Six plaintiffs have put their names on a proposed class action against Confi-Check, Inc., a holding company that oversees a stable of consumer data websites. According to the lawsuit, the defendant—which owns co-defendant subsidiaries Peoplefinders.com, Enformium, Inc., PublicRecordsNOW.com, PrivateEye.com and Advanced Background Checks, Inc.—violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Texas law by “willfully” publishing and/or selling consumers’ expunged and/or sealed criminal records.
The plaintiffs, Texas residents, specifically allege the defendants overstepped a Texas law that prohibits the publication, reporting and sale of expunged or sealed criminal records. The defendants, the plaintiffs claim, maintain inadequate procedures for ensuring they release only the most accurate and up-to-date consumer information to third parties. Such inadequacies allegedly extend to the companies’ terms of service, which the lawsuit says serve to expressly shirk any responsibility for inaccuracies in consumer reports published by the defendants. From the complaint:
“By posting the information on their websites, the Defendants made [the plaintiffs’] criminal record information available for inspection by anyone with access to the website; thus, ‘publishing’ such records under Texas law, which defines ‘publishing’ very broadly, requiring only that a background investigation website or company ‘communicate or make information available to another person in writing or by means of telecommunications and includes communicating information on a computer bulletin board or similar system.’”
The complaint goes on to point out that the defendants’ websites contain a “trap” for anyone willing to pay to see whether his or her criminal records are available for third-party viewing. Before paying to create an account on the defendants’ sites, a consumer “must agree to waive any right to pursue a trial by jury or class action,” the lawsuit says.