Is TransUnion liable for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

  1. YOU BE THE JUDGE WRITING PROBLEM Process cheese food slices must contain at least 51 percent natural cheese. Imitation cheese slices, by contrast, contain little or no natural cheese and consist primarily of water, vegetable oil, flavoring, and fortifying agents. Kraft, Inc., makes Kraft Singles, which are individually wrapped process cheese food slices. When Kraft began losing market share to imitation slices that were advertised as both less expensive and equally nutritious as Singles, Kraft responded with a series of advertisements informing consumers that Kraft Singles cost more than imitation slices because they are made from 5 ounces of milk. Kraft does use 5 ounces of milk in making each Kraft Single, but 30 percent of the calcium contained in the milk is lost during processing. Imitation slices contain the same amount of calcium as Kraft Singles. Are the Kraft advertisements deceptive? Argument for Kraft: This statement is completely true—Kraft does use 5 ounces of milk in each Kraft Single. The FTC is assuming that the only value of milk is the calcium. In fact, people might prefer having milk rather than vegetable oil, regardless of the calcium. Argument for the FTC: It is deceptive to advertise more milk if the calcium is the same after all the processing.

  2. Thomas worked at a Sherwin-Williams paint store that James managed. Thomas and James had a falling out when, according to Thomas, “a relationship began to bloom between Thomas and one of the young female employees, the one James was obsessed with.” After Thomas quit, James claimed that Thomas owed the store $121. Sherwin-Williams reported this information to the Chilton credit reporting agency. Thomas sent a letter to Chilton disputing the accuracy of the Sherwin-Williams charges. Chilton contacted James who confirmed that Thomas still owed the money. Chilton failed to note in Thomas’s file that a dispute was pending. Thereafter, two of Thomas’s requests for credit cards were denied. Have James and Chilton violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

  3. In October, Renie Guimond discovered that her credit report at TransUnion incorrectly stated that she was married, used the name “Ruth Guimond,” and had a credit card from Saks Fifth Avenue. After she reported the errors, TransUnion wrote her in November to say that it had removed this information. However, in March, TransUnionagain published the erroneous information. The following October, TransUnion finally removed the incorrect information from her file. Guimond was never denied credit because of these mistakes. Is TransUnion liable for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

  4. Thomas Waldock purchased a used BMW 320i from Universal Motors, Inc. It was warranted “to be free of defects in materials or workmanship for a period of three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.” Within the warranty period, the car’s engine failed, and upon examination, it was found to be extensively damaged. Universal denied warranty coverage because it concluded that Waldock damaged the engine by over-revving it. Waldock vehemently disputed BMW’s contention. He claimed that, while the car was being driven at a low speed, the engine emitted a gear-crunching noise, ceased operation, and would not restart. Is Universal in violation of the law?

  5. ETHICS Chitika, Inc., provided online tracking tools on websites. When consumers clicked the “opt-out” button, indicating that they did notwant to be tracked, they were not—for10days.Afterthat,thesoftwarewouldresumetracking.Istherealegalproblem with Chitika’s system? An ethical problem? What Life Principles were operating here?

  6. Over the course of 10 months, Joseph Melle sent more than 60 million unsolicited email advertisements to AOL members. What charges could be brought against him? Would you need more information before deciding?

  7. What can you do to protect your privacy online? Draw up a concrete list of steps that you might reasonably consider. Are there some actions that you would not be willing to take because they are not worth it to you?

8. Craig Hare offered computers and related equipment for sale on various Internet auction websites. He accepted payment but not responsibility—he never shipped the goods. Which government agencies might bring charges against him?