Post Number: 385
|Posted on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 01:28 am: ||
In the late 80s I became a real estate agent specializing in first-time buyer representation. In 92 I got my real estate broker license and I was also brokering mortgages. In 1994, as minimum Fair Isaac credit scores became mandatory for FNMA, FHLMC and jumbo loans, my clients were no longer able to obtain financing.
We got decline after decline due to the credit scores, even though some of my clients had worked on paying off those old charge-offs and collections for literally over a year. On the high priced San Francisco Peninsula, FHA and VA loans were not an option due to the low loan limits.
In 1995 I quit the real estate and loan business, and while there were other contributing factors, the credit score requirements were a major reason. I refused to force my clients into high rate B and C rated mortgages.
In 1996 I declared bankruptcy and discharged all my credit card debts. Of course I knew how important it was to maintain impeccable payment history especially with the bankruptcy.
I almost lost my home to Home Savings (now Washington Mutual) as they were foreclosing even though I had made every single payment by the end of the grace period. I paid someone to deal with those morons at Home Savings, and over $2,000 later Home Savings wrote a check for those expenses.
On 11/1/1996 Bank of America had processed my check for my Pacific Bell phone bill, and according to the cancelled check, the $127.36 were deposited into Pacific Bell's account.
However, I never got credit for this payment. I called and faxed, I was ASSURED they would research. When I finally terminated my phone service with Pacific Bell in December 1997 as I moved out and rented the house, I still didn't have the credit. For a year I had been charged late fees.
Then the collection letters from Bay Area Credit Service in San Jose, Cal arrived. Again I called in and faxed my disputes, I faxed and mailed certified the cancelled check. The result was more collection letters, and on the phone they told me that my cancelled check wasn't good enough. I requested they notify me in writing, but they didn't.
In June of 1998 I finally drove to their office. Riley Goodhart looked up the cancelled check in my file and told me that it wasn't good enough.
I requested his written statement, and he refused. I told him I wouldn't leave until I had his written statement. He pointed a chair and told me I could sit there all day. To make a long story short, I almost got arrested. The police report should be available from the SJPD.
Needing some time to think and to consider my options, I drove to Long Beach, WA for the 4th of July. I knew that there was no use in trying to refinance my $290K mortgage, moving back in my house was not an option.
No lender would refinance my house with a lower rate. There I was, 2 years after the discharge, I had jumped through hoops to maintain my excellent credit rating, always paid my mortgage, student loan and Sears card, I didn't have a single late payment, I had re-established credit with two new credit cards, but there was this brand new collection. My credit was destroyed.
I considered everything from suicide to murdering all those bastards, the collectors and politicians who allow this to happen. Having spent so much time on the Transamerica case, I knew that it wasn't just my bad luck.
And then a strange thing happened. The beach was deserted, it was very windy. My dog went for a run in the water and we headed back for the campground across the dunes. A guy was walking towards Long Beach and I decided to ask him whether he knew when and where the fireworks were going to happen.
He didn't know, but I ended up inviting him to the campground as my guest, he lived in his van. He was from NY or NJ, and he had spent several summers working in Alaska. He told me how he just wasn't into material things, he was content living a humble life. A real cool guy, I haven't met anyone like him since. If I hadn't recently found some pictures, I'd say he didn't exist.
So I let everybody live, I decided to sell my house and travel.
I had NO idea that I could have sued for FDCPA violations. I didn't even know that the FDCPA existed. While the collection letter advised me of my right to dispute, and I DID dispute, it obviously didn't do me any good.
Why doesn't the law require collection letters to include an URL to a plain English web site about the FDCPA? Why not tell consumers what their rights ARE?
After I sold the house in late 1998, I went to AZ to buy a camper. I had many thousands at Union Bank of California, but when I tried to open a checking account at Bank One in Cottonwood I was declined. I had to drive back to San Francisco to find out that Home Savings made another error and report me to ChexSystems for a debt that didn't exist, I didn't write any bad checks. It was 1/99 by the time I finally got to buy my truck and camper.
