9th Circuit affirms district court’s ruling in FCRA dispute
On July 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court’s ruling that the FCRA did not require a consumer reporting agency (defendant) to examine disputed items on an individual’s credit report because the credit repair company—and not the individual—submitted the request to the defendant. Under the FCRA, consumer reporting agencies are required to assess disputed credit file items when a consumer notifies the agency directly. However, the court stated that the plaintiff did not play a part in drafting, finalizing, or sending the letters that the credit repair company sent to the defendant on his behalf, and therefore granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, ruling that the defendant’s duty to reinvestigate the claims relied upon the plaintiff himself submitting the dispute notifications.
On appeal, the 9th Circuit agreed with the district court that the defendant “did not act unreasonably” and was correct in entering summary judgment. “This case does not involve a letter sent to a consumer reporting agency by a consumer’s attorney,” the appellate court wrote in clarifying that the holding was limited to the facts of the specific case. “Nor does it involve one family member assisting another by sending a letter on the other’s behalf. It does not even involve a letter sent by a credit repair agency that a consumer reviewed and approved before it was submitted. We do not decide whether, in any of these circumstances, a consumer reporting agency would have a duty to reinvestigate. We only hold that, in this case, where [the plaintiff] played no role in preparing the letters and did not review them before they were sent, the letters sent by [the credit repair company] did not come directly from [the plaintiff].”