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LexisNexis / Seisint Inc. / Accurint not bound by FCRA??

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In February, I sent in a request to LexisNexis for a copy of the so-called "Person Report" that they sell. I used a form that is available on their website. A week later, I received a letter from the Customer Inquiry Department of "Seisint, Inc". The letter was printed on LexisNexis letterhead. Here is an excerpt:

"Thank you for requesting a copy of your Accurint Comprehensive Report. We have received your copies of two (2) forms of identification. However, we have not received your payment of eight ($8.00) dollars... We will process your request upon receipt of your payment."

I wrote back to LexisNexis (I didn't acknowledge Seisint at all) and asked LexisNexis to provide a copy of all information that they have about me, and I asked them to provide a copy for free since consumers are entitled to request and receive one free copy of their credit report from each CRA per 12-month period. But LexisNexis apparently does not agree that they are bound by this requirement, or by ANY provisions of the FCRA or FACTA:

"Thank you for your [recent] letter... In your letter you reference the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (the "FCRA")... Unfortunately, however, Seisint is not a consumer reporting agency and does not provide consumer reports; as such terms are defined in the FCRA. On a voluntary basis Seisint has chosen to make available to individuals a copy of their Accurint report -- again the Accurint report is not a consumer report and is not governed by the FCRA -- for which Sesint charges a fee to defray the administrative costs of voluntarily providing such information.

I don't really care about the $8 and will pay it if I have to. The bigger point is that they claim that Seisint is not a CRA as defined the FCRA. Is LexisNexis simply using subsidiaries like Sesint as a means of dodging FCRA compliance? In other words, Seisint owns the databases or some technology that pulls info from databases, while another subsidiary then receives the info from Seisint and sells it to employers and anyone else who is willing to pay for it?

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Get a few of your neighbors to request their free annual report from each of them and then you can form a class when they are also denied.

I fail to see how they claim they are not a bureau as defined in the Act:

(p) Consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis. The term "consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis" means a consumer reporting agency that regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating, and maintaining, for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, each of the following regarding consumers residing nationwide:

(1) Public record information.

(2) Credit account information from persons who furnish that information regularly and in the ordinary course of business.

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It seems that companies like LexisNexis, Seisint, and ChoicePoint routinely avoid compliance with the FCRA by claiming that some of their products are not subject to the FCRA and that they are simply "data brokers" who gather info from public sources, etc. and then provide it to front-end businesses that re-package and sell products containing the information. They play all sorts of games to avoid compliance, and this has resulted in investigations by the FTC.



There is an organization known as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) that has played a key role in fighting companies like Lexis and ChoicePoint.


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