• "Texas Appellate Court Finds Check Verification Company Not a CRA under Texas Consumer Credit Reporting Act"
  • November 1, 2010 | Author: Matthew Kasey Ratliff
  • Law Firm: Strasburger & Price, LLP - Dallas Office
  • Watson v. Telecheck Services, Inc., et al., 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 7334 (Tex. App. -- Texarkana Sept. 3, 2010, no pet. h.)

    Facts: Plaintiff cashed a personal check at a casino and subsequently stopped payment on the check following a dispute with casino employees. The casino called on Telecheck Services, Inc. (“Telecheck”), a check verification and warranty company, to purchase the check. Telecheck purchased the check, listed Plaintiff negatively in a database accessed by Telecheck’s customers and hired TRS Recovery Services, Inc. (“TRS”) to attempt to collect the check from Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Telecheck and TRS for violations of the Texas Consumer Credit Reporting Act (“TCCRA”) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) as well as various common law claims. Telecheck and TRS received summary judgment at the trial court level and Plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed the summary judgment in part and reversed in part.

    • TCCRA. Chapter 20 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code governs the regulation of consumer credit reporting agencies. A consumer reporting agency that willfully or negligently violates the provisions of Chapter 20 is civilly liable to the consumer. The term consumer reporting agency, though, does not include a business entity that provides only check verification or check guarantee services. Here there is no dispute that Telecheck provides only check verification and guarantee services and therefore Telecheck is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in this cause of action.
    • Statute of Limitations.  A claim for violation of the FDCPA must be brought within one year from the date on which the violation occurs. It is undisputed that on or about August 4, 2003, Telecheck put Plaintiff in its database as a person with unpaid, check related debt. Nothing in the summary judgment record, however, establishes how Plaintiff knew or should have known of the event at that time. We find that a reasonable trier of fact could determine that Plaintiff could not have reasonably known of Telecheck’s listing until a later date within the applicable statute of limitations.