La Crescenta, CA (PRWEB) July 8, 2008
Like many Americans, Julia Johnson ran into a financial skid in 2001 and fell a couple of months behind on her mortgage with Irwin Home Loans. Irwin at one point in 2001 reduced her loan to "charge-off" status and reported this to the credit bureaus. In part to bring her mortgage loan current and start over, Ms. Johnson sold her home in March of 2002 and paid off her mortgage from the proceeds of the sale. Ms. Johnson understood that Irwin would continue to credit-report the account as a previous charge-off and she had no disagreement with that, but simply wanted her credit reports to show that she had paid off her Irwin Home Mortgage loan in full as of 2002.
As alleged in her lawsuit, Irwin, however, would not do this, letting her credit report continue to show the "charge-off" but refusing to include the critical fact that the loan had been completely paid off. Obviously the fact of the loan payoff would have helped her credit score.
Because of credit needs in 2007, Ms. Johnson began disputing the Irwin account on her credit report. She did not dispute the charge-off; rather, she simply wanted her credit reports to reflect that the account had been paid off. After a few disputes in the spring of 2007, the credit bureaus initially corrected the credit reporting, but shortly thereafter, in August, Irwin, Equifax and TransUnion allegedly began reporting the loan as "in foreclosure, 120 days past due" as of July 2007.
Ms. Johnson's lawsuit contends that reinserting the credit information was bad enough; embellishing it compounded the offense. A foreclosure is one of the very worst marks a person can have on their credit bureau reports. Further, recent derogatory credit information has a much more serious effect on a consumer's credit score. "Re-aging" the account to make it look more recent effectively took Ms. Johnson completely out of the consumer credit market. Ms. Johnson's lawsuit further contends that, in spite of repeated requests to correct the credit reporting, Irwin, TransUnion and Equifax failed to correct it and Ms. Johnson suffered several credit denials and reversals which set her life back significantly.
"I'm shocked at the power that these lenders and the credit bureaus have," explains Johnson. "I had thought that this was some kind of mistake, but I disputed the credit reporting of these three accounts repeatedly to no avail. It may be just some minor mistake to them, but it ruined my life. I've fought to regain and re-establish my credit after a few bad years, and Irwin, Equifax and TransUnion just set me back as if the entire effort was in vain."
Johnson is not alone.
Her attorney, Robert F. Brennan of Brennan, Wiener & Assoc. in La Crescenta, Ca., comments on this: "Reinsertion of derogatory credit information is sheer recklessness by creditors and the credit bureaus. There are safeguards in place, whereby creditors are supposed to separately certify any reinserted information and the consumer is supposed to be notified of this. However, the credit bureaus and many creditors flout these safeguards and ruin the lives of consumers in the process."
Johnson filed her lawsuit against Irwin Home Loans and the three major credit bureaus in 2008 in the United States District Court, Central District in downtown Los Angeles. Johnson v. Irwin Home Loans, et al., Case No. CV08-02311 SVW (FMOx). The matter is in discovery proceedings now, with a trial date set in September of 2008. Brennan says they want their matter decided by a jury trial. Ms. Johnson is seeking both money damages as well as a permanent correction of the reporting of her Irwin Home Loan accounts.
Contact Information: Robert F. Brennan, Brennan, Wiener & Associates, 3150 Montrose Ave., La Crescenta, Ca. 91214, (818) 249-5291. Mr. Brennan and his firm are the leading consumer protection and credit damage attorneys in Southern California. Mr. Brennan has been selected as a "Southern California Super Lawyer" for three years running, for 2006, 2007 and 2008.