Alert April 22, 2008

Seventh Circuit Holds that Creditors’ Mailers Meet FCRA “Firm Offer” Requirements

The Seventh Circuit issued a key decision in three appeals alleging violations of the prescreening provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In Murray v. New Cingular Wireless Services, Inc., the Court held that a mailer making a pure offer of credit or insurance need not provide “value” to the recipient, making clear that its prior decision in Cole v. U.S. Capital, Inc., 389 F.3d 719 (7th Cir. 2004), which had examined whether a mailer stated “value,” applied solely to situations where a mailer made an offer of merchandise along with an offer of credit. The Court also held that a prescreened mailer need not state all material terms of the credit or insurance product at issue, a requirement that it found was inconsistent with FCRA and would confuse recipients. The decision aligns the Seventh Circuit with recent decisions by the First Circuit and other district courts holding that FCRA is satisfied so long as a creditor or insurer honors its firm offer. Click here for a copy of Murray v. New Cingular Wireless Services, Inc., No. 06-2477 (Apr. 16, 2009).