I also had paid off my Orchard credit card (now Household) as soon as I got the check for the house. Several times I had notified them of my new address, I put the "x" in the checkbox on their payment coupon, still have the photo copy. In spring 1999 I visited friends in Santa Fe, got my mail forwarded, and found out about the very DELINQUENT Orchard Bank account. They had billed the annual fee, I didn't get the bill, and of course you can't pay what you don't know you owe. After over an hour on the phone from my friends' house, and speaking to numerous supervisors, they assured me that no delinquencies would be reported and they waived some late fees.
In early August of 2000 my truck's engine died near Calgary on my way to Alaska. A new diesel engine was $6k, I decided to buy a new truck instead. I got all the cash advances I could from my credit cards and a relative who still owed me mailed a $4,000 check to my bank so I could continue my trip.
When I got to Alaska in late August and checked my account balance, there were less than $200 in my account. Netbank had returned the $4K check undeposited because it was a credit card cash advance check. Have you ever heard of something so crazy?
So I rented power and use of a phone line to try to figure out what to do and maybe get a title loan on the new truck. I ordered an online credit report and I was shocked to see the Orchard charge-off. I e-mailed Orchard and on 9/8/00 I got a letter from Terry Watson, Compliance Department Orchard Bank, apologizing and assuring me that the account would be deleted.
On 9/18/00 Equifax verified. Fortunately, my relative did whatever was necessary to get some cash in my account by late September, and I didn't have to spend the winter in Alaska in a camper.
On 5/9/01, Experian still reported the Orchard charge-off. On 6/12/01 I filed a small claims complaint against Household, apparently they purchased Orchard. They didn't answer the complaint, but my default judgment was dismissed because I mailed the summons certified, but not *restricted delivery.* In October 2001 I wrote a Planetfeedback.com letter, in response Mr. Watson apologized and he requested the legal documents. I faxed those with a request for an explanation on 10/29/01. I don't see anything else in my Orchard file and I don't remember what happened, if anything.
On 6/23/01 I ordered my online ConsumerInfo.com trimerged report because Experian did not provide online access to Arizona residents. Later it was mentioned at the BayHouse forum at http://www.bayhouse.com/credit-forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=322 that the inquiry appears to be a "hard," i.e. score lowering inquiry on the Equifax report. I wrote to Consumerinfo.com's Barbara Coursey in March 2002 about this problem. I didn't get a reply.
Trans Union lists the "FAC/Consumerinfo.com" inquiry with the "hard" inquiries and their attorney Amanda Lewis (in connection with my small claims suit) stated that ALL TU reports ordered by consumers from sources OTHER than TU are correctly reported to creditors and Fair Isaac.
Inquiries are a HUGE issue. Experian will NOT disclose which inquiries are promos - there is no way for a consumer to see whether someone obtained the Experian report without a permissible purpose.
Equifax routinely uses inquiry codes NOT explained on the report, leaving consumers to guess whether the inquiry lowers their scores.
I asked Experian's Carla Blair about inquiries during my 2002 small claims suit for COMPLETE reports, but she ignored all my faxes and lied to the mediator. I dismissed my suit.
In 2001 I also discovered that American Agencies and Professional Recovery were reporting the Pacific Bell collection. When Ms. Lewis investigated Professional Recovery, they VERIFIED the collection. As per TU's initial disclosure document TU00063:
"Creditor was informed by the client - Pacific Bell to transfer acct. to American Agencies. Creditor does not have a date of transfer."
I have NEVER seen a "transferred" collection on any report. My luck sure is unique. I then disputed with Professional Recovery, as I recall I promised a law suit, and they subsequently promised deletion. However, it wasn't until 4/16/02 when Ms. Lewis finally informed me that "It appears that Professional Recovery deleted the account from your file." So apparently Professional Recovery did NOT delete, but didn't respond to Ms. Lewis' 2nd investigation.
This is really important because
1) TU should have DELETED the collection when they were notified that the collection had been transferred and
2) Professional Recovery should have never reported a collection as "transferred."
American Agencies was reporting this collection to Experian and Equifax. The gruesome details about my MANY disputes and the subsequent small claims suit are at My American Agencies small claims suit They continued to report this collection even AFTER they were served and they ignored all my faxes as well as the mandatory mediation. They also were collecting without the bond as required in Arizona. I dismissed the small claims suit.
