A U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida recently granted a motion for summary judgment filed by debt collector, I.C. Systems, finding that the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence of an inadequate investigation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

In October 2022, the plaintiff noticed an item on his credit report stating he had an outstanding debt to a consumer services company. The plaintiff disputed this item with the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), claiming he was a victim of identity theft. In response, I.C. Systems, acting as a debt collector for the consumer services company verified the item’s validity, and the CRAs did not remove it from the plaintiff’s credit report.

The plaintiff filed a second dispute in January 2023. This time, I.C. Systems instructed the CRAs to remove the disputed item after receiving those instructions from the consumer services company. Despite this, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging FCRA violations for the period the item remained on his credit report.

The only question before the court was whether I.C. Systems conducted a reasonable investigation into the dispute. Section 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA requires that a furnisher conduct a reasonable investigation of consumer disputes. I.C. Systems argued that the plaintiff lacked any evidence that it failed to conduct a reasonable investigation. The debt collector supported its position by providing undisputed evidence that it only handles overdue accounts for the consumer services company and that the company had alerted the plaintiff that his account had been sent to I.C. Systems for collection.

The court noted that the plaintiff provided no depositions, affidavits, or declarations to counter I.C. Systems’ arguments. The court further noted that the plaintiff could neither rely on its own conclusory responses that I.C. Systems failed to conduct a reasonable investigation without further evidence. The mere existence of a discrepancy in the spelling of the plaintiff’s name and address in I.C. Systems’ internal records was also deemed insufficient.

The court concluded that the plaintiff failed to provide evidence on what I.C. System’s “investigation was, how the investigation was unreasonable, and what the reasonable steps would have resulted in the Defendant effectively overruling [the consumer services company’s] determination . . . that the plaintiff’s account was overdue.” Therefore, the court granted I.C. System’s motion for summary judgment.