In Jackson v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., et. al., 2016 WL 2910027, at *3-5 (N.D.Ill., 2016), Judge Kennelly found that a Chapter 13 debtor stated a claim that a loan servicer’s post-Chapter 13 bankruptcy reporting remained inaccurate even after the furnisher made corrections because it did not correct all the inaccuracies in the consumer’s report.
In count 2 of his complaint, Jackson alleges that RCS violated the FCRA because it failed to investigate the claim he made in his dispute letter and to fix the information he said was inaccurate. He acknowledges that after he sent his dispute letter to Experian, the RCS credit line stated that it had been updated in response to his dispute and showed that his account balance was $0 and his debt was ‘[d]ischarged through Bankruptcy Chapter 13.‘ Pl.’s Ex. G, dkt. no. 1-7, at 9. But Jackson contends that RCS failed to rectify the inaccuracy of this credit item because it continued to include the account history and payment history. RCS argues that Jackson’s FCRA claim must be dismissed because it is not inaccurate to report the details of a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy. To support this contention, RCS directs the Court’s attention to guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stating that a consumer report ‘may contain any information that is complete, accurate, and not obsolete on the consumer who is the subject of the report.‘ 16 C.F.R. pt. 600 app’x § 607(b)(6) (2010). The FTC guidance goes on to state that a ‘consumer report may include an account that was discharged in bankruptcy (as well as the bankruptcy itself), as long as it reports a zero balance due to reflect the fact that the consumer is no longer liable for the discharged debt. ‘ Id. Because it adjusted its information to reflect that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy and the account balance is zero, RCS says, it has acted in accordance with the FTC’s guidance and thus cannot be held liable for failing to delete the account history and payment history from its credit line. RCS makes no effort to explain why the Court should defer to the FTC’s guidance on this matter. Instead, it points the Court to a recent decision from the Northern District of Indiana in which the court relied on the FTC’s guidance in rejecting a claim under section 1681–2(b). See Dixon v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC, No. 13 C 227, 2015 WL 2227741 (N.D. Ind. May 11, 2015). RCS has also cited as supplemental authority a recently issued order in which another court in this district did the same. See Connor v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 15 C 8601 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 22, 2016). For his part, Jackson does not argue that the Court should not rely on or defer to the FTC’s guidance. Instead, he contends that the facts of Dixon are inapposite, and he has submitted his own supplemental authority to combat RCS’s. See Asufrin v. Roundpoint Mortg. Servicing Corp., No. 15 C 9077, 2016 WL 1056669 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 17, 2016).. . .Unlike the plaintiff in Connor, Jackson has addressed the fact that the revised RCS credit line shows a zero balance amount and amount past due: he argues that ‘[t]he statement of a 2013 discharge, combined with 2015 account balances, create[s] a picture of Plaintiff’s credit history that is both inconsistent and incomplete given his surrender of the property.‘ Pl.’s Resp., dkt. no. 37, at 4. Without input from the parties, the Court is not prepared to decide whether it should or must accord weight to the FTC’s guidance and if so, how much. Thankfully, the Court need not answer that question at this juncture, because the FTC’s guidance does not require dismissal of Jackson’s complaint. The FTC has indicated that it is not inaccurate to disclose a debt discharged in bankruptcy so long as a credit report indicates a zero balance due. It has explained that the reason the report must show a zero balance due is that this reflects that the consumer is no longer liable for the debt. But the Court sees nothing in the FTC’s guidance that indicates that if a zero balance is reported for a discharged debt, the report is accurate per se, no matter what or how much additional true, false, or misleading information the report contains. Even were the Court to defer to the FTC’s guidance, there would still be an open question regarding whether additional information contained in a trade line that reported a discharged debt with a zero balance made the trade line inaccurate. Jackson has alleged that RCS failed to adequately correct the information it furnished to Experian because even after he disputed the line, it contained information that created the false impression that he was continuing to make payments years after the debt was discharged. This is sufficient to state a claim for relief under section 1681s–2(b). See Asufrin, 2016 WL 1056669 at *4.