What Do the CRAs Say About Accuracy?: Baxter

Maximum Possible Accuracy
David A. Szwak

What Do the CRAs Say About Accuracy?: Baxter

Postby David A. Szwak » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:53 pm

Baxter v. Reliable Oldsmobile, Inc.
1986 Westlaw 13584
[Ohio App.] Nov. 26, 1986

Baxters appeal from an order of the common pleas court which granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, Reliable Oldsmobile, Inc. ["Reliable"], Beneficial Ohio, Inc. ["Beneficial"], and Credit Bureau Services of Northeast Ohio, Inc. ["credit bureau"]. When asked about appellee's procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy, a credit bureau vice president responded:

"Q. But your opinion has been that the information that you have gotten from your credit grantors has always been correct and you've always taken that position?
"A. I would have to say we have to assume that it is correct."
Tr. 18.

* * *

"Q. Have you--is there information in the files or has there been at various times information that's been given to the Credit Bureau by its credit grantors with regard to consumers that turned out to be wrong, in fact?
"A. I don't know.

* * *

"Q. You don't know?
"A. No.

"Q. Who would know at your place?
"A. No one."
Tr. 24.

* * *

"Q. Okay, would it be a fair paraphrase then to state that you believe or you put onto your records essentially what the credit grantor gives you at the particular time? "
A. Yes.

"Q. And you do not check that any further than asking the credit grantor?
"A. Who else would you ask?"
Tr. 31. [Deposition of Maria D. Ryan.]

Undisputed evidence established that this credit reporting agency accurately reported all information it received from the appellants' creditors. The appellants argue that it was arguably negligent because it made no independent investigation about the reliability of that information. Absent knowledge or reason to know that such information is unreliable, a credit reporting agency has no such duty.

A contrary rule would preclude the practical operation of most credit reporting agencies, which receive immense quantities of data from reporting creditors. Here again, the only claimed damage from the alleged violation of the federal act was Ameritrust's decision to decline financing for the appellants. Since the evidence denied that the allegedly inaccurate data prompted that decision, the appellants suffered no legal damages from the claimed violation. The trial court's judgment was affirmed.

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