DirecTV was on the receiving end of a proposed class action in the Central District of California earlier this week alleging the direct broadcast satellite service provider violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act and California state law by pulling credit reports on consumers without a permissible purpose.  A copy of the complaint is available here.

The complaint, filed by consumer Jon Wulf Amadeus Adler, claims DirecTV LLC and a number of affiliates “routinely and systematically” run “hard” credit checks on consumers who have had no interactions with the company and who have not consented to the inquiries.  Adler claims these impermissible hard credit pulls are visible to potential creditors and have negatively affected his and the putative class members’ credit scores.

Adler alleges in his complaint that “Defendants, without permission, conducted hard credit pulls … on Plaintiff and Proposed Class Members’ credit histories, without any authorization, prior relationship or interactions initiated by Plaintiff or Proposed Class Members, which necessarily adversely affected their credit scores.”  Adler claims that he “and Proposed Class Members did not even know about the hard pulls until viewing their own credit reports.”

The FCRA allows for a “soft pull” of a consumer credit report under certain specified purposes – including when a creditor plans to extend a firm offer of credit.  Soft pulls are only visible to the consumer and do not alter a consumer’s credit score.  Hard pulls, on the other end, typically occur when a lender with whom a consumer has applied for credit reviews a credit report.  Hard pulls can impact consumer credit scores and can be seen by others.

Adler alleges violations under both the FCRA and California’s Consumer Credit Report Agencies Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.  He seeks to represent a proposed class of individuals who were subject to a hard credit pull by DirecTV without their permission within the five years prior to the filing of the complaint.  The suit seeks statutory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, civil penalties, interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

The claims against DirecTV are similar to other cases we have previously reported on, including Patel v. Comcast Corporation and Heaton v. Social Finance, Inc., the latter of which resulted in a $2.4 million class settlement.