When reduced to a he-said, she-said situation as to whether a furnisher conducted a reasonable investigation into a dispute, a defendant saying it conducted a reasonable investigation — without evidence that proves it didn’t — is not enough, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case.
A copy of the ruling in the case of DeSiena v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff submitted a dispute to the defendant that a student loan was fraudulently opened by a third party in the plaintiff’s name. The plaintiff sent a notarized letter to the defendant stating that she did not sign for the loan. The defendant responded back that it investigated her dispute, which included a review of the plaintiff’s “relevant account history and documentation” including information that was submitted by the plaintiff and concluded that the disputed information was accurate.
As can be expected, the plaintiff wasn’t happy with the results of the investigation and filed suit, alleging the defendant violated the FCRA, even though the plaintiff admitted she had “no idea” whether a reasonable investigation was conducted or not. Simply accusing the defendant of not conducting a reasonable investigation because you didn’t like the result is not enough to sustain an FCRA claim, the Court determined. “Indeed, DeSiena testified that the only evidence she has to support her failure-to-investigate claim consists of the ‘very bad reviews’ that she had seen on the internet” of the defendant, the Appeals Court wrote.