In Donald Cable v. Midland Funding, No. 3:19-CV-00015-GFVT, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115597 (E.D. Ky. July 11, 2019), Judge Van Tatenhove dismissed an FCRA claim.
The Complaint acknowledges that CCU was notified of Mr. Cable’s dispute and CCU subsequently verified the debt with the credit reporting agencies, [R. 1 at ¶¶ 30-31], but leaves the Court left to guess as to CCU’s precise investigative failure—either willful or negligent. Mr. Cable presumably believes that, given the “charged off” status of his debt, [R. 1 at ¶ 28], CCU should have arranged for the credit reporters to cease the reporting of Mr. Cable’s delinquency. However, the Court agrees with CCU that a “charge off” does not mean what Mr. Cable understands it to. The “charge off” of a debt does not equate to its “discharge,” which is the subject matter of Mr. Cable’s quoted regulation—26 C.F.R. § 6050P-1(b)(2)(i)(G). [R. 1 at ¶ 28.] When a lender [*6] determines a debt is “uncollectable and at least partially worthless,” the company can “charge off” the debt, permitting the original lender to sell the debt to another party and recoup a portion of the lost investment. Stratton v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, 770 F.3d 443, 445-46 (6th Cir. 2014). Indeed, a “charge off” is an accounting method utilized by companies to reduce their tax liability; it is not the discharge (or nullification) of an existing debt. Id.; see also LeBlanc v. Unifund CCR Partners, 601 F.3d 1185, 1188 n.5 (11th Cir. 2010) (“charged off debt is not forgiven”); Moreover, “charging off a debt does not diminish the legal right of the original creditor to collect the full amount of the debt.” Hinkle v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 827 F.3d 1295, 1297 (11th Cir. 2016). Therefore, to the extent that Mr. Cable’s debt was “charged off,” CCU was within its rights to affect its collection. As such, Mr. Cable’s claims as to CCU’s violations of FCRA § 1681s-2(b) must be dismissed.