerate Equifax’s blatant lies.

4)  Don’t you think that I deserve COMPENSATION for having to waste my time on this?

Equifax FAILED to make ANY attempt to provide me with my credit report. I also feel that Equifax should have to pay a penalty to the CFPB for failing to comply with the law and then LYING about it. Until Equifax has to PAY for its blatant misrepresentations and violations of consumer protection laws it will continue to PROFIT from making consumers PAY for credit reports it is legally required to provide free of charge. The thugs who run Equifax know that most consumers will rather pay for the reports than suffer through dealing with the Equifax automated phone system and having to wait weeks for the report while subjecting themselves to identity theft.


Christine Baker

[Attached are the two pdfs with the CORRECTLY answered security questions.]

I don’t know whether there will ever be a review of this complaint by a real person at the CFPB.  I will update.

Did you know that most identity theft  is committed by friends and family?

I’m talking about people using your info to apply for loans, rent cars and get utilities in your name — NOT the unauthorized use of a credit card due to hackers getting your card info from a merchant (VERY easy to fix by disputing the charges with the issuing bank.)

Family, friends and roommates have easy access to all your info. I worked with mortgage and credit clients for 25 years and most ID theft was committed by people they knew.   However, due to this personal relationship with the perps fewer than 10% were reported to law enforcement.  While it truly sucks when someone continually misuses your info, few people want to risk physical confrontations.  And who really wants to send their Mom to jail?

Receiving credit reports by snail mail substantially increases your risk of “real” ID theft as the credit reports include lots of personal info such as previous addresses, jobs, etc.

My CFPB complaint about the Equifax refusal to provide my free annual report

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time, but the litigation against Midland Funding, Midland Credit Management and its attorneys has taken up an enormous amount of my time.  Today I’ve been working on my reply in support of my motion to amend my complaint to add violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and to join Equifax as it verified incorrect data for the Midland accounts in response to my disputes.

In July and September I disputed the Midland accounts online at the Equifax site.   Today I wanted to see whether they finally corrected the reporting and I wanted to dispute again if they did not correct, but Equifax would not allow me to review or dispute the accounts:


I can’t wait to see what information supposedly did not match their records.

Here is my complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Continue Reading

The new CreditSuit litigation forum

As I’m preparing for extensive battles with Midland Funding, MCM and their attorneys Bursey & Associates and there’s the possibility of another appeal in the Acarta suit, I finally made the time to set up the new litigation forum.

Today I researched the electronic filing rules in Arizona federal court because I had to file a motion for an extension of time to serve the Bursey employees. It’s been several years since I filed in federal court and the system sure changed.  So I started by posting the regs for proposed orders and courtesy copies to the judge.

I’ll be posting case law and my research and I hope the information will help many others prevail against creditors and debt buyers in court.

Encore (Midland Funding) now nation’s largest debt buyer

From the NCLC eReportsFast Facts on the Debt Buyer Industry:”

Encore Capital, that often operates under the name Midland, is becoming the dominant actor in the field. Even before it purchased Asset Acceptance, the sixth largest debt buyer, it had purchased far more debt in 2012 than any other company — over $18 billion, or 58% more than it did in 2011.

This explains why they do whatever they like and get away with it and it makes me not want to settle my claims against Midland Funding, Midland Credit Management and their attorneys Bursey & Associates.  I’ll be looking up lawsuits against them in AZ

Also from the NCLC eReport:

Sherman Financial Group, which used to be number one, fell to number two and purchased only $11 billion in debt in 2012, down 40% from 2011.

Other top debt buying companies that purchased over $1 billion in debt include Portfolio Recovery, Square Two Financial, Ophrys, Unifund, and Fourscore.

Sherman Financial Group is the infamous LVNV and you may get collection letters from Resurgent Capital Services (Sherman owned) or their other collectors and when my clients disputed with one LVNV collector, they simply assigned the accounts to another collector and they never provided substantive responses to the disputes.  Very frustrating.

