United States District Court, D. Arizona
In Re Experian Information Solutions, Incorporated
Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge
before the Court are cross motions for summary judgment by
Plaintiff John McIntyre, (Doc. 243), and Defendant Experian
Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), (Doc.
245). For the following reasons, the Court grants
Defendant's motion and denies Plaintiff's motion.
thirty-one cases consolidated in this action all involve
similar factual allegations. A consumer utilized the services
of a “credit repair organization”
(“CRO”) in an effort to improve his or her credit
score. That CRO contacted Experian, a “consumer
reporting agency” (“CRA”), and, purporting
to act on behalf of the consumer, the CRO disputed the
accuracy of certain items on the consumer's credit
report. Rather than immediately investigate whether the
disputed items were accurately reported, Experian notified
the consumer that it had received suspicious correspondence
that appeared to come from someone other than the consumer,
and that Experian would not initiate a reinvestigation based
on that correspondence.
McIntyre was one of those consumers, and the parties have
designated him as the bellwether plaintiff. Much of the
factual background of McIntyre's claim is not in dispute.
On March 5, 2015, McIntyre, a resident of California,
contacted Go Clean Credit LLC (“GCC”), a CRO, to
assist him in improving his credit report. McIntyre and GCC
entered into a written agreement, which purported to
grant GCC a limited power of attorney to write and send
letters to creditors and credit bureaus on [McIntyre's]
behalf and in [McIntyre's] name and to utilize either use
[sic] [McIntyre's] electronic signature or for a GCC
representative to sign the letters on [McIntyre's]
(Doc. 282 at 2.)
at GCC's direction, McIntyre sent a “personal
information dispute letter.” (Doc. 248-2 at 23-27.) In
this letter, McIntyre disputed the accuracy of certain items
on his Experian credit report. (Doc. 248-2 at 471-76.) He
signed the letter himself and mailed it himself from his
California address. (Id.) There is no dispute that
Experian received the letter, deleted an inaccurate item from
the credit report and updated several others, and sent
McIntyre a letter to this effect.
that point on, GCC handled all the correspondence. On or
about March 18, 2015, GCC prepared a letter, addressed to
Experian, disputing nine items on McIntyre's credit
report. Experian has no record of receiving this letter; GCC
asserts that there is evidence it was sent based on a line
item in a computer record. (Doc. 282 at 3, Doc. 260 at 5).
letter, sent by GCC, soon followed. This letter was prepared
on or about April 20, 2015, and it again addressed certain
items on McIntyre's credit report. On May 8, 2015,
Experian sent McIntyre a letter stating in part:
Dear John McIntyre
We received a suspicious request in the mail regarding your
personal credit report and determined that it was not sent by
you. Suspicious requests are reviewed by Experian security
personnel who work regularly with law enforcement officials
and regulatory agencies to identify fraudulent and deceptive
correspondence purporting to originate from consumers.
In an effort to safeguard your personal credit information
from fraud, we will not be initiating any disputes based on
the suspicious correspondence. Experian will apply this same
policy to any future suspicious requests that we receive
regarding your personal credit information, but we will not
send additional notices to you of suspicious correspondence.
(Doc. 243-7 at 2.)
letter reflects Experian's policy of not investigating
disputes that appear not to have been sent directly by a
consumer. Experian investigates disputes that come directly
from a consumer, but “generally speaking” does
not process disputes that do not come directly from a
consumer. (Doc. 283 at 8.)
suit alleges that Experian's failure to immediately
investigate the disputes sent by GCC violates the Fair Credit
Reporting Act (“FCRA”) in two ways. He first
alleges that Experian failed to fulfill its duty under the
reinvestigation provision of the statute, which reads as
[I]f the completeness or accuracy of any item of information
contained in a consumer's file at a consumer reporting
agency is disputed by the consumer and the consumer notifies
the agency directly, or indirectly through a reseller, of
such dispute, the agency shall, free of charge, conduct a
reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed
information is inaccurate and record the current status of
the disputed information, or delete the item from the file .
. . before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date
in which the agency receives the notice of the dispute from
the consumer or reseller.
15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A).
also alleges violation of the reasonable procedures provision
of the statute, which reads as follows:
Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer
report it shall follow reasonable procedures to assure
maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the
individual about whom the report relates.
15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b).
McIntyre's two claims for relief alleges violations of
both provisions. Count I of McIntyre's Amended Complaint
alleges that Experian negligently violated both §
1681e(b) and § 1681i, while Count II ...