Pacific Bell was successful in having my small claims complaint dismissed for venue. And at no time did Pacific Bell apologize. They did however call me from I believe Texas in spring 2002 and told me that they no longer owned the account, they "sold" it to American Agencies. My request to get this in writing was declined.
Compass Bank declined my checking account application in 6/01, *maybe* due to my TU credit report. I don't write bad checks and I pay my bills, I was very concerned since Netbank was closing all commercial accounts and I needed a new business checking account by October. Since that Home Savings "error" in 98 I had opened several bank accounts without any problems.
Via e-mail, a Caroline Owens with Compass Bank promised a letter, but I never received a letter. My requests for an explanation were ignored. I finally sued, twice, in Kingman Kangaroo Court.
I accidentally filed a motion with the wrong case # and sent the correction to the court a few days later. Subsequently, Kangaroo Court Justice of the Peace John Taylor ordered me to pay Compass Bank's legal fees of $306, twice.
Why didn't I appeal? The deadline for appeal is 10 days from the date they MAILED the order. That's not a typo. 10 days from Kangaroo Court's mailing date, and I had NO idea that this decision was impending, as I had agreed to dismiss the case in my motion.
When I tried to pay the first judgment, I needed assistance from the Kingman police to get the Compass Bank lawyer Robert Brooks to accept my payment. Christmas Day I found the judgment on my Experian credit report. There was never a hearing for either case. That's justice in Arizona.
WHY is this adverse action letter so important?
Without a checking account people can't deposit a paycheck. They can't pay bills by check. The ability to open a checking account is MUCH more important than any credit. You can get a secured credit card anywhere. But you can NOT pay with a check without a checking account. It is practically impossible to prove payments if you don't have a cancelled check.
To date, I still don't know WHY Compass Bank declined my checking account application, why they didn't send the letter Caroline Owens promised, and why Compass Bank didn't provide me with an adverse action letter as required by the FCRA.
Strangely, Compass Bank DID open two checking accounts for me in 12/01 at their Kingman, AZ branch. All filings, documents and even pictures of the police event are posted at my Compass Bank small claims suits.
Providian also didn't send me the adverse action letter when they declined my PayPal credit card application. And they continue to report and VERIFY their re-aging of my bankruptcy: "Account History: Discharged Through BK Ch 7, 11, or 12 07/31/1996 to 07/31/2002" My bankruptcy was discharged in 1996, not 2002.
The major issue of my complaint is the conspiracy by the FTC, the credit bureaus, Fair Isaac and creditors such as Capital One. They dramatically lower credit scores by reporting revolving accounts without the credit limits and subsequently lowering the VERY important balance/limit ratio, and by lowering the the scores due to inquiries.
Because there are so many FCRA violations by the credit bureaus I'll have to list those separately, as well as the detailed documentation to prove once and for all that paying your bills on time has very little to do with low interest and insurance rates.
I'm looking for an injunction prohibiting the use of Fair Isaac's credit scoring fraudware.
Another important issue is the CRAs' refusal to provide me with my user changeable PIN.
Many thousands of banks and online services have no problem doing so. I'm not sure yet how to incorporate this into my complaint, "negligent enablement of identity theft" comes to mind.
A * PIN * - the SIMPLE solution to prevent identity theft and unauthorized inquiries
I'm also looking for a court order prohibiting the mailing of my credit reports as postal service mailings are NOT secure.
In recent months I received a phone bill and a Bank of America statement for people I do not know, the mailings were misdelivered into my PO box. Of course neither one of those mailings contained the person's social security number, DOB, physical address and listing of all credit card numbers - unlike my credit reports. I already requested that TU delete all my data, but so far they have been ignoring me.
While my suit may well be dismissed for technicalities or lack of funds and legal skills, the complaint WILL be filed. There WILL be a public record of my complaint, those who will be served will never be able to claim that they didn't know.
And while nobody may ever hold those thugs accountable, I do believe in Karma.
The damages suffered by the American worker make the Enron and Worldcom frauds dwarf.