United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Harris asserts a Fair Credit Reporting Act claim under 15
U.S.C. § 1681s-2 against United Consumer Financial
Services Company as a furnisher of information to consumer
reporting agencies. Furnishers like United “are
required to (1) report accurate information to CRAs regarding
consumers . . . and (2) conduct an investigation after
receiving notice from a CRA of a dispute lodged by a consumer
regarding information provided by the furnisher.”
Felts v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 893 F.3d 1305, 1312
(11th Cir. 2018). Consumers like Harris “have no
private right of action against furnishers for reporting
inaccurate information to CRAs regarding consumer accounts,
” but consumers may bring an action against a furnisher
if the furnisher fails to conduct a reasonable investigation
following a notice of dispute. Id. A consumer cannot
prevail on such a claim unless she first establishes that the
furnisher reported inaccurate information regarding her
account. Id. at 1313. Here, United seeks summary
judgment on Harris's claim, arguing that Harris cannot
establish that United reported inaccurate information
regarding her account and that she thus cannot demonstrate an
improper investigation, a willful violation of the Act, or
damages. As discussed in more detail below, United's
summary judgment motion (ECF No. 23) is denied because the
evidence United submitted in support of its motion suggests
that United reported that Harris's account was open even
though it was closed and then verified that this information
was accurate in response to Harris's dispute.
entered a retail installment agreement with United in 2015.
She defaulted on her monthly payments, and United
“charged off and closed” the account on March 1,
2016. Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s First Interrogs. 4 ¶
2, ECF No. 23-2. The charge-off designation did not alter
Harris's obligation under the credit agreement to pay the
balance on her account. In March 2018, Harris reviewed her
Trans Union credit report. As of March 5, 2018, United
reported Harris's account status as “Open -
Derogatory, ” her monthly payment as $72, and the
payment status as “Collection/Charge-Off.”
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. C, Harris Credit Report 2,
ECF No. 23-4 at 3. The “Closed Date” field is
blank. Id. In the remarks section, United reported
that the account was “Charged off as bad debt; Dispute
resolved; customer disagrees.” Id. Harris sent
a letter to Trans Union disputing the “open”
account status and the monthly payment amount; she asked
Trans Union to report the account “with a $0 monthly
payment amount and a closed account status.” Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. H, Letter from S. Harris to Trans Union
LLC, ECF No. 23-9.
Union sent an automated credit dispute verification form to
United, which stated that Harris “Claims account
closed. Verify Account Status, Date Closed, and Payment
Rating.” Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. I, ACDV Resp.
1, ECF No. 23-10. In its response, United stated that the
account was charged off as a loss. Id. at 2. United
represents that it left the “current balance, ”
“original charge off amount, ” and
“scheduled monthly payment” sections blank,
“indicating it did not need anything to be reported in
those categories with respect to” Harris's account.
Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ¶ 11, ECF No.
23-1. But the document United cited does not support this
representation: it contains a “Current Balance”
of $1, 584, an “Original Charge Off Amount” of
$1, 584, and a “Scheduled Monthly Payment” of
ACDV Resp. 2. And, the “Date Closed” section is
blank. Id. Trans Union sent Harris the investigation
results, which stated that her account was verified as
accurate and that the item would appear on Harris's
credit report with a balance of $1, 584, original charge-off
amount of $1, 584, and terms of $72 per month. Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. J, Investigation Results (May 26,
2018), ECF No. 23-11. The investigation results do not state
that the account is closed. Id.
summary, based on the present record, United reported
Harris's account as open in March 2018 even though the
account was closed and charged off in 2016. When Harris
disputed the account's “open” status and
stated that the account should be reported as closed, United
did not make any changes to the information. Instead, it
verified the information as accurate. Thus, the Court finds
that genuine fact disputes exist on whether United furnished
inaccurate information about Harris's account, whether a
reasonable investigation would have revealed that the
information was inaccurate, whether United committed a
willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and
whether Harris suffered actual damages as a result.
Accordingly, United's summary judgment motion (ECF No.
23) is denied.
 There are two columns on the form
United submitted: “Request Data” and
“Response Data.” United did not point to any
evidence regarding the difference between these two columns.
On the document United relies on, only the “Request
Data” column is completed, and the ...