Three Credit Check Lawsuits Hint at Cable Company Class Action

Three separate, unrelated lawsuits filed this week allege that Comcast and DirecTV, respectively, queried the plaintiffs’ credit reports in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Two cases (Giraud-Georges v. Comcast, 0:19-cv-62632-RKA in the Southern District of Florida and Nash v. DirecTV, 2:19-cv-09032 in the Central District of California), filed earlier this week, allege that the plaintiffs, who did not have a business relationship with the respective defendants, were subject to a ‘hard’ credit report check.  In comparison to soft checks, hard checks leave a record of the check on the credit report itself and can decrease the score.  According to the Nash complaint, “Hard inquiries from entities where the consumer neither initiated the transaction, nor provided consent, are both prohibited under the FCRA and deleterious to a consumer’s credit score.”

The Nash complaint also sets the stage for a class action lawsuit, hinting that Nash or herattorneys could be aware of a larger pattern of reports.  Plaintiff’s counsel Jeff Westerman, of Westerman Law, was joined by John Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan, who specializes in nationwide class actions. 

Giraud-Georges, in the Florida case, was represented by SmithMarco, a firm focusing on credit report errors and fraud.

A third lawsuit was filed Tuesday against AT&T in the District of Arizona.  (Holmes et al v. AT&T, 2:19-cv-05469) The suit alleges that a fraudulent account existed in the plaintiff’s name, which caused her to investigate her credit report to find a ‘hard’ credit check. Much like the other plaintiffs, the Holmes were never customers of AT&T. 

There is no link between the three suits.  However, the same day the first suit was filed, Comcast’s Motion to Compel Arbitration in a similar case (Hearn v. Comcast, 1:19-cv-001198) was denied.  Arbitration is often used by major corporations to keep disputes out of the court system.  While this decision, from the Northern District of Georgia, does not bind the other courts, it may have signaled that the new cases may be able to defeat motions to compel arbitration themselves, thus greatly increasing their chances of success.