DirecTV Accused of Going After Noncustomer

CHICAGO (CN) – An Illinois woman who has never had an account with DirecTV claims the satellite provider falsely reported she had an outstanding balance and then refused to discuss the matter because she wasn’t the person whose name was on the delinquent account.

Mary Arnold says DirecTV refused to investigate her disputes or even discuss the account with her after she explained that she was not the owner.

Arnold’s class-action complaint, filed Wednesday in Chicago federal court, claims DirecTV “scrubbed” public or private databases trying to locate a woman by the name of Mary Rennie, who had allegedly stopped making payments on her account in Indiana.

The company somehow obtained information that falsely associated Arnold with Rennie’s past-due account, Arnold says.

DirecTV then assigned the account to a debt collection company with a status of “seriously past due” in Arnold’s name, according to the lawsuit.

Arnold says she didn’t learn about the damaging information until she was denied financing for a car purchase.

She disputed the debt with the three major credit reporting agencies and then advised DirecTV that her last name is not Rennie and she has never had a DirecTV account or lived at the address where the service was provided, but she says that didn’t work.

“DirecTV refused to listen to the dispute and told plaintiff that they could not discuss the account with her if she is not Rennie,” the complaint states.

DirecTV updated the account to “fraud due to identity theft” status, Arnold claims, but then placed it for collection with another debt collection company called Enhanced Recovery Company LLC, or ERC, which is also named as a defendant in Arnold’s lawsuit.

Arnold says ERC continued harassing her with additional collection attempts and falsely claimed that she needed to dispute the alleged debt a second time.

Arnold asserts that the actions of DirecTV and ERC violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

She seeks class certification, statutory and punitive damages, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, and is represented by Shannon Geier in Chicago.

A spokesman for AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, said, “We have not been served with the complaint, but are aware of it and are investigating the allegations.”

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