If you read the papers, it's possible you've noticed a lot of news regarding your credit report lately!
First, something old, via an in-depth report from Washington Post veteran Brian Krebs: "An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers — as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans — purchased much of its data from Experian." Please email me if you are surprised. (Anyone?)
Second, your daily human interest piece via the New York Times regarding yet another person, this time 73-year-old Mississippi resident Patricia Armour, who spent several years in vain attempting to correct glaring mistakes on her credit report. Stack it next to 60 Minutes special "40 Million Mistakes," containing several such stories, and the case of Julie Miller, who was awarded $18.6 million against Equifax for the years it foiled her attempts to fix the mistakes on her own report. The system works, folks!
A new ruling from the 11th Circuit just lit a fire under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, reinforcing the right of consumers to sue for debt collectors who place robocalls for between $500 and $1,500 per call. That's pretty excellent news on the consumer-front.
The issue here was whether a person who had previously allowed robocalls could revoke permission. The court said yes, and is the first Federal Circuit court to say so.
If you're getting robocalls from a collector without permission, keep a record, record the calls if possible, and get ye to a consumer attorney.
A debt collector systems support company called Ontario Systems, LLC put out a memo recently on how to "End the Credit Reporting Nightmare"-- which, despite what you'd think based on its name, is actually a how-to for debt collectors looking to avoid lawsuits and credit reporting issues. The suggestions, which are all very good ideas, are:
1) Wait at least 45 days after the expiration of the validation period to report.
-- This is even more aggressively pro-consumer than I would have suggested! But it makes sure that there are no unvalidated accounts that get reported, which is good.
2) Respond promptly to consumer complaints and disputes.
3) Promptly update all newly acquired consumer information.
-- Yes! Too often I see debts that have been paid off, disputed, etc. that get left un-updated for years-- years!-- on people's credit reports. The debt collector gets to argue, truthfully, that they never sent a false update. This is frustrating, and does not reward proper repayment like it should.
4) Become a complaint magnet.
-- Meaning be sure complaints come to the company, and not the CFPB or the Attorney General's office.
5) Don't make false statements.
-- Sign of the industry that you need to include this in a list of major suggestions.
For the non-readers of pop-economics, French economist Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," the latest wood-splitting wedge between neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism and the rest of the world, argues that wealth concentrates the longer the return on capital consistently exceeds economic growth. So macro is this thesis that is seems less like an economic prediction and more like a force of nature on the scale of Thomas Malthus on population or Adam Smith on the relationship between micro and macro economics.
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker did a fun rundown of a few of the arguments against Piketty that I recommend taking a look at. You know, in lieu of me writing anything this week.
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