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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Unauthorized Credit Report Inquiry

    It's not exactly a debts/collections post, but I think this is the closest category...

    I have internet and cable tv service with Comcast for many years. Comcast hit my Equifax credit report on September 28, 2011.

    I hadn't made any changes to my service, hadn't moved, and wasn't late on my bill, so I immediately wrote them a letter asking why the inquiry was made. I spoke with a representative who handles credit pulls, and she said there was no reason for a credit pull on my account, and no record that Comcast had pulled a report for my social security number. She agreed to contact Equifax to request the pull to be removed.

    I subsequently sent Comcast a letter stating that Comcast had already admitted it had no permissible purpose to pull my credit, so was liable for a $1,000 penalty under FCRA 616 and 617, and the 1998 FTC opinion letter Greenblatt. I gave them a 30 day period to settle the matter for $1,000, and stated if they didn't, I would persue my rights, seek to also have a fine of $1,000 owed to Equifax, and repayment for any legal costs incurred.

    A supervisor in their executive office spoke with me, and stated that they can't find a record of pulling the credit report, so would not be discussing the $1,000 penalty. He said the documentation I sent them from Equifax is insufficient, since for all he knew, Equifax could have made an error instead of Comcast.

    He also stated that the terms and conditions on my account required arbitration.

    I've handled several lawsuits pro se, and have no issues proceeding with one here.

    Question 1 - First, sound like I have a decent case?

    Question 2 - Am I better off filing a lawsuit, or seeking arbitration through the American Arbitration Association? By better off, I mean: having a fair decision (I've generally thought of arbitration as leaning against consumer rights); and, increasing the chance of Comcast settling to avoid a lengthy process. Comcast's terms do state they will advance all arbitration filing fees and arbitrator's costs and expenses upon written request. It states I'm responsible for all additional costs including but not limited to attorneys or expert witnesses. It also states that if the proceeding is decided in Comcast's favor, I have to reimburse them for all advanced costs.

    Question 3 - If I filed a lawsuit, would it need to be in federal district court, since FCRA is a federal law? (Filing fee is $350.) I'm not thrilled with small claims in general, but I'm under the impression that wouldn't be a choice since it's a federal law.

    Question 4 - Depending on answer to #3, whether I filed in federal or state court, how have mandatory arbitration clauses been working? (If state, Michigan.) I never signed a contract with Comcast, so it's an implicitly agreed to contract by my continued use of their service.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Unauthorized Credit Report Inquiry

    I am not going to speculate on what a court or arbitrator might make of your claim that they checked your credit, or their defense that it is a clerical error by Equifax, as I have no evidence to look at. I am also not going to speculate as to whether you would be better off filing a lawsuit or entering arbitration, or whether they could successfully force you into arbitration if you file a lawsuit. I can say this: Arbitration can be very expensive, and if you're ordered to repay the cost (or half the cost) that could translate into a huge obligation.

    FCRA violations can be pursued in either state or federal court. If you choose to file in state court I suggest looking to your state's consumer laws (e.g., the Michigan Consumer Protection Act) to see if there's a state court cause of action you can add on, and whether doing so might minimize the chances of being pulled into arbitration.

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