Although your potential employer or landlord or creditor may obtain a credit report on you, in order to see if they’d like to do business with you, parties may only request consumer or credit reports if they have a valid reason to do so. The complaint for this class action alleges that Parrent Smith Investigations did not have a valid reason for obtaining information on the plaintiff in this case when they pulled his credit report.
The class for this action is all natural persons living in the US who, between November 21, 2016 and the present, had their credit information pulled by Parrent Smith Investigations, Joanne Parrent, or Nichols J. Smith.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs consumer and credit reports and related matters. Among the things it sets forth is purposes for which parties may request a credit report.
These include such things as a company that is considering issuing you a credit card or other form of credit, an employer that is considering hiring you, by an entity involved in determining the capacity to pay child support, or, under certain conditions, in connection with a national security investigation. Another possibility is a person who “has a legitimate business need for the information … in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer…”
Plaintiff John Griffin says that Parrent Smith did not have any of the permissible purposes for requesting a report on him. What information were they looking for? The complaint claims that it related to “a credit transaction in which Defendants were not involved…” In fact, the complaint claims that the defendants actually obtained the report on December 13, 2016 “as part of a ‘private investigation’ it was conducting to uncover adverse information about [Griffin] to be used by a third party against him in a probate Court Proceeding.”
The complaint alleges that Parrent Smith and its principals have a practice of obtaining credit reports on people “without authorization, consent, or any permissible purpose.” It claims that the company violated the FCRA, specifically 15 USC § 1681 (b)(a)&(f), which sets forth the permissible purposes for which reports may be obtained.
According to the complaint, class members are entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 plus actual damages and reasonable fees and attorneys’ costs.