Pulls and PRMs

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by jam237, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    I've been trying to figure out the best way to write this post for a while, and have written, and re-written it numerous times in varying lengths, and styles. Finally I decided to attempt to try to keep it simple. :) A monumental task for me, since I tend to be extremely verbose... :)

    The first question we need to ask ourselves is what is a consumer report, and what does the consumer report include.

    For the answers to these questions we need to look at the Definitions contained in the act itself. I've tried to narrow this list down to the definitions specifically relating to this discussion.

  2. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 2)

    In short, a consumer report is any disclosure of any information which is contained in your file, and is only permissible if allowed under Section 604. Section 603(d)(1)(A)-(B) are actually encompassed in Section 603(d)(1)(C), since those permissible purposes are further detailed in Section 604(a)(3)(A)-(C), Section 603(d)(1)(C) also includes the other permissible purposes under Section 604, including Section 604(c), the promotional, or PRM consumer report.

    This is one of the most important things to remember, no matter how limited the disclosure of information contained in your file with a consumer reporting agency, or how the data being disclosed is stored by the consumer reporting agency, that disclosure is a consumer report, because Section 603(g) specifies that "The term "file," when used in connection with information on any consumer, means all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored."

    The definition of file is intentionally broadly consuming of all information which the consumer reporting agency has because one of the purposes of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is to protect the privacy rights of all consumers. Section 602(a)(4) states that "There is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer's right to privacy."

    These are the established permissible purposes for consumer reports, allowed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    Congress did provide for disclosures of limited consumer information by a consumer reporting agency in only one other situation, the promotional, or PRM inquiry, to facilitate making an offer available by a company which the consumer has no relationship with, for that consumers benefit. The Federal Trade Commission in its recently released brief of amicus curiae, submitted in the case of Oneta S. Cole v. U.S. Capital, Inc., Autonation USA Corporation, and Jerry Gleason Chevrolet, Inc., in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

    The firm offer of credit must actually be worth something of value to the consumer to offset the invasion of privacy of their consumer reports, which the promotional, or PRM inquiry creates.

    Further, consumers have a right to defend themselves against even these invasions of privacy by choosing to opt-out of promotional disclosures of their credit information.
  3. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 3)

    Obtaining a credit report for any other purpose than is allowed under Section 604(a) or Section 604(c) is prohibited by Section 604(f), and any requests for consumer reports must be certified under Section 607.

  4. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 4)

    If a company requests, or a credit reporting agency provides a report in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they may be liable for damages to the consumer for said violations. The penalties could include imprisonment in cases where the furnisher or consumer reporting agency knowingly made the disclosures involved without a permissible purposes, or under false pretenses.

  5. Butch

    Butch New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 4)

    Nice work Jam.

  6. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 4)

    Pretty bad though when 'keep it simple', turns out to be 4 posts in length...

    I've been eatting, drinking, and sleeping Section 604 (and related sections) for a few months... :)
  7. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    What to do if a non-permissible purpose user argues that according to the definition of consumer report, its only a consumer report, if its for a permissible purpose.

    Luckily, there is caselaw to back up the preposterously absurd nature of this argument, but that doesn't prevent a company who thinks that they're on the verge of a lawsuit, and trying to think fast to see if they can side-step the legal cross-hairs with a little fancy double talk.

    St. Paul Guardian Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 884 F.2d 881, 884-85 (5th Cir. 1989)

    The puller's intent to use a consumer report for a non-permissible purpose doesn't nullify the fact that a consumer report was obtained, by calling it anything other than a consumer report.

    Otherwise, congress wouldn't have made Section 619, and Section 620 which makes knowingly and willingly obtaining information on a consumer from a consumer reporting agency (or a consumer reporting agency providing information on a consumer for a non-permissible purpose) a criminal offense subject to fines, and prison.

    Note that those sections don't refer to Consumer Report as defined by Section 603(d), but files as defined by Section 603(g), reinforcing Congress' intent that the consumer's right to privacy is guaranteed for all information contained in a consumer's file, and not just what is typically thought of as a consumer report.
  8. CAwatchdog

    CAwatchdog New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    jam, this is a good thread that is just getting NO LOVE whatsoever here, LMAO.

    Is this a consumer report?

    I send a letter to TU and request my file and enclose a $3 check (I am in Minnesota.)

    TU sends me a copy of my file.

    Why was the information collected?

    What was TU's expectation as to how I would use this information?

    Key in on the "eligibility" language...I will post some case law in time here that differentiates "consumer disclosure" from "consumer report."

    I had access to lower court decisions for a period of time and that is where I am pulling from. I dunno if I even have a published case that supports my position that TU has not sent me a "consumer report" (in the hypo above).


    Little caveat: Section 604 refers to consumer reports and 619 refers to "information." I know that <jam> hit on this above.

