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Equifax, Regions Bank Erroneous Credit Reporting FCRA Civil Action

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Plaintiff Christopher Carroll went through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in November 2011, with an Order of Discharge entered in March 2017. According to the complaint for this civil action, however, the reporting submitted for his mortgage by Regions Bank, Inc. (Alabama) and published by Equifax Information Services, LLC still contains errors relating to the bankruptcy. Carroll disputed the entries and provided documentation, the complaint says, but the report still shows the errors, in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The complaint goes to great length explaining the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), a trade association for those involved in consumer credit reporting, check verification, tenant and employment screening, and so on.

The CDIA offers training and support, including FCRA certification programs to help organizations comply with FCRA regulation. It also publishes the Metro 2 reporting standards to help those furnishing information to make their reports in a standardized way, for accurate and timely reporting of data. The complaint claims that the Metro 2 Task Force, which develops the standards, is made up of representatives from Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion.

The complaint claims that, to be truly accurate, credit information must be reported monthly, as each month payments may be made or interest may be added, changing individuals’ credit picture and affecting their FICO scores. Also, the complaint claims that Regions is supposed to be using the Metro 2 reporting standards.

When plaintiff Carroll went through his bankruptcy, the complaint says that his mortgage with Regions was specifically excluded from the discharge. Since then, the complaint says he has continued to make payments on the mortgage, and Regions has continued to accept and process them.

However, the complaint claims that when Carroll got a copy of his Equifax consumer report in June 2017, it show erroneous information from Regions. Specifically, the report shows a zero balance for is mortgage, a last payment date of November 1, 2011, and an account status of “included in Chapter 13.”

According to the complaint, none of this is true, so Carroll wrote to Equifax. He pointed out the mistakes in the reporting, included a copy of his Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, a copy of the discharge order exempting debts such as the mortgage, and a recent payoff statement showing that he still had the mortgage.

The law requires Equifax to notify Regions of the dispute within five business days, the complaint says, to forward the documentation, and to conduct a reasonable investigation, and for Regions to also conduct an investigation. However, the complaint says, in January 2018, Equifax sent Carroll a “revised report” with virtually the same erroneous information as before. The company did not even note the dispute in the tradeline for the debt.

All this, the complaint says, adds up to violations of the FCRA, on the parts of both Equifax and Regions.  

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