Home > Uncategorized > Inflation in Everything – Even the FCRA

Inflation in Everything – Even the FCRA

March 25, 2011

Most of my FCRA experience has involved defending private civil lawsuits, in which an individual, small business, or putative class of plaintiffs sues a credit bureau, reseller, or furnisher of credit information.  But FCRA lawsuits can (and are) also brought by the Federal Trade Commission, which usually files and settles lawsuits simultaneously after some behind-the-scenes negotiations over a common industry practice that the FTC believes is unlawful.

I just learned that the FTC can seek more statutory damages for an alleged FCRA violation than a private plaintiff can seek, and the FTC’s damages increase for inflation while private plaintiffs’ damages do not.  Here’s the deal:

*  Private plaintiffs can seek statutory damages of $100 to $1000 per FCRA violation.  15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681n.

*  The FTC can seek statutory damages of $2,500 per FCRA violation.  15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681s.

* The FTC adjusts its maximum statutory damages to keep up with inflation.  The $2,500 that is written in the statute is now $3,500.  See http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/12/civilpenalty.shtm

Moral of the story?  If you are an FCRA defendant, it may be better to be sued by a private plaintiff than by the FTC.  (Though of course, it’s better not to be sued at all).

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized
%d bloggers like this: