Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Hi! So good to hear from you!
I think you made the right decision on the posting. I am glad you took some time to think about it; it makes a difference, doesn't it? :)
You're right on your assessment and interpretation of the law--you're always impressing me!
If you can show that the alarm company willfully violated its obligations under the FCRA, then you may be entitled to recover up to all of the following damages:
Basic Damages (pick one):
actual (provable) damages (no limit), or
statutory damages damages between $100 and $1,000 (to get these you don't have to prove that the violation harmed you).
If the violator was an individual who lied to get your credit report, or used it for an improper purpose, then the greater of:
your actual, provable damages (no limit), or
$1,000 flat (no minimum).
Punitive damages, as decided by the court.
Attorneys fees and costs.
You can file a complaint in either federal court or your state's court. There is a time limit (called a statute of limitations) for filing a FCRA complaint. It must be filed no later than two years after the date you discovered the violation, OR five years after the date of the violation.
Most of the time, people just file the actions in small claims so they do not have to pay an attorney. There are some online resources out there that tell you how to go about this, although I haven't really viewed any and cannot vouch for their content.
So even though you are entitled to your costs and attorney's fees, if you cannot find a consumer protection attorney to help you (you can use www.martindale.com to search), then you may want to think about a small claims case.
Also, with regard to the unsolicited calls, you can report this company to the FTC by filing a complaint here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en. It will not affect your potential lawsuit in any way.
Hope this helps, Bill!
As always, just let me know if you have any further questions on anything! Thanks so much!
Thank you: you state: If you can show that the alarm company willfully violated its obligations under the FCRA, then you may be entitled to recover up to all of the following damages: How do I show that???? How do I know their obligations? I read they can not pull a hard inquiry on my credit without my permission ..which is a signature.....their "plan" was to have thier installer come to my home the next day and have me sign the paperwork..... giving them permission..... and installing at the same time.......to save their time they went ahead and ran my credit.... based on my name, address and birthdate which i gave them on the phone..........they would then cover their butt by getting the signature.... after the fact...
The date on the credit pull should be at least one day before the contract, right?
so how is this proved? I just file a sm claims case in my neighborhood court..and just state they violated the regs of the FCRA and I want 1K..... it just does not sound this simple......it appears to me that companies can easily violate the FCRA regs... and the consumer can not do anything about it........... every lawyer I've talked to tells me they can't handle this.....it seems open and shut.... filing some paperwork.......they violated the regs.....and pay the 1K fine......I have not been harmed........just pissed that they pulled my personal credit history in violation of the FCRA...
All you have to do is allege in your complaint that this is what they did. If you have your credit report showing the hard pull and the signed copy of your contract, then the dates won't match. But even if they show the same dates or you don't have this evidence, once you file the complaint saying that they did this, the burden is on them to prove that they didn't.
An unauthorized hard pull violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer. This says: "(c) Furnishing reports in connection with credit or insurance transactions that are not initiated by the consumer.(1) In general. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report relating to any consumer pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) of subsection (a)(3) in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer only if(A) the consumer authorizes the agency to provide such report to such person; or(B)(i) the transaction consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance; (ii) the consumer reporting agency has complied with subsection (e); and (iii) there is not in effect an election by the consumer, made in accordance with subsection (e), to have the consumer's name and address excluded from lists of names provided by the agency pursuant to this paragraph."This means that, when the consumer does not initiate the transaction that forms the basis for the request for the credit report, the credit bureau may only provide the consumer report to a third party if the consumer consents to the disclosure OR if there is a firm offer of credit or insurance, the consumer reporting agency has complied with 15 U.S.C. 1681b(e) and, the consumer has not opted out of pre-screening lists (i.e. the consumer has taken his or her name off the list of consumers who accept preapproved offers). If the consumer did not initiate the transaction and neither of the two other exceptions apply, then there is no permissible purpose for the disclosure of the consumer report."(2) Limits on information received under paragraph (1)(B). A person may receive pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) only(A) the name and address of a consumer;(B) an identifier that is not unique to the consumer and that is used by the person solely for the purpose of verifying the identity of the consumer; and(C) other information pertaining to a consumer that does not identify the relationship or experience of the consumer with respect to a particular creditor or other entity."So if the consumer neither initiates the transaction nor consents to the credit report's disclosure (i.e. when the basis for the consumer report's disclosure is that there was a firm offer of credit or insurance), the credit bureau can not disclose the whole consumer report but is only allowed to disclose the name and address of the consumer and other non-credit related information. In other words, the credit bureau returns a list of names and addresses of consumers who meet the criteria provided by the company requesting the credit report."(3) Information regarding inquiries. Except as provided in section 609(a)(5) [1681g], a consumer reporting agency shall not furnish to any person a record of inquiries in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by a consumer."In addition to not being able to produce credit information, subsection (3) makes it clear that the consumer reporting agency can not furnish the record of inquiries (i.e. the list of companies receiving that consumer's credit report within the last two years) when the transaction is not initiated by the consumer."(d) Reserved."
The thing is, Bill, you may want to sue both the company and the credit bureau that allowed them to pull the hard report as they both may be liable here. If the company defrauded the credit bureau and presented something with your signature, or, more likely, said that a hard offer for credit had been extended to you for their services, then the company will be solely liable. If, however, the company did not fraudulently induce the credit bureau to give them a hard copy of your credit report, then the company and the credit bureau are both liable to you.
