For the past five (5) years, I have been receiving debt collection notices from a South Florida university for $15,000+ for "Library Charges" that I have NEVER incurred. They have reported me to ALL major credit bureaus, which has destroyed my credit.
The school and their collection agencies REFUSE to provide any proof of debt (e.g. signature, itemized list, etc.) by the FDCPA. What remedies are available to me? Both parties have been unresponsive and I would like to sue to have my credit repaired.
I did NOT attend this university, but the adjoining college that shares the library. I surrendered my library card to a librarian upon graduation, which is school policy. I have spoken to school officials and their response has been VERY dismissive.
Were I in your position, I would consider suing the creditor under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). You could also pursue a claim for defamation, but FDUTPA is probably a more attractive route to go because the statute provides for prevailing parties attorney's fees.
Family Law Attorney
If you have, in writing, disputed the charges with the creditor and the collection agency AND disputed them to the credit reporting agencies, your only step may be to sue for a declaratory judgment to have the reports cleared. You probably won't receive any damages (unless you can prove you've been monitarily harmed) beyond the statutory ones. Have you spoken to YOUR college about this - they were dismissive as well?
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Debt Collection Attorney
If you have sent written disputes to the collection agency and they have continued collection activities without verifying the alleged debt then you may have grounds for an FDCPA lawsuit. Additionally, if they are reporting the debt incorrectly, you may be able to sue them in your local village court to remove the items.
With the limited facts you have provided, you may have a remedy under the FDCPA. However, the FDCPA only applies to third party debt collectors and not to original creditors. Further, the FDCPA imposes a one year statute of limitations in which to bring an action. Specifically the FDCPA [15 U.S.C. sec. 1692k(d)] provides, in pertinent part, that: "Any action to enforce any liability created by this subchapter may be brought . . . within one year from the date on which the violation occurs".
Because of the complexity of the FDCPA and the requirement that an FDCPA action must be filed in federal court, it is generally advisable to retain counsel experienced in these matters. It should be noted that the FDCPA provides for an award of attorneys fees to a successful plaintiff.
Separately, you may also have a cause of action for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act [FCRA}.
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