In Wisdom v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, 2012 WL 170900 (D.Ariz. 2012), Judge Snow held that FCRA does not authorize recover for commercial losses.
The FCRA defines a “consumer” as “an individual,” 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(c), and provides for the recovery of “any actual damages sustained by the consumer.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681 o(a)(1). It does not provide for protection for business entities, and courts have held since its initial passage that “both the legislative history of the Act and the official administrative interpretation of the statutory terminology involved compel the conclusion that the Act does not extend coverage to a consumer’s business transactions.” Sizemore v. Bambi Leasing Co., 360 F.Supp. 252, 254 (D.C.Ga.1973) (a credit report issued in connection with a commercial lease application not protected by the FCRA). The FTC has interpreted the FCRA to deny protection for credit reports requested for commercial purposes, writing that “[a] report on a consumer for credit or insurance in connection with a business operated by the consumer is not a consumer report and the Act does not apply to it.” FTC Interpretation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 16 C.F.R. Pt. 600, App. § 603 cmt. (6)(B). ¶ Plaintiffs may not claim as damages any actual losses sustained by a business that is not a party to this action, regardless of the cause of those losses. Plaintiffs include among their damages “lost business and profits,” and state that “Mr. Wisdom’s business has been drastically damaged.” (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 34, 56). Neither Stand World Inc. nor any other business en-tity is a party to this action. Losses suffered by Stand World Inc. or any other business entity predicated upon the fact that Plaintiffs could not supply them with credit are simply not Plaintiffs’ losses, and can-not be recovered in this lawsuit. FN3 Nor can Plaintiffs claim personal damages predicated upon the losses of an independent corporation which it was their custom to supply with personal credit. Therefore, to the extent losses described in the complaint as “lost busi-ness and profits,” or attributed to “Mr. Wisdom’s business” are in fact the losses of a non-party corporation, they cannot be recovered in this action regardless of their root cause. ¶ Plaintiffs go to some lengths to argue that FCRA authorizes recovery of commercial losses, particularly after the 1996 amendments regarding furnishers were added. (Doc. 36 at 3–5). Even were this the case, it would not grant them the right to recover losses sustained by a non-party corporation. The Ninth Circuit has found that a consumer could recover for loss of credit when he had obtained that credit because he “hoped to start a business and … [hoped to] have a clean credit history when he sought financing for the venture.” Dennis v. BEH–1, LLC, 520 F.3d 1066, 1069 (9th Cir.2008). In Dennis, how-ever, the losses were sustained in fact by the consumer. The business which he hoped to start did not yet exist, and he was not suing for losses it had sustained. The Ninth Circuit has further found that when a consumer requests what appears to be a credit report from a CRA, “the report is a consumer report within the meaning of FCRA,” even if the credit is put to a different purpose. Comeaux v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., 915 F.2d 1264, 1274 (9th Cir.1990). Nevertheless, it has not granted any consumer the right to recover damages sustained by a third-party entity that is not itself a “consumer” under FCRA.