Volume 4, Edition 9, September 2008



If sued under the FCRA, a CRA could be potentially liable for:

a) punitive damages with a cap of $1,000 per violation

b) punitive damages with no cap, actual damages, and attorney's fees

c) actual damages and attorney's fees only

d) punitive damages and attorney's fees only

Answer: B. Under the FCRA, there are two types of liability, negligent noncompliance and willful noncompliance. If an entity (CRA or end-user) is found to have acted negligently under the FCRA, it may be held liable to pay damages consisting of any actual damages sustained by the consumer plus any costs and attorney's fees. If found to be willfully non-compliant, an entity can be liable for actual damages OR damages between $100-$1000 per incident (if it is an end-user, it will be the greater of actual damages and $1000); plus attorney's fees, and "such amount of punitive damages as the court may allow.". See 16 U.S.c. Sec. 1681n and 1681o. This means that if an entity is found to have willfully not complied, it can be exposed to possibly unlimited punitive damages.


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