Who We Are – Fair Credit Reporting Act Lawyers in Los Angeles
Alexander B. Trueblood is a Los Angeles, California, FCRA attorney who exclusively represents ordinary people against creditors and the major credit reporting agencies, for violations of the FCRA and the California Fair Credit Reporting Act. He is a long-standing member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and has been interviewed by the media on many occasions, including by Fox News, CBS News, NBC News, and the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Trueblood wrote the appellate brief in the landmark credit reporting case of Sanai v. Saltz, in which the California court of appeal reversed prior precedent and ruled that the California Fair Credit Reporting Act is not preempted by federal law. This decision re-opened the doors for California consumers to finally hold the credit reporting industry accountable for California FCRA violations, after decades of the law being almost a dead letter.
Mr. Trueblood is a highly experienced credit reporting lawyer in Los Angeles, and has been bringing Fair Credit Reporting Act and California FCRA cases for over 20 years. He is nationally known in the consumer bar, and also to the credit industry and its lawyers. The firm does not charge for a consultation and we take cases on a contingent fee, and any costs paid out of the recovery.
What We Do – The Fair Credit Reporting Act and California FCRA
The following are some of the typical credit reporting cases we handle, as Fair Credit Reporting Act and California FCRA attorneys.
Mistakenly Reported As Deceased
In this increasingly common situation, a creditor reports the consumer as deceased, or the Social Security Administration issues a false death report, the person’s credit score goes to zero, and they cannot obtain credit. Despite protestations that “I’m not dead yet,” as the Monty Python scene goes, the creditor continues to report the deceased indicator, and the credit reporting agencies don’t fix the deceased indicator. We have obtained large settlements for this very frustrating violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the California Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Reporting A Balance After Bankruptcy
The consumer files for bankruptcy, gets a bankruptcy discharge, and yet the credit report still shows a balance or charge-off. Or, the consumer files for bankruptcy, excludes certain accounts from the bankruptcy (typically vehicle loans) in order to maintain good credit, and the creditor still reports the excluded account as in bankruptcy.
Not My Account Or Identity Theft
An account that the consumer does not recognize appears on the credit report. This can occur when your credit reporting file is improperly merged with another person’s, often because the two people have similar names. In other cases, the unrecognized account is a result of identity theft. The California Fair Credit Reporting Act offers strong protection against identity theft and merged files, but you will probably need a credit reporting lawyer to get relief.
Double Credit Reporting
The original creditor reports a balance on one line of your credit report, and so does their third-party debt collector, as a separate account. It looks like you have two debts, but you only have one. It usually takes a Fair Credit Reporting act lawyer to resolve this problem.
Old and Stale Information
Generally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and California FCRA require that an ordinary credit account, collection account, or charge-off be deleted from your credit reports 7.5 years after the first delinquency. The rule is that the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian) can report for a maximum of seven years plus 180 days, measured from the date of delinquency. A bankruptcy cannot stay on your credit report for more than ten years.
Arrests and Convictions
If you were arrested and the charges were dismissed, the arrest is not allowed on your credit report or background check report. If you were convicted, the conviction cannot stay on your credit report for more than 7 years. Our Fair Credit Reporting Act attorneys in Los Angeles, CA can help in this situation.
Mistakes In Employment Background Checks
Mistakes on an employer background check can delay hiring or even cost a person their job. The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that background check companies use reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy and eliminate inaccurate background information. Prospective employers must also provide you with an opportunity to dispute a background check report. If you know that a prospective employer obtained a background check that was inaccurate or misleading, give us a call for a free consultation about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and learn what an FCRA attorney can do for you.
Inaccurate Information That Comes Back After A Deletion
The Fair Credit Reporting Act and the California Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibit a reinsertion of an account that was previously deleted from your credit reports.
Old Vehicle Loan Accounts
Many California automobile finance companies fail to comply with the post-repossession notice laws after they repossess a vehicle. We can check compliance with these laws, and if we find a violation, it means you don’t owe the balance and the account should come off your credit report, even if you failed to pay the account.
If you are looking for an experienced FCRA lawyer in Los Angeles who has the expertise to help, contact our law firm.
FAQ – The California Fair Credit Reporting Act
1. Who has to obey the California Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The California Fair Credit Reporting Act (actually called the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act) is unique in the 50 states, because it allows a consumer to sue the creditor, in addition to the consumer credit reporting agencies. Only California and one other state permit a suit under state law against the company furnishing the inaccurate information. Even though Congress specifically allowed California consumers to sue the furnisher under the California Fair Credit Reporting Act, the courts for years still said no, ruling that California law was preempted by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Mr. Trueblood was the FCRA lawyer who wrote the successful appellate brief which overturned these mistaken rulings in the milestone case of Sanai v. Saltz, restoring the rights of all Californians to sue under the California FCRA.
2. What kind of relief or compensation can I get under the California Fair Credit Reporting Act?
You are entitled to emotional distress, credit harm damages, and punitive damages of up to $5,000 per violation, plus your attorneys fees and costs. Another benefit of hiring an FCRA attorney, is that a credit reporting lawyer typically can get the offending account removed from your credit report.
3. How do Fair Credit Reporting Act attorneys like you get paid?
As credit reporting lawyers, we can work on a contingent fee on your behalf, at no out-of-pocket cost to you. This is because the FCRA and California FCRA make the wrongdoers pay for your attorneys fees. Our attorneys’ fees and costs are paid from the recovery obtained. We are not paid unless you are paid.
4. What’s the difference between the California FCRA and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The main difference is how you dispute an inaccurate account. Under the California FCRA, you can dispute directly with the creditor (the furnisher of the information), and they have a duty to remove the inaccurate information once they know of the error. Under the federal FCRA, you must dispute the account to the credit reporting agencies, who are then supposed to contact the creditor and conduct a reasonable investigation of your dispute. Any dispute to the credit reporting agencies or a creditor should be done by letter, not by phone, email, or online. Unfortunately, Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian hardly “investigate” FCRA consumer disputes at all, and usually just rubber stamp whatever the furnisher tells them.
5. Should I dispute an inaccurate account on my own?
You probably already have, or you wouldn’t be here. But, you need a Fair Credit Reporting Act lawyer at your side to make sure your disputes get done right. A lot of consumers mistakenly make phone and online disputes, when they should be mailing letters. And most people do not have the background to write a letter that gives the best notice possible. An FCRA attorney can make sure your letter has the right content, and that your FCRA claim will be the strongest it can be.
6. Do you charge for a consultation?
No. We offer free consultations. It is a laborious process for us, as Fair Credit Reporting Act lawyers, to analyze the long history of a credit reporting inaccuracy case. We will need your current credit reports, old credit reports, all credit denials, and all your disputes. At the end of the day, we are going to war for you, and preparation is the key.