Debt purchased directly from credit card companies dropped industry-wide in 2012 by over 30%, but purchases of all other debt increased almost 50%, so that total debt purchases fell only about 13%. At the same time that credit card issuers began to shy away from selling their debt, debt buyers found other forms of debt to purchase and also purchased more debt from each other.

A number of debt buyers exited the industry in 2012, including B-Line, NCO, Arrow Financial, West Corp., and Zenith. Presumably these companies sold their debt to other debt buyers before exiting the industry.

I wonder WHY credit card issuers shy away from selling their debt.  They get a bad reputation due to the collectors’ misconduct?  They don’t want to be subpoenaed for records and testimony when debt buyers sue?

As I recall, Chase bought NCO, but I didn’t know that Arrow quit buying debts.

NCLC is the National Consumer Law Center and if you’re serious about credit reporting or debt collection litigation, their manuals are MUST haves.   I have their FDCPA book and it comes with a free subscription to the NCLC eReports. The NCLC does great work defending consumer rights.

MUST READ if you are sued for a Chase account

The OCC press release regarding the  consent agreement with Chase about their collection & litigation practices and failure to comply with the SCRA.
September 19, 2013
Contact: Bryan Hubbard
(202) 649-6870

WASHINGTON – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today announced an enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Columbus, Ohio, JPMorgan Bank and Trust Company, N.A., San Francisco, California, and Chase Bank USA, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware (collectively, the bank), for unsafe or unsound practices in connection with the bank’s non-home loan debt collection litigation practices and the bank’s non-home loan compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

The enforcement action requires the bank to provide remediation to affected consumers and to correct deficiencies in the bank’s practices and procedures related to the preparation and notarization of affidavits and other sworn documents used in the bank’s debt collection litigation and its SCRA compliance program.  The OCC’s action also directs the bank to improve its debt collection litigation policies, procedures and practices to ensure that affidavits and other sworn documents used in connection with non-home loan debt collection litigation are accurate, based on the personal knowledge of the bank employee signing the documents, or other applicable standard, and are notarized in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.

With respect to its SCRA compliance program, the OCC requires the bank to improve its policies and procedures for determining whether servicemembers are eligible for requested SCRA-related benefits, ensuring that the SCRA benefits are calculated correctly, and verifying the military status of servicemembers prior to seeking or obtaining default judgments on non-home loans.

The OCC’s action also directs the bank to conduct a review of all non-home lending debt collection litigation at the bank from January 1, 2009 until present, and all non-home lending SCRA accounts at the bank from January 2005 until present, to identify consumers eligible for remediation as a result of the deficiencies and unsafe or unsound practices cited by the OCC.  The bank must submit a plan to the OCC detailing how remediation will be made to affected consumers.  OCC national bank examiners will monitor compliance with this order and the remediation required to be provided by the bank.

The 58-page consent order and stipulation to consent.

In a few weeks we have oral arguments re. standing, admissibility of evidence, joinder of debt buyer Acarta’s attorneys, amendment of my counterclaims and my cross-motion for summary judgment (SOL) in superior court.  If we actually get to trial, I’ll submit this consent order to show that Acarta can’t possibly rely on documentation from Chase.  Acarta didn’t even submit a Chase affidavit and relies only on “facsimiles” of monthly statements and a redacted spreadsheet to establish what I allegedly owe.

Debt buyers like Acarta must be ORDERED to vacate Chase credit card judgments and cease all litigation

The OCC ordered Chase to refund over $300 million to credit card holders who signed up for “fraud protection”.

It goes on and on … and nobody goes to jail!  

I am SO sick and tired of criminal bankers being “punished” by having to refund.  The big corporations defraud the working stiffs with impunity.

I just drafted a CFPB complaint for a client about the Equifax, Experian and CHASE incorrect credit reporting (and a number of other issues) and I will post a lot more about that here next week.  This weekend I have to finish my reply to the Acarta response to my motion for summary judgment (I’ll post the most recent filings ASAP) regarding the expired statue of limitation of an old CHASE charged off credit card.

Next I’ll file my CFPB complaint about the many suits by debt buyers such as Acarta for charged off Chase accounts.

It’s more bad news for JPMorgan Chase.

