In Pyle v. First Nat. Collection Bureau, 2012 WL 5464357 (E.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Oberto dismissed a FCRA claim asserting that a debt collector did not have a permissible purpose to pull a credit report for purposes of debt collection.
Plaintiff asserts that a consumer report cannot be obtained for the purposes of collecting a debt on a credit card account, because a credit card account is not defined as a permissible account and is thus clearly excluded. ¶ Plaintiff’s assertion has been rejected by the courts. “The definition of ‘account’ in § 1681a(r)(4) provided by the plaintiff, however, is under a heading concerning ‘Credit and debit related terms.’ Plaintiff has made no showing that such usage of the term is applicable to the word ‘account’ as used in section 1681b(a)(3) (A), which does not deal with credits and debits.” DeMaestri v. Asset Acceptance Capital Corp., Nos. 11–CV–01671–72–WJM–MJW, 2012 WL 1229907, at *4 (D.Colo. Mar.14, 2012) (report and recommendation adopted, DeMaestri v. Asset Acceptance Capital Corp., 11–CV–01671–72 WJM–MJW, 2012 WL 1229940 (D.Colo. Apr.12, 2012). Section 1681b pertains to permissible purposes of consumer reports and states in pertinent part that a report may be furnished to a person who “intends to use the information in connection with a credit trans-action involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A). “[C]ollection of a debt has been consistently found to be a permissible purpose for seeking a consumer’s credit report under § 1681b(a)(3)(A).” DeMaestri, 2012 WL 1229907, at *4. ¶ Several courts have found that obtaining a consumer credit report in an attempt to collect on a credit card account debt is permissible under Section 1681b. See, e.g., Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Mgmt., 641 F.3d 28, 34 (3d Cir.2011) (The Plaintiff had “accumulated credit card debt” that led to the defendant “ultimately … accessing [the plaintiff’s] credit report to collect on his delinquent accounts. Section 1681b(a)(3)(A) au-thorizes the use of consumer information under such circumstances.”); Rodriguez v. Cavalry Portfolio Servs., LLC, No. 11–CV–1837–LAB–MDD, 2012 WL 726474, at *1 (S.D.Cal. Mar.6, 2012) (The plaintiff “alleges that [the defendant] pulled his credit report for an improper purpose. He is wrong. A debt collector may access a consumer’s credit report in the course of collecting a credit card debt from that consumer.”); Miller v. Rubin & Rothman, LLC, No. CIV. 10–2198 MJD/JJK, 2011 WL 4359977, at *3–*4 (D.Minn. Sept.19, 2011) (finding that the defendant obtaining consumer reports in an attempt to collect on plaintiff’s Capital One credit card account debt “was made with a permissible purpose under 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A)”); Miller v. Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP, No. 1:06–CV–207–TS, 2007 WL 2694607, at *11 (N.D.Ind. Sept.7, 2007), aff’d, 309 F. App’x 40 (7th Cir.2009) (finding that the defendant’s obtaining a consumer report in an attempt to collect on a Providian credit card debt was permitted under Section 1681b(a)(3)(A) as “debt collection”). ¶ In an unpublished Ninth Circuit opinion, the court held that “requesting a credit report with the intent to collect on a debt is among the ‘permissible purposes’ listed in the FCRA. 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A).” Thomas v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 325 F. App’x 592, 593 (9th Cir.2009). The defendant in Thomas was attempting to collect on a debt owed by the plaintiff for a Visa credit card account. See Thomas v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. CV 05–1725–MO, 2007 WL 764312. At *1 (D.Or. Mar. 8, 2007) (establishing that the debt was for a Visa credit card). ¶ Plaintiff’s contention that Defendant could not obtain Plaintiff’s credit report to collect credit card account debt is “baseless.”
In Thao Pham v. Solace Financial, LLC, 2012 WL 5471160 (N.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Whyte held the same thing.
Defendant Solace is a debt collection company that works for lenders in the home mortgage industry, acting as a liaison between lenders and borrowers. Levy Decl. ¶ 2. Defendant claims that it acts as a collection agent for Bank of America, and “has en-tered into a collection agreement with Bank of America whereby it is authorized to handle the Bank’s collection efforts, and to negotiate settlement on the Bank’s behalf.” Id. ¶¶ 4–5. ¶ At some point after November 2007, plaintiff’s account with Bank of America became overdue. Id. ¶ 5. Defendant claims that later, in January 2012, it received plaintiff’s account from Bank of America and began collection efforts on it. Id. ¶ 6. Defendant then negotiated a tentative settlement of the account with plaintiff. Id. Defendant avers that, after it sent the proposed settlement terms to Bank of America for consideration, plaintiff sent defendant a cease and desist letter and several requests for loan documents pursuant to FDCPA and other causes of action. Id. Plaintiff then brought suit on May 11, 2012. ¶ Plaintiff argues that defendant obtained his credit report with no permissible purpose, in violation of FCRA. ¶ . . . Plaintiff does not dispute that he voluntarily entered into the loan agreements with Bank of America or that those loans expressly authorize Bank of America to obtain his credit report. Neither does plaintiff dispute that debt collection is a permissible purpose for pulling a credit report so long as the consumer voluntarily initiated the underlying trans-action that created the debt. Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665, 675 (9th Cir.2010). Additionally, defendant argues that, because it acted as Bank of America’s agent, it acted permissibly. The court agrees that an agent acts with its principal’s permissible purpose in this context. See, e.g., Weidman v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 338 F.Supp.2d 571, 577 (E.D.Pa.2004) (finding that an entity that “request[s] credit reports on behalf of a contracting lender … acts as an agent of that lender”). For these reasons, the court considers only whether defendant has shown that its status as Bank of America’s agent is not in genuine dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–33, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). ¶ . . .Therefore, the court finds that defendant has made out a prima facie case that it acted as Bank of America’s agent (and thus permissibly) when it obtained plaintiff’s credit report, and plaintiff has as yet failed to produce evidence putting that fact into genuine dispute.