Only under certain circumstances can a business obtain the credit report of an individual. When a business obtains the credit report of an individual it appears as a credit inquiry on a credit report. Section 1681b of the FCRA specifically lists the few circumstances by which a consumer credit report may be obtained by a business. This is because, among other reasons, credit reports contain sensitive and personal information including detailed personal identifying information (addresses, social security numbers, etc.) and extensive financially history of an individual. Unfortunately, many times businesses disregard the law, and conduct credit inquiries of consumers without any permissible purpose under the FCRA. This occurred in Santangelo v. Comcast Corp., 341 F. Supp. 3d 830 (N.D. Ill. 2018).
In Santangelo the plaintiff (Keith Santangelo) instituted a consumer class action on behalf of a putative class of individuals (i.e., a class action) for Comcast having conducted unauthorized credit inquiries. Comcast had a policy of conducting credit inquiries of prospective customers. This policy, however, was waived and no credit inquiry was supposed to occur if a prospective customer paid Comcast a $50 deposit. Mr. Santangelo paid the $50 deposit, but Comcast still obtained a credit report of Mr. Santangelo despite claiming that it would not. After Mr. Santangelo instituted a law suit against Comcast it argued that the case should be dismissed because Comcast was permitted under the FCRA to obtain (commonly referred to as a “pull”) Mr. Santangelo’s credit report even though it had previously agreed not to conduct a credit inquiry with the $50 deposit. The court disagreed with Comcast’s defense and found as a matter of law that it did not have a permissible purpose (and certainly was not authorized) to obtain Mr. Santangelo’s credit report under the FCRA.
In a world of deteriorating personal privacy it is vital that courts uphold consumer privacy rights under the law, and especially the FCRA.
If you believe a business has conducted a credit inquiry (and obtained your credit report) without permission under the law it is important to seek the guidance of a skilled FCRA and Consumer Protection Attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys, contact The Kim Law Firm, LLC today by calling 855-996-6342.