Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C., recently filed a class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania federal court against Experian Information Solutions, the United States-based division of credit reporting agency Experian plc. The lawsuit alleges Experian systematically violates the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to provide to consumers all of the information it maintains about them.
According to the lawsuit, in 2014, our client’s then-landlord in Boston mistakenly claimed she owed $6,107 in rent. She resolved that mistaken claim without owing any money. Six years later, in February 2020, our client applied to rent an apartment in Philadelphia. The rental agent ordered a tenant screening report from a tenant screening reporting agency that uses Experian’s “RentBureau” renter information product. The report, dated February 28, 2020, inaccurately reported that our client had an open collection account of $6,107 in connection with that mistaken 2014 rent charge. Our client was notified by the landlord that her lease application was denied because of the open collection account. As a result, she was forced to seek alternative housing at a higher monthly rent.
According to the lawsuit, Experian should not have included information about the incorrect $6,017 charge in its February 2020 report because it did not include that information in the records it sent our client in May 2016 when she requested the company’s file on her. After her lease application was denied in February 2020, our client again requested a copy of all the information in Experian’s file on her, which under the FCRA the company was required to provide. When Experian disclosed to our client its file on her in February 2020, there was no mention of the $6,107 open collection claim, nor did Experian list each person to whom it provided a consumer report about her in the last year, which the FCRA required it to do.
“Experian’s apparent refusal to follow the law by providing our client and other consumers with all of the information it has on them robs them of their legal right to ensure that a credit reporting agency like Experian has accurate information about them in its files,” said Jim Francis, a name partner at Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C., and one of the lead attorneys in the case. “We believe Experian is playing a dangerous game of “keep away” that runs directly counter to Congress’s intent when it passed the FCRA and has the potential to ruin consumers’ lives thanks to the negative impact an inaccurate credit report can have on a consumer’s ability to buy a car, rent an apartment, and purchase a home.”
The lawsuit alleges Experian violated the FCRA in a number of ways. First, Experian allegedly negligently and willfully failed to provide to our client a complete copy of all the information it had in her file. Second, it allegedly negligently and willfully failed to identify each person that obtained a consumer report about our client. Third, it allegedly negligently and willfully failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information it had about our client. Fourth, it allegedly negligently and willfully failed to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information regarding our client was accurate both generally and when it reinserted that disputed information into her consumer report without proper certification and notice.
Our client brought the lawsuit on behalf of herself and all people residing in the United States for whom, for the period beginning March 5, 2016, and continuing through the date of judgment in this lawsuit, Experian has a record of providing the contents of their file to them as a result of their request but did not include rental history information that Experian RentBureau had in its possession, sold about the person, or would have sold about the person.
If you applied to rent an apartment but were denied because of a tenant screening report about you that contained incorrect information, you may have a legal claim against the company that created that report. Click here or call 215-735-8600 to schedule a free case review with a representative of Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. Located in Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco, we serve clients nationwide.