When you are going to recover a judgment, and you get a notarized assignment of judgment returned to you; can you pull a credit report on the judgment debtor before you file that assignment at the court?
One of many judgment articles: I am a Judgment Broker, not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.
I think if you read the full text of the Fair Credit reporting Act PDF at: www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/articles/pdf/pdf- 0111-fair-credit-reporting-act.pdf you will probably decide that yes, you can pull a credit report before you file the assignment at the court.
The Federal law states that you must have a “permissible purpose”. It defines several types of permissible purpose, and two that are especially relevant.
The first is to a person who (or a credit reporting agency) has reason to believe they intend to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer, on whom the information is to be furnished, and involving the extension of credit to, or a review of, or collection of an account of; the consumer.
The FTC interprets this to mean that a judgment creditor may lawfully obtain a consumer report AKA credit report, on their debtor without the foreknowledge or consent of the debtor.
A credit reporting agency may provide a credit report to someone who intends to use the information, as a potential investor or servicer, or current insurer, in connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation.
As far as the FTC is concerned, a debt collector is servicing the account of the debtor. The FCRA allows one to obtain a credit report on a judgment debtor even before the assignment is filed at the court.
As a judgment enforcer that pulls credit reports, you will eventually get a call from someone wanting to know why you had to pull a credit report. You might tell them that you are a debt collector. They may rant and rave about how they think you have violated the FCRA, and that they will sue you. You might tell them you followed all the laws to “take their best shot, and you’ll see them in court”. Chances are that you will never hear from them again.
To play it safe, make sure you get an acknowledgment of assignment in your possession from the original judgment creditor, before you pull a judgment debtor’s credit report.