Credit Reporting


“Asset Recovery Associates” sued for FDCPA and Fair Credit Violations

Financial Credit Service, Inc., also known as “Asset Recovery Associates, Inc.” has been sued in Alabama for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act. Our client is a recently retired docks worker.  He has good credit, good income, and has made it a practice of […]


A Few Reasons to NEVER Hire a Credit Repair Service – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E. Crump 1

Almost All Credit Repair Services Are Scams.  Don’t fall for them. In fact, in my years of representing debtors and counseling people in financial trouble, I have never seen a credit repair service that was not a scam.  But if they’re all scams, why are they so popular?  There are […]


See A Credit Card Charge That You Don’t Recognize? How to Deal with It. – Alabama Consumer Credit Lawyer Judson E. Crump

You should review your credit card statement every month.  If you see charges that you do not recognize, here is what to do. Identity theft is becoming more common than ever.  It seems that every few weeks, another massive security breach is revealed on the news.  And identity theft can […]


Credit Reports & Mortgage Payments After Bankruptcy – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E. Crump

“I filed bankruptcy a few years ago, but I kept my house and have made my mortgage payments.  Why isn’t my good payment history being reported on my credit reports?” A lot of consumers in Alabama have been noticing an unexpected problem with their credit reports after bankruptcy: their mortgage […]


Dealer Didn’t Pay Off Your Trade-In? What To Do About It – Alabama Consumer Protection Lawyer Judson E. Crump 5

“My Trade-In Vehicle wasn’t paid off by the Dealer.  Now it’s still on my credit report as past due.  What can I do?” Believe it or not, this question comes up fairly often.  You go car shopping, and you find a car you like, negotiate a value for your trade-in […]


“If you have a bill in collections that is dragging down your credit score, chances are high that it’s medical.”

So says a recent Washington Post article about the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent study of medical bill collections.

The study found that over half of the delinquent accounts that are reported against US citizens’ credit reports were medical bills.  And there were a LOT of people – about 15 million – whose only delinquent account on their credit report was a medical bill.

Medical bills are often hard to prove.  Very often, there is no written contract.  The provider may have not submitted the bill to insurance properly or timely, and therefore lost the right to collect from insurance and instead just decides to try to collect directly from the patient.

And a short visit to a single hospital can spawn a dozen separate bills – one from the hospital, one from each lab that handled your blood, one from each doctor who either saw you or your X-rays, one from a pharmacy, and God knows what else.  You may have never encountered these people and have no idea who they are, but they’re still asking you for money.

And if you ask for verification of the amount allegedly owed, you may not ever get any information.  The whole process is very mechanical and there’s often little to no human involvement in the collection process.

So what do you do if you have strange or inflated medical bills showing up in your credit report?

First, you should contact the medical provider and ask for an itemization of the bill.  How much are they charging you and why?  Will they give you a discount for what your insurer won’t cover?

Second, you should send a written dispute to the credit reporting agencies.  Tell them how much you legitimately owe and ask them to report nothing more than that.

Third, NEVER pay money just to get something off your credit report. A LOT of collection agencies report bogus amounts just to coerce you into paying.  If you owe a hospital $60, a collector may report that you owe $100, just because they’re betting that you’ll pay them the full amount to clean up your credit records.  Don’t fall for this.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to challenge them if they’re asking you for an unreasonable amount.  If they were to take you to court, they’d have to prove that the charges were reasonable and medically necessary. If they inflate the ‘price’ of services to compensate for discounts they provide to insurers, then they can’t just force you to pay whatever they want to put on some bill.


FRB: Foreclosure Only Drops Your Credit Score By About 6 Points – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E Crump

A Foreclosure Does Not Hurt Your Credit Score Nearly as Much as You may Think. Have you ever heard someone tell you that a foreclosure will ruin your credit score?  From a TV Commercial?  A Realtor?  A Banker? They’re wrong. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland undertook a study to […]


Video Q&A: The cleverest corporations that break consumer protection laws: Credit Bureaus – Alabama Credit Attorney Judson E Crump

Alabama Credit Reporting Attorney Judson E. Crump discusses why he thinks credit bureaus are relatively smart businesses to fight in court.

To summarize:

Though the major consumer reporting agencies* make mistakes all the time, actually taking them to court can be tricky because they are specialized in their field and have experience from decades of business and thousands of lawsuits behind them. They know how to deal with FCRA litigation, have very good professional witnesses, and don’t hire bad law firms.

Proceed cautiously, but don’t be intimidated.

*credit bureaus, credit report companies, credit reporters, these all are defined by 15 U.S.C. 1681 – the Fair Credit Reporting Act – as “consumer reporting agencies,” so that is the term I use for them as well.


What to do if your Credit Application is Denied? – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E Crump

I remember the first time I applied for a credit card.  I wanted to buy my school books on Amazon.com, and they had this big banner on the website that said I could get a 10% discount if I bought my stuff with their Amazon.com credit card.  So I clicked […]


Is a lender or finance company required to tell you why you were denied credit in Alabama? – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E Crump

Absolutely.  And they have to tell the truth as well. Whenever you apply for credit – be it an automobile loan, a credit card, a home mortgage, refinance, or any other sort of credit, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires the lender to do two things: 1) they must notify […]