Class action: Comcast checks customers' credit even after customer pays fee to avoid credit check

By Scott Holland | Apr 13, 2017

A Hoffman Estates resident who says Comcast examined his credit report after he paid a fee specifically to keep them from doing so is pursuing a class action in federal court in Chicago.

Mounang Patel filed his complaint April 4, alleging Comcast Corporation and Comcast Cable Communications LLC, which does business as Xfinity, violated the Fair Credit Report Act because it inquired about his credit while he was trying to sign up for cable television and internet service, even though he paid a $100 deposit to avoid that step.

Patel’s complaint notes “the negative implications of a credit check” and said Xfinity gave him and other customers the impression it would not do a credit check for customers who made a full deposit when ordering Comcast Digital Voice services with a new phone number or applying to lease some of the company’s more expensive equipment. Customers can pay for the deposit with credit cards; all one-time fees and monthly service charges appear on the first monthly bill.

A credit check or deposit is required for any customer who does not have six months of payment history with Comcast. The company does not agree to waive the credit check for customers who only pay a partial deposit. The full amount of any deposit is credited to a customer’s account balance after 12 months of service with at least the last six months in good standing.

On March 18, Patel contacted Comcast about installing internet service at the house he was buying. According to the complaint, he opted for the full deposit option because he didn’t want a Comcast credit check to impact the processing of his mortgage. He only provided the last four digits of his Social Security number because Comcast told him it would use the information to verify past Xfinity account information, which might have negated the credit check or deposit requirements.

However, Comcast did run the credit check, which Patel said lowered his credit score, “thereby increasing the cost of credit extended to him, and has otherwise had an adverse effect on his ability to close on his mortgage loan, among other consequences.”

In a motion for class certification, filed April 5, Patel said the class would include any similarly situated Xfinity customers dating to Jan. 14, 2015, potentially thousands of people. It also calls for Patel’s attorneys at the firm of Sweetnam LLC, of Chicago, to represent the class.

While collecting credit reports of customers does not itself constituted a FCRA violation, Patel said the law prohibits Comcast from doing so “under false pretenses.” He further alleges breach of contract, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment.

In addition to class certification and a jury trial, Patel seeks actual damages of between $100 and $1,000 for each affected customer, as well as punitive damages and legal fees.

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Organizations in this Story

Comcast Sweetnam LLC U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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