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Can I get a debt collector to stop pulling my credit reports?

A woman discovers that even though a case against her has been dismissed, a debt collector continues to check her credit. Is there anything she can do about it?

By Credit.com Feb 26, 2014 12:09PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyA Credit.com reader, Lori, wanted to know if a debt collector could continue to pull her credit even after a small-claims case had been dismissed. She had successfully had the information removed from her credit reports, but the collection agency, which now had no case against her, had pulled her credit twice since the case was dismissed. Her question: Is that legal?


The answer is simple, according to Chi Chi Wu, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center: No. In the organization's legal manual "Fair Credit Reporting," it says:

Even in the case of credit accounts, collection is not a permissible purpose for obtaining a consumer report once the account is no longer collectible.

Past due stamp sitting on three bills. © Derek E. Rothchild, Stockbyte, Getty ImagesMaking the debt collectors stop checking, however, may not be easy.  Lori may need to to complain to regulators and/or hire an attorney, Wu said. She can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or she could look for a lawyer (the National Association of Consumer Advocates has a list on its website).


But Lori has already done a couple of things right. First, she has seen copies of her free annual credit reports, and she disputed negative information and successfully had it deleted.


Checking credit reports is something all of us should do, whether or not we've had to deal with debt collectors. The reports can contain errors, and some can be serious. You don't want to find out about an error when you get turned down for credit and/or you discover your credit scores have dropped. (You can get two credit scores for free every month using the Credit Report Card. An unexplained change in scores can clue you in to a problem that might need to be addressed, so keeping an eye on them is smart.)


Credit reports can look intimidating, but there are guides to help you make sense of them, and checking your reports can be the best way to find out who else has seen them, and when.


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7Comments
Feb 26, 2014 1:54PM
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Since when has the majority of debt collection agencies abided by the law?

This article is more proof that the criminal justice system is just that: the CRIMINAL justice system. Law-abiding citizens have very little rights and/or protection. The existing laws make it damn near impossible to get protection from those that refuse to obey the law.

Feb 26, 2014 6:38PM
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Sometimes late at night, I strip down naked and tape glow sticks all over my body.  Then I turn off the lights sit in my computer chair and spin around in circles pretending to be a U.F.O.
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