An Illinois consumer alleges in a proposed class action that AT&T Services overstepped federal law when the mobile carrier performed a hard inquiry into her credit background.
According to the lawsuit, AT&T “systematically” accesses consumers’ credit reports by falsely representing to reporting agencies that the individuals are applying for the company’s services. In doing so, AT&T falsely informs agencies such as Experian and Equifax that the consumers have an existing business relationship with the company.
Per the suit, AT&T’s conduct runs afoul of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The plaintiff claims she discovered in April 2020 that AT&T had accessed her Equifax credit report without permission to do so. The suit says the plaintiff’s report listed AT&T under a section titled “Inquiries that may impact your credit rating/score.”
According to the case, the plaintiff is not and has never been an AT&T customer and has not applied for or otherwise sought any services from the company.
“Accordingly, Plaintiff was baffled by AT&T’s request for her highly confidential credit information,” the complaint reads.
AT&T misrepresented to Equifax that the plaintiff was either applying for services or had a current business relationship with the carrier, the case alleges, arguing there was no “legitimate or lawful” need for the defendant to access the plaintiff’s credit information. As a result of AT&T’s impermissible inquiry, the plaintiff’s credit score was harmed and the woman experienced “anxiety, distress, mental anguish” and fear that she may be an identity theft victim, the case says.