A proposed class action claims Fluent Home, LLC and the Bank of Missouri (which does business as Fortiva Retail Credit) have violated federal law during door-to-door home security system sales by procuring consumer reports on potential customers and signing them up for credit cards without authorization to do so.
The plaintiff, an 80-year-old Kanawha County, West Virginia resident, says Fluent sold her a new security system with a supposed 30-day right of cancellation. The suit claims, however, that it was only after attempting to cancel the sale that the plaintiff discovered that Fluent ran her credit report and signed her up for a Fortiva credit card that she “never would have agreed to.”
According to the lawsuit, Fluent’s practice of using customers’ credit scores to determine risk-based pricing and opening Fortiva credit card accounts in their name without proper notice or authorization is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and has harmed consumers.
The plaintiff says a “maskless” Fluent Home door-to-door salesperson offered her in October 2020 a home security system for free for three months and the company’s assistance with canceling her existing home security contract. Per the case, the plaintiff was told she could cancel anytime for 30 days and provided with a pamphlet on which “30 Day ROC” was handwritten to record her right of cancellation.
While he failed to provide a contract for the sale, the Fluent Home salesperson represented to the plaintiff that her monthly payment would include amounts for security monitoring and equipment payoff, the suit says. The plaintiff allegedly paid $40 through a credit card reader on the salesperson’s tablet to activate the sale.
After a Fluent installer arrived later that evening to install equipment in the plaintiff’s home, the woman called the salesperson to cancel the sale due to the installer’s “unsatisfactory work,” according to the suit. The salesperson, the case says, “yelled at Plaintiff over the phone,” after which she informed him that the equipment would be kept safely until Fluent retrieved it. According to the complaint, Fluent never arrived to pick up the equipment.
Per the lawsuit, the plaintiff later received notice from Fortiva that she had been approved for a credit card and had a balance of over $1,000, which allegedly resulted in “harassing debt collection letters” from Fortiva. The plaintiff says she never would have agreed to open a credit card account to finance the purchase of a home security system, and that the Fluent salesperson was aware that the supposedly 30-day right of cancellation was null in light of the credit card financing.
The lawsuit alleges Fluent offers customers risk-based pricing, i.e., terms based on a review of their credit score, without providing proper notice of such. According to the case, the defendant violated several aspects of the FCRA by allowing agents to obtain consumers’ credit reports without a permissible purpose for doing so and failing to inform customers that their credit scores could impact whether they would be charged an activation fee.
“Plaintiff has never knowingly given written instructions to Fluent or Fortiva to obtain and/or release to a third party a consumer report of which Plaintiff was the subject; nor has Fluent or Fortiva ever been ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction to issue a consumer report pursuant to [the FCRA],” the complaint reads.
The case further claims that Fluent and Fortiva have unlawfully issued credit cards to consumers who never explicitly made an oral or written request or application for the cards.
Per the suit, the defendants have compromised the plaintiff’s and other customers’ credit by representing that they applied for a credit card with Fortiva.
The plaintiff, who individually lodges claims that she was fraudulently and unconscionably induced into a sales contract, alleges she has suffered “annoyance, inconvenience, aggravation, and embarrassment” due to Fluent and Fortiva’s actions and the resulting debt collection.
The lawsuit, which was initially filed in Wyoming County, West Virginia Circuit Court in February 2021, has been removed to the state’s Southern District Court.
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