… The OCC also reprimanded the bank for allegedly using faulty documentation in consumer debt collection cases, and for failing to ensure compliance with federally mandated credit protections for military members.

The alleged conduct is similar to that revealed among the nation’s largest lenders in the robo-signing scandal that followed the housing crisis. JPMorgan was ordered to identify and compensate the affected consumers.

The OCC did not fine JPMorgan over its collection practices. California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit against the bank over similar issues in May.

The bank said it had stopped filing credit card collection lawsuits in 2011 and had dismissed the lawsuits in question. …

While Chase stopped filing lawsuits in 2010, it SOLD many accounts to debt buyers who DID file suits.  The AZ court of appeals already ruled that the Card Member Agreement presented by Acarta was not admissible.

It is totally ridiculous to allow a DEBT BUYER to sue for accounts that the original creditor decided NOT to pursue in court because of faulty documentation.

The CFPB needs to put a stop to that practice and order REFUNDS and PUNITIVE DAMAGES.

After all, it is EXTREMELY stressful to be sued.

Not to mention that consumers had their credit ruined by these new judgments and they may have lost job and housing opportunities.

In my case with Acarta, it and its attorneys were FULLY aware of the Chase issues as I included several articles with my motions and appeal brief over a year ago.  Yet, they CONTINUE to pursue me in court and I will take this case wherever it needs to go.  I already prevailed on appeal once and I’m ready to take this to the AZ supreme court if necessary.

Acarta and its attorneys stole 2 years of my life and they will be PUNISHED.

I’ve been meaning to post about our “settlement” talks, hopefully that will be my next post.  I asked for $50,000 at our meeting the morning after Labor Day.   I’d rather take NOTHING than accept a couple thousand.

The American legal system is of course seriously flawed and that pro se litigants can’t get attorneys fees is one of several reasons why consumers can’t stand up to scummy debt buyers.  My roommate decided to move out last year because just as I thought I was done for a while with the legal crap after I submitted my Acarta reply brief to the court of appeals, I got served by Midland Funding.   You can not imagine how many nights I spent researching and writing motions and I was not good company.

If I had more time and money, I’d not only contact regulators and legislators, but I’d also notify the apparently hundreds or even thousands of consumers who were sued by Acarta for Chase accounts.  I haven’t checked the actual court records yet, but apparently Acarta filed numerous judgments in my court and I’ll have to check them out.

It’s truly incredible that our regulators go after Chase, but they let debt buyers get away with these lawsuits and I will make an effort to get Arizona and federal regulators to address these issues.

Case management hearing re. Midland Funding and Bursey & Associates

This afternoon we had the case management hearing and fortunately judge Campbell in Phoenix federal court allowed me to attend by phone as I live about 250 miles from Phoenix.

Judge Campbell had denied my motion for permission to file electronically and in our case management report I wrote: Continue Reading

Missouri court of appeals rules that debt buyer violated FDCPA by filing lawsuit without sufficient documentation

Another GREAT appeals court ruling.  From the NCLC news:

Debt Buyer’s Unsubstantiated Collection Action Violates the FDCPA

by Jon Sheldon
NCLC eReports, August 2013, No. 9
Debt Collection

Royal Financial Group, LLC v. Perkins, 2013 WL 449343 (Mo. Ct. App. Aug. 20, 2013), finds various aspects of a debt buyer’s collection lawsuit to be Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations. The only information the debt buyer had was the consumer’s name, an account number, the name Chase Manhattan Bank, and a dollar amount. The debt buyer also had a boilerplate credit card agreement with no indication of a link to the consumer.

I think this article requires a NCLC subscription and if you are involved in pro se FDCPA litigation, the NCLC FDCPA book is MUST HAVE and it comes with a subscription to the NCLC e-reports.

The appeals court’s ruling.

I will get the filings from this appeals court decision and I will post them in the soon to be opened pro se credit litigation forum.

The fact pattern mirrors the Midland Funding lawsuit against me (dismissed for expired SOL) and I’m now in federal court after I sued Midland and Bursey & Associates for FDCPA violations. Much more on that soon.