You do not have to prove damages in a case like this. As I mentioned before, the statutes allow an award of anywhere between $100-$1,000 UNLESS you do have damages, and then you can get more than that based on the damages you can prove.
If the company lied to the credit bureau and received the report through fraud, then you get the full $1,000, unless again, you can prove you actually had damages and that they were more than the $1,000.
You are also able to ask for punitive damages (damages awarded in order to deter others from engaging in this type of behavior, often thought as a "punishment"), as well as any attorney's costs and fees, if you have them.
I never signed squat. It was a telemarketer.............that called.... asked if I wanted a "free" alarm system (I am not interested in pursuing the calling company...because of their DNC violation.... the alarm company charges a monthly fee for the monitoring.... and I know they sell the contract to the parent company...... the parent company only buys the contract if the customer (me) is credit worthy......they look for a acceptable credit score.......... so this alarm "dealer" ran my credit with no signed release to get my score..once they realized I was a "good" customer they would then send their installer here... and along with his paperwork would be my signature allowing for the credit check....
so what determines whether the fine or damages is 100 bux or 1,000 bux? and I just filed this in small claims........ In w
quincy, Ma..... and they notifiy them.............they naturally don't fly across the country.... or even pay for a lawyer......so they default.........who decides the fine then? and how do I recover it..........to me it all smacks of regulations that are impossible to enforce or the average consumer can not get enforcement without paying some lawyer thousands..... and most lawyers just tell me they're not interested......."not my strike zone" means I don't want this crap.... not a payday for me........ You and I both know this is the case.........so I need to find some lawyer that can handle the entire steps... from beginning to end... and get paid by the defendent..... if not it just seems another waste of my time.........these alarm dealers can continue doing this everyday without any reprecussions.... Bill
The judge determines that based on the violation, the evidence and the degree of willfullness.
You should of course plead for the highest amount of damages available, and then let the judge determine what they are.
I can't really help as far as the attorneys are concerned. I can only suggest you try some consumer attorneys at this site: www.martindale.com or Google to see if there are any FCRA attorneys in the MA area.
And you're right, once again, you're up against something that may not be worth it in the long run. This is because even if you get a judgment, you will have to collect on it by domesticating the judgment in CA and then seeking a Writ of Execution there. Of course, this is only IF the company does not pay you willingly. Seeking to domesticate a judgment and then seeking a Writ can be difficult, time consuming and costly. It is definitely something you need to consider.
I know we haven't talked about this aspect of it, but if you want to get the hard pull off your credit, a letter to the credit bureau challenging it should suffice. This will do nothing to the alarm company, but it is just part of the bigger picture when you look at what has happened here.
oK I don't give a flying you know what about the inquiry on my report......my credit score is 847........... I've never had a late payment in my life.... I was also in the alarm biz.... just like this "yahoo"... and did 150 systems monthly but my salesmen went physically to every appt and had a customer sign an agreement once they bought the deal.... only then when my guys turned in or faxed the contract would I then call a special number set up with Trans Union to pull the score.........I could pull credit scores on 2,500 + potential customers a year... and only had a few with scores around 800 or higher......only old shits like me 61 with impeccable credit all their lives will have a score in the 800 range...... so I don't care about the inquiry... it means nothing......it just pisses me the F off that they can easily violate the FCRA without ANY worry ..... so I'm to do all of this.... and then seek a writ of exectuion... bla bla bla........(not picking on you)... but .. all these "hoops" for this...? NOT... so the rules, regulations and fines are just bullshit......because NOBODY has the time or the means to follow up... It is just a lot of crapola...' Maybe I'll call TransUnion.... and complain to them.......so they can bust the balls of the alarm company.........they probably do this all the time and they know nobody will or can do anything about it.......the fines, rules... mean zero..... Maybe I'll go to that site you gave me and see if there is anyone that can handle this from top to bottom. I do not have the time..... to go to court.... as far as that company that ripped me off........yes... my anger or revenge factor... cooled of.... It is simply not worth the chance of having them sue me and costing me bux..... I'd love to someday post...exactly what happened.... as that would warn others with the same circumstances....... but the details... would prompt them to know it was me.... and regardless of the time lapse... they could still come after me.........and some stupid judge.... decides in their favor and they get a judgement of 300K........ Posting some generic gibberish that they can not do what they claim won't cut it...........a prospect would only be wary of them when their circumstances are similar to mine.....
Lady: I'm dropping this issue. It is keenly obvious that the regs of the FCRA are easily violated... just government bullshit... These companies that blatantly violate them know the consumer is not going to do anything. I may have another issue at the end of the week... A new subject and a new fee. I had difficulty in getting in touch with you this time.... cust. support was more than willing to have another lawyer take care of me. What is the EXACT method to get in touch with you?
Thanks but I'm not interested in any subscription.... It's worth it to talk to you....and you give good advice. And the picture they post of you is hot. Although I know it is not you.. :>) My brother is a lawyer, but a dickhead....and never helps me. I've also been paying an attorney $1,500 retainer for years... and he tells me it's not his field of expertise......I told him to F off and find another sucker ... right now I'm just waiting for my son to get accepted to dental school..... and I'm "finished" with my life's goals...... ttul