Data Furnishers’ Mistakes Can Have Deadly Consequences

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  • Data Furnishers’ Mistakes Can Have Deadly Consequences
19 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
11 min
A desperate woman behind the wheel

Personal credit history has become a commodity, and those who profit from it are an inverse pyramid.

The great weight of the greed and financial power of Big Data frequently all point down to a single person who cannot possibly defend themselves against it: YOU.

The Components Of A Financial Tragedy

There are a lot of elements to the current credit reporting crisis in this country. The main three national credit reporting agencies are Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, but they are connected to many smaller corporations, companies, and third-party Data Furnishers. With uncertain borders which frequently shift to avoid responsibility, this body of financial entities has the country in a stranglehold. We are increasingly reliant on them, and yet they answer to no one. Greed, enormous profits, and legal maneuvering have turned credit reporting in the US  upside down. It’s become more profitable to forget the people who are hurt by cheap financial data than it is to correct those mistakes and save people’s lives. The great weight of the greed and financial power of Big Data frequently all point down to a single person who cannot possibly defend themselves against it: YOU. Individually, and yet by the millions, we are being crushed.

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More Than Just A Citizen

Emily P. had worked as both a Law Enforcement Officer and a Corrections Officer, which are widely known as some of the most stress-inducing jobs. Although she was proud of her public service, the job eventually caused her to suffer from anxiety and depression, leading her to leave the profession. While living in Florida, Emily came across an employment opportunity related to her field of work in Kentucky.

Before making the move to Kentucky, Emily went to donate blood. However, due to the low blood volume, she made a rude gesture and an oath during a parking-rage dispute, which resulted in no physical contact. Later, she drove back home. The other driver involved in the altercation called the police and reported an attempted vehicular homicide. Hours later, Emily was arrested. However, she was able to complete the Florida pretrial diversion program swiftly, and all charges were withheld without a conviction. Additionally, the judge ordered the record to be expunged.

Moving for Work

Legal problems seemingly resolved, this cleared Emily's path to finally move to Kentucky.  However, this is where she ran into Resident Research LLC and their well-documented, shoddy practices. Both of the companies that committed the offenses against Emily P.  have been sued before for ruining people’s lives. In Kentucky, Emily was denied housing based on one of Resident Research’s consumer credit reports. Once she completed the standard and time-consuming procedure of obtaining her records, she realized that they not only included the expunged case but also portrayed it in a malevolent light.The report emphasized three separate charges (Assault, Aggravated Battery with Intent to Harm, and Criminal Mischief), and the wording clearly indicated that she was on parole for three felony convictions!

It’s not difficult to understand how this could be even more disturbing to Emily than the average, innocent victim of an inaccurate credit report. After giving a part of her working life to corrections and law enforcement, she had suddenly been reclassified as a criminal. Even more personally, she had assured the people at the apartments where she had applied that she was an upstanding citizen with no criminal records. This humiliation compounded the insult with the financial injuries.

Predatory Negligence

Resident Research wasn’t done with Emily, either. The very same day she submitted a request for corrections to her report, they struck again. Instead of researching and correcting the bad information, they simply found an even more vague reason to deny her. The new rejection was now based on cross-referencing her general “background consumer report”. In what can only be viewed as an act of pettiness, more scrutiny on Emily’s part also revealed that they eventually replaced the fraudulent, inaccurate, and expunged reporting with the words “no reputable records found.” By then, the apartment in question was long gone and Emily’s difficulties with housing made employment harder as well. In fact, her struggles with anxiety and depression were accelerated by the anger, humiliation, and hardships she was enduring.

Starting Over

Emily still had a core of pride and strength; she moved home with her parents to rebuild both her strength and her resume. She rallied and got herself a better job, with prospects of getting back the life these background reporting agencies had taken from her. The job was in Tennessee, and the only remaining hurdle was providing proof she resided in the state. Ultimately, she had to submit to a background check with the consumer report for her new housing application. It was with an entirely different credit referral company, and she felt hope that the judge’s expungement order would work properly this time.

Her last attempt at appealing a housing decision had been demoralizing, she didn’t think she had the strength for another, protracted online credit dispute.  It took another rental application denial letter for her to fully learn what the illegal reversal of her expungement cost.

More of the Same, and Worse

This time the credit reporting agency was RealPage LLC, who also do business under the name Leasing Desk Screening. Leasing Desk Screening reviews have a rich history of inaccurate credit reports and the inclusion of wrongful data. Their report on Emily featured all the same legally suppressed or wrongful data. Once again, she was being portrayed as being on parole for multiple, heinous convictions. And again, it was to people whom she had just assured that she was honest and trustworthy. Not only did the housing rejection and subsequent loss of the job hurt, but Emily could see how betrayed those people felt. They had wanted to trust her, house her, and hire her. Now they would never trust her again.

Along with more battles with depression and anxiety, the wretched financial situation then forced Emily to spend her last resources boarding her dogs because they could not stay where she lived. Being separated from and fearing for her pets was too much. Emily spiraled further into a dark place and made an attempt on her own life. What had started with a rental application denial letter and attempts at appealing a housing decision ended in an active and productive citizen being knocked out of our economic system and very nearly dying.

Help Is Out There

Emily’s family intervened to save her life. Then, we at Consumer Attorneys were brought into the situation.  We were proud to represent Emily in seeking statutory money damages, actual damages, and punitive damages as allowed by 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n and/or 1681o. Emily’s story is one of countless examples of the predatory negligence sweeping across our economic landscape. And, like many before, we got her five-figure settlements from both of the data furnishers involved. We fought to undo the tragedy imposed on her to the best of our abilities, as we do for all of our clients.

*Names of clients are changed in order to protect them.

Daniel Cohen is the Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys
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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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