Open Letter to Experian North America Credit Bureau CEO Mr. Craig Boundy

This letter has a follow-up that has also been published on this website.

A copy of the letter published below was delivered to the following person and institution:

  • Craig Boundy, CEO, Experian North America, USPS Delivery Confirmation EK453364175US

Dear Mr. Boundy,

I am contacting you regarding a case that has broad ramifications. By necessity, you and your company, Experian, will have to choose either the side of providing accurate and valid information, or pleasing a big and powerful government institution. Similarly, you and your company, Experian, have to choose whether you support consumer rights, or you support making of monetary demands without providing validation that corresponding lending and borrowing transactions have taken place.

I have been documenting this case on the Internet. In accordance with the previous documentation, please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on the Internet, on StopExtortion.org so that it is accessible to the general public and to other institutions.

Further, please note that until this case is resolved, I need to keep records of the relevant correspondence. I am not able to record phone calls. Therefore, I can correspond in writing only, via regular mail.

Request

My Experian credit report contains references to non-existent student loans for which no records exist, that I have ever received the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support. Accordingly, I am hereby requesting that Experian within 30 days from the receipt of this letter investigates all the student loan records in my Experian credit report, and within 60 days, by 05/18/15 either

  • 1) furnishes conclusive proof that each student loan record in my Experian credit report results from actual lending and borrowing transactions and that I have received the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support, or
  • 2) removes all these alleged student loan records from my credit report for which there is no conclusive proof that underlying lending and borrowing transactions have occurred, and so that my credit report does not contain any residual derogatory items that are related to the said alleged student loans that have negative impact on my credit rate.

Please note, that I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Education’s FOIA Unit, and requested documents that demonstrate that lending and borrowing transactions have taken place and that I have received the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support. The Department of Education’s FOIA Unit admitted this request in August of 2013.

In response, dated 03/11/14, the Department of Education’s FOIA Unit stated that my FOIA request “was forwarded to the appropriate office within the Department to search for documents that may be responsive to my request,” and the Office of Business Operations in FSA was “unable to locate any records responsive to my request.”

Attached is a copy of this document.

By issuing this document, the Department of Education admits that it has reported records to Experian as loans without having the necessary validating proof that the corresponding loans actually ever existed and were outstanding at the time of reporting.

In letter dated 06/23/14 I requested that Department of Education must ensure that the unvalidated alleged loan records have been removed from my Experian credit report. I received a response from the Department of Education, dated 07/03/14 stating that “The length of time a notation report remains on a borrower’s record depends on the credit bureau’s policy and applicable laws.”

As an official response from an institution that has caused harm by reporting unvalidated, non-existent loan records as if these were actual loans, this kind of an attitude to problem solving is unacceptable.

Further, a government agency should not be allowed to report unvalidated loan records as if these were actual loans, while debt validation has been requested and the government agency has failed to furnish proof that its monetary demands and the alleged debt are valid. Similarly, a government agency should not be allowed to make unvalidated monetary demands, accompanied with threats. Similarly, a government agency must take responsibility for its actions and the damage it causes.

Accordingly, I hope that Experian removes the unvalidated records from my credit report promptly, without waiting until the records will be removed because of their natural aging.

Case Background

I will explain below the current situation further.

I came to the U.S. in 1989 as a political refugee from the Soviet Union. I attended state owned Rhode Island College between 1990 and 1996 as an honors student. According to publicly accessible sources the in-state cost of tuition to attend Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 ranged from $1,703 to $2,838 a year.

As a student, I did apply for financial aid. Each of the financial aid applications that I filled in contains short, couple of paragraphs long text labeled Promissory Note. Further, each of the financial aid applications that I filled in contains one line for signature and that’s where I signed these applications.

I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid that covered my cost of attending Rhode Island College.

As far as I know, as a student I did not qualify for bank loans because I was in the U.S. on a temporary visa when I first attended college, and then on Green Card until graduation, without any credit history, co-signer or collateral. Further, initially I did not have any work experience and work history either. While I was a student my income was extremely low and did not support borrowing from a bank tens of thousands of dollars.

However, the Department of Education insists that I also borrowed $46,354.00 as principal from Fleet National Bank, to which the Department of Education later added interest and fees, so that at this point the Department of Education is demanding from me over $135,000.00.

As a student, I did not live on campus. The Department of Education is unable to explain, how the $46,354.00 supposedly was used or where did it go. Considering the amount of tuition, this amount is several times bigger than I possibly could have borrowed, even if I would have received loans, and even if I would not have received financial aid that I did receive.

The Department of Education insists that because I signed the financial aid applications, I also owe most of the amounts that I applied for, even though there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever received any of that money either directly or indirectly, as tuition support.

The Department of Education does not state that all the amounts that I applied for automatically became loans. Instead, the Department of Education has picked out amounts that it insists are loans – without any evidence, that any lending and borrowing actually took place, and disregarding the fact that I did receive financial aid other than loans.

Further, please note that the Department of Education does not state that I owe money because I actually received any of the alleged loans. Instead, the Department of Education states that I owe money because I signed the financial aid applications.

In December of 2011 I received a collection letter. I responded on 12/16/2011 and requested debt validation. This case has been ongoing since then.

None of the demands have been validated. There is no validation that I ever received any of the alleged loans either directly, or indirectly, as tuition support. Similarly, there is no validation that any legally binding documents exist.