    It follows from this that negligent obtainment of "information" (that is NOT a "consumer report") is not actionable.
  9. CAwatchdog

    CAwatchdog New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    I have not found any case law yet that states that this is or is not a "consumer report":


    A consumer receives his/her ("file" or "consumer report") directly from a CRA.


    Experian made an argument in a case that (I think is unpublished):



    CORP., et al., Defendants

    No. 4:02 CV 1650 DON

    United States District Court, E.D. Missouri

    Experian replies that plaintiff's' "new claim" that they suffered emotional distress ostensibly upon viewing their Experian credit disclosure is barred because FCRA liability is not triggered by an error in a "consumer disclosure." Experian distinguishes a "consumer disclosure" from a "consumer report" and maintains that credit reporting agencies only have liability with respect to consumer reports sent to a third party user of information.

    I would just shift the argument to actual damages for violation of 609(a)(1). I believe that the P brought a 607(b) claim in the above case.

  10. ontrack

    ontrack New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    So should the CRA be able to send "junk" to the consumer with no consequence? Disclosure to the consumer of the actual report obtained by the user would seem to be the only effective consumer protection.

    Jam, what do you want to achieve, and from who? Is the issue still whether disclosure of PRM opt-out status is a disclosure of a report requiring a PP?
  11. ontrack

    ontrack New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    Erroneous negative information in a consumer's disclosure does produce real economic damages, to the extent the consumer is unable to take advantage of credit opportunities which would be blocked by the negative information. This damage is just as real as knowing you will be discriminated against based on race, redlining, etc. Do we need to attempt anyway, (apply or whatever), before the damage is actionable?
  12. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Re: Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)


    I read 619 and 620 to read that if a conpany or CRA requests or provides the information in a consumers 'file', in whole or in part, under false pretenses, or knowing that they had no permissible purpose for that information, that makes it a criminal violation under the FCRA.

    The key part is that these sections were made this broad to guarantee that all consumers had a right to their privacy being protected under the FCRA.

    The key to the power of the St. Paul Guardian Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 884 F.2d 881, 884-85 (5th Cir. 1989) ruling is that it makes the definition of consumer report to be based not on the actual use of that information, but the use that that information was originally obtained for. If the original information was obtained for a purpose under Section 604, its a consumer report.

    Yes, and no.

    The original information was collected to be used for purposes under Section 604, which makes portions of it a consumer report according to St. Johns.

    It is permissible to be disclosed to the consumer under Section 609(a)(1); which requires disclosure of everything in the consumers file up until the exact minute that the file was requested.

    The key is the breadth and depth of the definition of file. The only thing that they are allowed to not disclose as a part of the consumer disclosure is the credit scores, or related information.

    Think of a 'consumer report' as a sub-section of your 'file'.

    This is the key part, the CRA's are required to disclose under Section 609 *MORE* information not less, Section 609(a)(1) requires that every piece of information in the broader definition of 'file' to be disclosed.

    This means that every piece of information that they have, in any format, must be disclosed to the consumer upon their request for their 'file'.

    This includes every detail of every single trade line, including the details which they do not disclose on their 'consumer reports'.
  13. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Re: Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    Well, that's what started this adventure in obsession... ;-)

    But some others had expressed a roadmap into my insite on this question of what exactly is a pull, and PRM, and permissible purposes of each.

    In my personal case, since the information was obtained for a purpose under 604 - compliance with Section 604(e) relating to opting out of PRM's - the information as to opt-out status is maintained for a reason under Section 604, which would make it fall under the definition of consumer report under St. Pauls.

    Long story short, not only was it for a non-PP under Section 604(c), it was actually obtained for the exact mirror opposite reason, to 'NOT" send me a firm offer of credit or insurance, and the company didn't have a PP under the remainder of Section 604.

    (Even the original FOC is in dispute now thanks to PA classifying offers like the bank's alleged FOC as fraudulent; and Cole arguing that a FOC which is a sham is not a bona fide FOC.)

    The CRA is still denying that any disclosure occurred, which leaves as the only unpluasable theory that the company which requested it, hired a psychic to channel that information from their files, down to the exact minute which the PRM BLOCK was placed on my file.

    So my question now is: Is this disclosure really not contained in my 'file', or just not notated in the 'consumer report', like the PRMs themselves were not disclosed until after I complained about the PRMS not being disclosed?
  14. CAwatchdog

    CAwatchdog New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    OT, I don't think that a consumer ever receives a "consumer report" from a CRA unless the CRA is providing the consumer with a copy of of a consumer report that was procured by a 3rd party.

    I think that the information contained in a consumer report is necessarily "used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility..." Section 603d(1)

    I place emphasis on "eligibility." (I don't know how to underline words on CNET.)

