Earlier this month, a federal court in the Northern District of Illinois granted a motion to dismiss a claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b), finding that a credit score purchased by the plaintiff was not a consumer report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act because it was not disclosed to any third party.  

The plaintiff sued TransUnion Corp., TransUnion, LLC, and TransUnion Interactive, Inc. in connection with a credit score the plaintiff purchased for $39.90.  The same day the plaintiff purchased his credit score, he allegedly learned from a car dealership lender that the credit score provided to the lender was more than 100 points lower than the number of the credit score he had purchased from the defendants.  The plaintiff claimed that the discrepancy between the numbers was due to “TransUnion’s practice of using an inferior credit score calculation, ‘VantageScore,’ to produce the TransUnion Consumer Credit Scores sold to consumers such as [the plaintiff].” 

The plaintiff claimed that if he had known the score he purchased would not correspond to the score obtained by the car dealer, he would not have purchased the credit score.  The plaintiff alleged two causes of action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(f)(7)(A) and §1681e(b).  The plaintiff also asserted a claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.   

The FCRA defines a consumer report as “any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for – (A) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; (B) employment purposes; or (C) any other purpose authorized under section 1681b of this title.” 

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim under § 1681e(b), finding that the credit score the plaintiff purchased was not a “consumer report” as that term is defined by the FCRA.  The court held that the plaintiff “would not have a viable cause of action under § 1681e(b) because he was the only recipient of the TransUnion consumer credit score.  Because no third party ever received that score, it is not considered a ‘consumer report’ by the Seventh Circuit and therefore does not trigger the protections of §1681e(b).”  

This decision falls in line with various other Seventh Circuit district court decisions recognizing the threshold requirement of third party disclosure for purposes of asserting a claim under §1681e(b).  A copy of the opinion is available here.