CREDIT REPORTING ISSUES WITH VERIZON, COX AND UTILITIES?
Weak process for handling identity theft
I have Verizon service at home and really like it, but what almost all of its customers can attest is that they are less than accommodating at opening and closing of an account. Whether you are changing addresses, changing service providers, or simply cancelling your service, these phone and internet companies can cause a world of credit reporting problems. They are particularly bad when it comes to fraudulently opened accounts and identity theft issues, because they do not require identification to open accounts and don’t want to take them off when you profess your innocence and can prove it is identity theft.
Most people do not know that these companies do not report monthly that your account is current or late or the amount of your monthly payments. However, once that account goes delinquent and is charged off, they will promptly report it to all three of the credit reporting agencies. We have had a number of these cases from erroneous billing after the account was closed to identity theft. The one consistent thing is that once they start reporting the erroneous data they are not likely to correct it unless you get some legal help.
Innocent mistakes can become challenging consumer problems
One of our clients had a hybrid problem where she had Verizon service and closed it out when she moved apartments. There was nothing wrong with her account and final payment but shortly thereafter a new tenant with a very similar name moved into her old apartment complex a few doors down, opened a Verizon account, defaulted and the account wound up on our client’s credit file. She thought it was identity theft, but it turned out that Verizon just reported it to the credit bureaus under the wrong SSN. She called and tried to explain that she did not live at that apartment complex anymore and showed them a copy of her new lease, but that was not sufficient to solve her issue. Frustrated with banging her head against the Verizon wall, she called Blankingship & Christiano and her issue was promptly resolved.
Inflexible & unwilling to correct charge off errors
Another client bought a new house and since Verizon did not provide service in her new neighborhood, she had to cancel the service and open a Cox account. She actually overpaid her last bill by $12, but Verizon kept billing her. She called Verizon when she learned about the issue, told them about the error. The woman on the phone totally understood the issue, agreed that they did not provide service to that address, credited the charge back to her account and said she had fixed the issue. The very next month they billed her again and then again for the next two months. The client thought it was resolved, and never thought about it again until she realized that Verizon was reporting a charged off debt on her credit file. She called and explained to them that the bills were fraudulent, and that Verizon did not even provide service to her neighborhood or address. Once the account was closed and charged off, they would not listen and refused to fix it. Because she had perfect credit, this one account caused her credit scores to drop by more than 100 points. She had to call Blankingship & Christiano to get it resolved.
Data entry errors are a common source of inaccurate credit reports
Yet another client had a perplexing problem with a gas company in Chicago. Even though she had left Chicago years before, they placed a charge off on her credit file. The client reasonably suspected identity theft, but as we investigated further, we discovered that it was an error when the account was opened by another woman with a similar name. The customer that opened it did nothing wrong at all and gave them all her information over the phone, but the operator that opened the account took a shortcut, found a similar name in their records (our client’s) and opened the account using her information. When the account went bad and was charged off, it was promptly reported to the credit reporting agencies under my client’s information. Try as she might to explain that she did not even live in Chicago, the gas company refused to take it off her credit file causing her significant damage to her credit and credit score. She called Blankingship & Christiano.
Monetary damages can be recovered for inaccurate credit reporting issues
Not only did we fix all these problems for these clients and multiple more that were victims of identity theft, we were able to recover substantial monetary damages for the injury to their credit and emotional distress damages. None of them had to come out of pocket for anything and in the end they had correct credit file information and significant financial compensation.
If you have an error on your credit report and need legal help getting it corrected contact the Virginia Credit report error lawyers at Blankingship & Christiano, P.C. (571) 313-0412 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case.