Will not remove family members bad debt

by tammy
(port huron mi)

My husband got his credit report about a year ago and we were shocked to find a 1184.00 utility bill from Michigan on there. We have contacted them, filed a dispute with the credit agency's and a police report.

This happened from 2004 to 2007 and at that time we lived in Las Vegas. We supplied the utility company with proof of where we lived at that time. This has been going on for months. We just received a letter saying that they will not take it off our report and we will have to pay it because it belonged to a family member or friend and they do not try to get money from a third party.

We have no idea who this friend or family member is and neither do they. Not only has this affected his credit score getting utilities in his name is off the table until this can be fixed. But how can we fix this when they refuse to take it off and when the credit company calls the confirm this debt they say he is responsible?

Any help would be great. Do you think if we mailed a copy of the letter to the credit company that it might be good enough to remove this? The letter clearly states this does not belong to you but a family member or friend. Thank you for any help.

Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers.com

Tammy, we see no reason why this should be on your husband's credit reports. While it is true that in some cases utility companies can deny service to someone for a family member's outstanding bill (if they lived at the same address at the time), we aren't aware of any reason why your husband should be responsible for a bill that isn't his.

It sounds like you have taken the correct steps to identify this as fraud and to dispute it both with the credit reporting agencies and with the company reporting the wrong information.

At this point you have two choices:

1. Talk with a consumer law attorney who represents consumers in credit damage lawsuits. You can search for one at Naca.net. If the attorney thinks you have a good case they may be willing to represent you on a contingent fee basis, but you'll have to ask. (We are not sure if you need one in Nevada or Michigan - start local and see what they say.)

2. Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at ConsumerFinance.gov. They may intervene on your behalf.

We are mystified why this continues to plague you even after you took the appropriate steps to file a police report. While it is true that some utilities can deny service if there is an unpaid bill owed by a family member, that usually applies only to situations where you lived at the residence at the same time as them. And we aren't aware of any provisions that allow them to report the debt of someone else on your credit reports.

Will you let us know what happens here? (And our apologies for the late response!)

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