Shaw v. Experian - 9th Circuit Oral Argument

Here is a link to our recent oral argument in the Shaw v. Experian class action:

Shaw Oral Argument

The Shaw case concerns the accuracy of Experian's reporting of short sales. Following the great recession, there was a dramatic increase in short sales. To help consumers, the nation’s largest mortgage underwriters created a new, 2- year waiting period for consumers who want to re-enter the conventional mortgage market after completing a short sale. This rule contrasts sharply with the 7-year waiting period applicable to foreclosures and makes it imperative that consumer reports identify short sales with maximum possible accuracy. Experian’s consumer reports fail that standard because they can, at best, only imply a possible short sale while simultaneously implying other events, including a possible foreclosure.

While Experian now insists it accurately and precisely reports short sales, that is not what it told Fannie Mae in May 2010. At that time, when Fannie Mae asked how it could identify short sales in Experian’s data, Experian admitted:

There are no specific codes that will specifically identify a Short Sale condition. The data reporting guidelines instruct the client to report the account as Settled-Special Comment AU. So the presence of this comment on a Mortgage loan ‘could’ imply short sale.

This single piece of evidence undermines Experian’s current contention that any particular set of codes can be relied on to identify short sales with the precision and certainty demanded by the mortgage industry. Experian expressly told Fannie Mae that is not true. And, the record shows the reason it is not true is because Experian requires furnishers to report short sales using the exact same codes they use to report other events that are not short sales. Accordingly, Experian’s data is inherently vague, imprecise and uncertain.

Experian materially compounds this uncertainty by displaying an ambiguous, catchall code 9 in the payment history grid of its consumer reports. The code 9 is not reported by furnishers and can infer numerous derogatory events, including a potential foreclosure. Experian’s reports therefore portray inconsistent and conflicting information that caused the rejection of new mortgage applications for scores of consumers, including Plaintiffs. Experian’s reports are inaccurate because they are so imprecise, incomplete, misleading and unreliable they are not only expected to, but did in fact, adversely affect credit decisions.

Credit Scores: How They Generally Work

Credit Scores: How They Generally Work

The lending industry has many different types of credit scores on the market today. Many different vendors have created them, such as Fair Isaac, the three national repositories, credit grantors, and insurance companies. 

Experian Sued for Mixing the Credit Files of People Who Share the Same Name

Experian Sued for Mixing the Credit Files of People Who Share the Same Name

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Experian in the United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, for merging the credit file of one individual with the credit file of another who share the same first and last name.

While applying for a mortgage, the plaintiff in the above mentioned case discovered that Experian had included no less than twenty-three (23) tradelines (bits of credit information) which did not belong to her on the credit report used to determine her credit worthiness. After being denied the loan, the plaintiff obtained her credit file from Experian. She then contacted an Experian representative by phone to dispute the inaccurate tradelines. The Experian representative confirmed that the tradelines in question belonged to another consumer and promised to have them removed from her credit file.

However, the information contained within the credit reports which Experian provided to the loan officer, is different than the information contained within the consumer report the plaintiff received when she requested her credit report from Experian. This is not uncommon. Rather it’s standard procedure.

Experian Ordered to Produce Consumer Disclosures in Native Format

On July 2, 2013, a Indiana consumer filed suit in federal court against Experian and Green Tree Servicing, LLC for neglect and willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The case is currently in the discovery stage. During the discovery stage, each side is allowed to conduct depositions, request relevant documents, ask interrogatories, and/or serve admissions. In this case, as the discovery was unraveling, Plaintiff requested specific documents from Experian their native format. Experian objected and drove Plaintiff to file a Motion to Compel with the Court.

Challenging the Accuracy of Bankruptcy Credit Reporting | Indiana Consumer Files Lawsuit Against Experian and Green Tree | Bankruptcy Reaffirmations and Ride Throughs

Cento Law, LLC attorney G. John Cento filed a lawsuit against Experian Information Solutions, Inc. and Green Tree Servicing, LLC alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges Experian and Green Tree inaccurately reported his mortgage account which had been included in bankruptcy but which survived the bankruptcy as a “ride through.”

Consumer Reporting Agencies

What is a Consumer Reporting Agency?

The term "consumer reporting agencies" is a statutory term defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the "FCRA"). Consumer reporting agencies are often referred to as "credit bureaus" or "credit reporting agencies." Under the FCRA, a consumer reporting agency is a company that collects information and provide reports on consumers that are most often used to decide whether to provide consumers credit, insurance or employment. The following is a list of companies that identify themselves as consumer reporting agencies:

National Consumer Reporting Agencies

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • Trans Union


Class Action Against Experian, Wells Fargo and Citimortgage Challenging Accuracy of Reporting of Consumer Short Sales

Cento Law, LLC attorney G. John Cento, through local California counsel, filed a class action lawsuit against Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank and Citimortgage alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges the consumer reporting agency, Experian, and credit data furnishers, Wells Fargo and Citimortgage, inaccurately reported his short sale on his credit report

Are Consumers Ordering Credit Reports Online From Experian Being Billed For Monthly Credit Report Service Without Their Consent?

Possible Unauthorized Charges By Experian Cento Law is currently investigating claims that Experian, a national consumer reporting agency, directly or indirectly through its various other websites, such as FreeCreditReport.com, ProtectMyId.com, LowerMyBills.com, ClassesUSA.com, Pricegrabber.com, may be charging consumers for credit reports or credit reporting services without their authorization and consent. 

CFPB Releases Results of Study of Differences Between Consumer and Creditor Purchased Credit Scores

What should you do if you learn that your credit report has errors? You can either contact us about how to proceed or send a dispute to the consumer reporting agency (CRA) on your own. There are several ways to initiate the dispute process with the CRAs, including using the dispute form which you may have received when you ordered your credit report; using the CRAs online dispute form; sending a dispute letter by mail (certified mail is recommended but not required); or by telephone. Whichever method you choose, you should remember to keep an accurate record of your dispute, including a copy of your dispute form or letter. If you use the online dispute form, you should take a screen shot of your dispute before sending it. 

Possible Credit Files - You May Have More Than One Credit File

Consumer reporting agencies (commonly known as "credit reporting agencies" or "credit bureaus") provide consumer reports (commonly  known as "credit reports") to subscribers who use the information to make credit granting decisions.  In order to obtain a consumer report, the agencies require their subscribers (i.e. banks, department stores, insurance companies and others) to furnish the name and address for the person on whom they are inquiring.  Some agencies, such as Trans Union, also encourage subscribers to provide a consumer's social security number as well. At any given time, the national consumer reporting agencies maintain hundreds of millions of "credit files" in their databases.  A credit file contains indicative information (such as name, address, former address, social security number and other information) and individual trade lines (such as account number, credit terms, payment history and other items) belonging to the consumer.  These files relate to the credit active consumers across the United States of which there are approximately 250 million, meaning that many consumers have more than one file in a consumer reporting agency's system.