Genuine Data Services, LLC (GDS) faces a proposed class action that alleges the consumer reporting agency sells to third parties, including prospective landlords, outdated traffic citation information.
According to the 16-page suit, GDS has misreported traffic violations as criminal convictions in states including Virginia, where many such traffic infractions have been classified as non-criminal. As the case tells it, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits the reporting of non-criminal infractions that occurred more than seven years prior to the report.
The lawsuit claims that GDS has no process in place to determine whether a traffic violation is a criminal offense and has instead unlawfully reported outdated information to third parties for use in consumer reports.
“Defendant simply obtains the records as they are from its third-party data vendor and inserts them into reports without substantive review or consideration as to whether they fall outside any of the permissions in [the FCRA] for reporting of older records,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff in the case says he applied to rent an apartment in South Carolina at The Nexus at West Alex apartment complex in December 2019 and was required to undergo a background check as part of the application process. Per the suit, the plaintiff’s prospective landlord requested the man’s consumer report from The Leasing Desk, who in turn requested criminal record information from GDS.
The case says GDS reported that the plaintiff was found “Guilty in Absentia” for a “NO CO TAG-B” traffic infraction, which reportedly occurred in Virginia almost two decades prior to the report. The lawsuit notes that Virginia is among 22 states that have reclassified “the bulk of minor traffic offenses” as non-criminal. Because the plaintiff’s offense was non-criminal and more than seven years old, GDS violated the FCRA by including it in the man’s consumer report, the suit alleges.
Per the case, The Nexus at West Alex denied the plaintiff’s rental application as a result of the outdated traffic information in his credit report.
The lawsuit contends that GDS has no process in place to remove outdated non-criminal convictions from the information reported about consumers. According to the suit, GDS “believes there is greater economic value in selling over-inclusive consumer reports than in producing accurate reports.”
The plaintiff looks to represent anyone residing in a state that comprises the federal Fourth Judicial Circuit who was the subject of a report sold by the defendant within the past five years and through the date a class list is prepared and which report contained a traffic infraction that predated the report by seven years.
The plaintiff initially filed a case against GDS in Virginia that was dismissed in January 2022 after the judge found that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
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