Judge Grants MSJ For Defendant in FDCPA Case Over Credit Karma Report

What Credit Karma says in its reports about a consumer’s credit history is not gospel, a District Court judge in Tennessee has ruled, granting a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it allegedly communicated information to a credit bureau after it was instructed by the creditor to request all of its tradelines be removed from its customers’ credit reports.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Thomas v. CBC can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff obtained a copy of her credit report and noted that five debts were being reported by the defendant that were allegedly owed to a healthcare provider. The plaintiff’s attorney mailed a letter to the defendant that disputed the debts. While it did not report the debts were being disputed, the defendant was notified by the original creditor to remove all of its debts from the credit bureaus. The defendant instructed the credit bureaus to remove all of the noted accounts. It did not check to see if that actually occurred, because there had never been an issue in the past and checking could have impacted the plaintiff’s credit score, the defendant noted. Three months later, the plaintiff checked her credit via the Credit Karma app, and noted that the accounts were still showing the accounts in question, and that they were not marked as being disputed. Credit Karma was showing the information to be accurate as of a date tat was three weeks after the defendant notified the credit bureaus to remove the tradelines from the reports.

The plaintiff filed suit, accusing the defendant of failing to mark the accounts as disputed and that it communicated information to the credit bureaus without noting the disputes.

Relying on an affidavit from the defendant that it did not communicate information to the credit bureaus after requesting the tradelines be removed from the credit reports, Judge Aleta Trauger of the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Just because Credit Karma was using a date to indicate how current the information was does not mean that information was communicated to the credit bureaus by the defendant on that date, Judge Trauger noted. At the end of the day, the plaintiff did not have enough evidence to prove her claim that the defendant violated Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA by failing to communicate that the debt was disputed.

“The form does not indicate that CBC communicated with Equifax on that date,” Judge Trauger wrote. “It is simply silent on that question. It certainly gives rise to the possibility that CBC communicated with Equifax on that date, but a possibility is not the same as probability.” 

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