A District Court judge in Illinois has denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case, ruling that it did not meet its burden proving it conducted a reasonable investigation after the plaintiff submitted a dispute regarding an item on her credit report.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Robbins v. Ford Motor Credit Co. can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff purchased a vehicle in 2014, and the contract was assigned to the defendant. The plaintiff paid off the vehicle in 2015. The payoff, though, including late fees was received more than 30 days after the payment due date.
In 2021, the plaintiff sent a letter to one of the credit reporting agencies, questioning the tradeline in her credit report. She wanted to know how can the account be reported with a payment status of being 30 days late if the account was closed with a $0 balance. The credit reporting agency forwarded to the dispute to the defendant. The defendant replied back to the credit reporting agency, indicating that the “payment rating” was 30-59 days past the due date.
The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that the payment status is meant to be a representation of the current status of her account, which means her credit score has been negatively impacted by the information furnished by the defendant.
Citing the Consumer Data Industry Association’s Credit Reporting Resource Guide, the plaintiff convinced Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel of the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois that a question of fact exists and determined that summary judgment could not be granted.
Furthermore, Judge Rosenstengel determined that the defendant did not conduct a reasonable investigation into the plaintiff’s dispute. The information submitted by the defendant — its response to the dispute and an affidavit from a credit risk analyst — “tells the Court nothing about Ford Credit’s inquiry into the dispute or how it verified that Robbins’s account information was correct,” the judge wrote.