Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Michigan

My husbands father about 10 years ago had a car the he totaled. He was towed to a yard after the accident and was later auctioned off. My husband is now finding out that his father put it under my husbands SSN 10 years ago. We have talked with the towing company have had his father write letters stating it was his car. The towing place wants my husband to pay the bill. Who should I take to court to get this handled the towing company or his father? How do I go about doing this? We need this cleared up to purchase our first home. Any idea how long this takes? Please help.

Asked on 5/31/15, 7:21 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Campbell Andrew L Attorney at Law

I would need more facts. How did you suddenly find out about this? I am guessing you pulled your credit report to be able to get credit to buy a house and saw a tradeline for this debt. If that is the case then someone furnished the information to your credit file. Who sold the vehicle and was the auctioneer obligated to have paid the towing company its money or was there an obligation of the towing company to file a claim? When did your husband first discover this? I see that you want to bring an action in court but has there been any other previous action against anyone else for this debt? Was there any criminal matter involving the accident against the father whereby your father was obligated by a court order to pay the towing fee or civil litigation for any injured property or party? Did the towing company check your husband's fathers id or take any precautionary measures to determine ownership before allowing that social security number to be provided? I don't see this as a voluntary transaction so if your husbands credit report was accessed by this creditor there could be a violation of law there under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I would have to know more about this though. If your husband has been denied credit in the past because of this that could be relevant for damages. If your husband would normally have excellent credit without this debt reporting then you should be able to demonstrate some actual damages. Have you printed and saved all credit reports and credit scores? If not make sure you do that for all three and have them red flag your husbands credit for identity theft. Credit karma has a nice report that you should print out and save for your records. Does your husband and his father share the same first name? Often credit files are mixed if one is a Senior and the other is a Junior. Have the police been informed about this? Have any affidavit been filed with the credit reporting agencies? I would need more details to really figure this out. The law limits the time you have to sue. I cannot state for sure what your timelines may be but in some cases it can be just six months as a time limit. There is also an identity theft statute on point as well but you should contact a legal professional because you could have some claims. If you can solve the problem to your satisfaction it could be three months or several years if litigation is necessary but the credit monitoring process post-resolution is continuous unfortunately with identify theft. That is why if you do find that you have a cause of action and choose to pursue that, I would ask for compensation for a lifelong credit monitoring service as part of your damages.

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Answered on 5/31/15, 8:11 pm

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