A proposed class action claims Countryside Chevrolet/Buick/GMC, Inc. has pulled consumers’ credit reports without authorization to do so and “under false pretenses.”
According to the 10-page lawsuit, a salesperson at the Beaver Dam, Wisconsin business accessed the two plaintiffs’ credit reports after the consumers both expressly told him not to and indicated that they would be paying for the car in cash with no need for financing.
Per the case, the defendant’s apparent policy of accessing credit reports without authorization has caused damage to consumers’ credit scores, invaded their privacy and possibly created a false impression that they are high-risk credit customers.
The plaintiffs say they visited Countryside’s dealership in 2018 to inspect and test-drive a 2018 Chevy Malibu they were interested in purchasing. The lawsuit claims the consumers represented to the defendant’s salesperson that they would be paying cash for the vehicle and were not interested in any financing. The plaintiffs “explicitly instructed” the salesperson not to conduct a credit check, according to the complaint.
After reaching an agreement on the purchase price of the vehicle, the salesperson asked the plaintiffs for their Social Security numbers to “complete” the purchase, the suit says. While reiterating that they were not interested in financing and would be paying cash, the plaintiffs “reluctantly” provided their Social Security numbers after being reassured by the salesperson that he would not run a credit check, the case alleges.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs ultimately decided not to purchase the Malibu due to the dealership’s insistence that they would be assessed an extra fee if they paid with a cashier’s check.
The case alleges that both plaintiffs received in July 2018 a letter from Countryside that indicated their Experian and Trans Union credit reports had been accessed a month prior because they had “inquired about doing business with Countryside Auto Group.” During a follow-up call, one of the plaintiffs asked the defendant’s salesperson why their credit reports were pulled, and was told that it was “standard procedure” to obtain the credit reports of potential buyers, according to the suit.
Per the complaint, Countryside never received the plaintiffs’ authorization to access their credit reports and obtained their “sensitive personal information” under false pretenses by misrepresenting to Experian and Trans Union that the individuals were applying for financing. The suit alleges the auto dealer has violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The lawsuit claims the defendant’s “hard inquiry” remains on the plaintiffs’ credit reports years later and has damaged their creditworthiness by creating the impression that they were denied financing by Countryside.
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