If Department of Education insists, that I owe money, then it is the Department of Education’s obligation to demonstrate that corresponding lending and borrowing took place and valid legally binding documents exist.

Instead, the over three years long dispute has so far resulted in identifying the following:

  • Initially, the Department of Education insisted that a breach of contract had occurred. However, a legally enforceable contract must be consummated by consideration which, in this case, would be my receiving student loans as the promisor from Fleet National Bank as the promisee. There is no contract that involves my receipt of student loans as the promisor from Fleet National Bank as the promisee. Thus, there is no contract involved here that has been breached.
  • As a student, I signed and submitted financial aid applications and received financial aid based on these applications. These financial aid applications do contain information on my receipt of financial aid other than loans.
  • Financial aid applications and legally binding promissory notes are different documents. However, the Department of Education is trying to serve these financial aid applications as legally binding promissory notes, even though these financial aid applications (a) are not in accordance with the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory notes, (b) do not contain the information that legally binding promissory notes must contain, and (c) do not contain information on my receipt of the alleged bank loans.
  • Thus, there are no legally binding promissory note debt instruments that I signed as a student at Rhode Island College that involved me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.
  • Accordingly, the Department of Education does not hold any valid legally binding promissory note debt instruments that involve me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.
  • No documents have been furnished that demonstrate existence of debt and debt obligations. Accordingly, the Department of Education does not own a nonexistent debt that involves me as the promisor and Fleet National Bank as the promisee.

Department of Education’s Questionable Actions

Even though I requested debt validation starting 12/16/2011 and it consequently became clear that no records exist that would validate the alleged student loan demands, the Department of Education reported the unvalidated, non-existent student loans to Experian credit bureau. The reporting was done from 06/2012 to 08/2013, and then stopped. Further, these alleged loans were only reported to one credit bureau, Experian, and not to other credit bureaus.

Based on the existing information, my conclusion is that the Department of Education is making monetary demands using faulty records.

Further, it seems that the Department of Education reported the unvalidated records as actual loans to Experian for the sake of bullying.

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Education has also been engaging in actions that I consider to be unethical at least, and also possibly fraudulent.

  • In 2012 the U.S. Department of Education sent me what it claimed to be copies of my original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements. However, it turned out that these statements were generated in 2012 by entering my current information into a computer system in 2012. I graduated from college in 1996, that is, over 15 years before the alleged original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements were generated.
  • Further, initially the Department of Education claimed that it has my original promissory notes in its possession. Later it turned out that such documents simply do not exist.
  • Further, the Department of Education sent me 1-page partial copies of my financial aid applications that I had filled in decades ago. These were copies of financial aid applications, and these were copies that were made from copies. The Department of Education claimed, however, that these were copies of my original promissory notes.
  • In the process, the Department of Education was intentionally trying to submit partial copies of financial aid applications as copies of original, fully qualifying and legally binding promissory notes.
  • It is understandable, why the Department of Education made such a claim. If there were actual loans, and if the Department of Education were the actual owner of these loans and the corresponding debt, then the Department of Education also must have the original promissory notes in its possession. However, just like the loans never existed, the Department of Education does not have the original promissory notes in its possession either.
  • Further, the Department of Education sent me separate copies of what are supposed to be back ends of financial aid applications. These back ends do not contain any names and identifiers, and, therefore, can literally belong to anybody. Yet, the Department of Education claimed that these unidentified back ends of documents are parts of my original promissory notes.
  • People at the Department of Education should know that if there are absolutely no identifiers that link two documents together, then they cannot insist that the two documents belong together simply because they put them next to each other.
  • Further, people at the Department of Education should know that if a document does not contain any names and identifiers, then they cannot insist that the document belongs to a specific individual simply because they send it to that individual.
  • Further, the Department of Education claimed that a contract had been violated. After the relevant laws were identified and addressed, it became clear that because there was no contract in the first place, no contract had been violated either. A non-existent contract cannot be violated.
  • Further, the Department of Education sent me copies of handwritten internal working documents, claiming that these are official records proving that monetary payments had been made from a guaranty agency to a bank on my behalf. However, these internal documents are not much more than copies of scratch papers that any employee could have filled in at any point in time.
  • People at the Department of Education should know the differences between internal working documents and documents that serve as proof of financial transactions.

How Your Support of Consumer Rights Can Contribute Toward Ending the Madness

The Department of Education is trying to redefine, at its convenience, what constitutes debt and debt obligations, what are legally binding promissory notes, and what are legally binding contracts.

This is plain wrong.

Similarly, the Department of Education is trying to redefine its right to report unvalidated internal records to credit bureau as if these internal records were actual loans, even though no documents exist which demonstrate that lending and borrowing transactions took place, and the alleged borrower ever received as student the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support.

These kinds of business practices do not serve the interests of this country and its business community or consumers. If government agencies can redefine legal documents and monetary obligations at their convenience, then we are in an atmosphere of unpredictability and increasing instability.

By requesting that the Department of Education must furnish proof within 30 days that all of the alleged loans resulted from actual lending and borrowing transactions, your company, Experian, will send a clear signal, that when financial transactions are being handled, we all must abide by the relevant laws and commonly accepted concepts and definitions, and that includes the U.S. Department of Education. Rogue behavior and bullying, that the Department of Education has been demonstrating, are not acceptable business practices.

Thomas Eklund

Views: 445

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