    It may be that a consumer requests her file in order to establish her own "eligibility." This is the argument that I think a consumer would have to make in order to reach the conclusion that information disclosed by a CRA may be a "consumer report" even though the information was not disclosed to a 3rd party.

    The argument will come up when a consumer makes a Section 607(b) claim based on a credit report that was furnished to the consumer but was not furnished to a 3rd party. The CRA will argue that the consumer received her "file" rather than a "consumer report." Section 607(b) expressly refers to "consumer report."


    jam can correct me if I am mistaken: I think that the goal of this thread is to get after the definition of "consumer report."


    OT, in response to your post(s) above, I think that a consumer would have a claim pursuant to 609(a)(1) if the CRA were to disclose "junk" to the consumer.


    The definition of "consumer report" is a complex, highly debatable subject--I don't claim to be "right," not even close.

    I have heard it said in at least one case that a consumer's name and (one) address does not amount to a "consumer report." I think that a consumer's name and (twenty) addresses would be a "consumer report" as this information reflects on the consumer's "mode of living." Section 603(d)(1). This information may also reflect on a consumer's "personal characteristics." (I am hinting towards Experian's "Personal Information" section.)
  15. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    The consumer disclosure is an all inclusive disclosure of everything in your consumer 'file' with the CRA, in other words, if the CRA only discloses what is in your 'consumer report' which is a sub-section of your consumer 'file' then they're not complying with Section 609(a)(1).

    The biggest headache I had was trying to define the relation between 'file' and 'consumer report'.

    In many ways, this is what took me the longest time of scrinching my eyes reading the FCRA until my I had a "EURIKA, I FOUND IT!" moment.
  16. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    You don't know how to [ u ]underline[ /u ]
  17. CAwatchdog

    CAwatchdog New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    jam, we have a difference of opinion re the meaning of the term "consumer report." We have no difference of opinion on the meaning of the term "file."

    I concede that the information contained in a consumer report is a subset of the information contained in a file.

    The distinction that I am making lies in the purpose for which the information is collected in response to:

    (a) a consumer's request for information on herself, and

    (b) a credit user's request for information on a consumer

    In the first instance, the information is not collected by the CRA for the purpose of establishing the consumer's "eligibility." Section 603(d)(1). Therefore, the information that is collected does not amount to a "consumer report."

    In the second instance, the information is collected by the CRA for the purpose of establishing the consumer's eligibility. Therefore, the information that is collected does amount to a "consumer report."

    Although the "information" may be identical in both (a) and (b), a CRA does not communicate information to a consumer because the CRA believes that the consumer intends to use that information in order to establish the consumer's own eligibility.

    Of course, I am not advocating the absurd argument (made by at least one defendant) that the ultimate purpose for which the information is actually used determines whether or not the information amounts to a consumer report. I believe that you referred to a case above where the D made this ludicrous argument: since the information was used for an impermissible purpose, the info was not a "consumer report."

    I don't think that there is any case law that hits on the point that I am making above. One day, we may see a case on this issue.

    I am ill prepared to discuss PRMs, pardon me. :)
  18. fun4u2

    fun4u2 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    Hi guys;
    Iv'e been away for a while, want to jump in and ask a quick question about this whole prm issue.

    I have a PRM block same as jam, and from what I understand PRM are promos.

    so if I recieved a solicitation offer in the mail (even with a prm block)

    there should be an inquiry appearing on some report somewhere correct?

    none of my CR show any recent inquiries hard or soft but yet I have recently received numerous credit offers in the mail,

    concerned by this I contacted & verified with the big 3 CRA that the PRM block is still in effect.

    these companies won't give me any info how they obtained my name, mailing address etc.

    and the CRA denies any knowledge of said company is there any other option to find out what is going on?
  19. ontrack

    ontrack New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    How long has your PRM block been in effect?

    Where are you pulling your reports?

    I have found the printed reports mailed straight from the CRA to be the most complete, and some of the on-line ones, even from a CRA site, appear to leave PRM, AR, and some payment history information off.

    I have even seen differences in details between a report pulled via Myfico and the corresponding report pulled on-line from the same CRA that myfico used, with the Myfico containing more complete history information. I have seen similar variations in address information and accuracy. They may be "credit reports" similar to information sent to the CRA customers, instead of a consumer credit file with complete inquiry information.
  20. jam237

    jam237 New Member

    Pulls and PRMs (Part 5)

    Not all promotional offers come from the CRA's giving out the information.

    If you haven't optted-out of information sharing with all of your account companies, one of the companies that you have an account with can sell your name for offers as well.

    That said.

    When I got the two PRMs that started everything, I sent a written PRM BLOCK request, and that actually *STARTED* getting the 'missing' PRMs to start appearing on my reports... ;-)

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