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Murray v. Sunrise Chevrolet

July 31, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge David H. Coar


This is a class action suit against a car dealership and a lending company on behalf of all persons with Illinois addresses who received the "pre-approval notice" flyer at issue in this case on or after November 24, 2002 and before December 14, 2004. Class Representative Nancy R. Murray filed a class action Complaint alleging that Defendant Sunrise Chevrolet, Inc. and Defendant Triad Financial Corporation ("Triad"), d/b/a RoadLoans, obtained consumer credit reports for an impermissible purpose in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Now before this Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment and Plaintiff's motion for an order deeming certain statements of material fact admitted.

Background Facts

Unless otherwise noted, the following undisputed facts are taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements of undisputed fact. Plaintiff Murray is a resident of Joliet, Illinois. In mid-July 2004, Murray received a mailing from defendant Sunrise Chevrolet, Inc. ("Sunrise"), a car dealership with a location in Glendale Heights, Illinois, and defendant Triad Financial Corporation ("Triad") a automobile financing company that does business in Illinois under the name "RoadLoans." The text of the mailer reads:


Dear Nancy,

You have been pre-approved for an auto loan up to $19,500*. Information contained in your credit bureau report, obtained from a consumer reporting agency, was used in conjunction with selecting you for this offer.

The amount of the loan may vary. For security reasons, the pre-approved amount is not listed. Just call with your pint number listed below, to find out what your pre-approval amount is: 800-293-8411.


This offer has been extended to you because you have satisfied criteria for creditworthiness used to select consumers for this pre-approved offer.

Your pre-approval is valid at Sunrise Chevrolet (see below) who has agreed to mark down all their new and used car inventory to keep within the guidelines of your pre-approval.

As low as ZERO CASH DOWN PAYMENT: May times your trade-in is sufficient for a down payment.

This is a unique offer and we want you to take advantage of your pre-approved auto loan but you must come in as soon as possible, as this offer will expire on 7/24/04. Come early for the best selection on over 600 new and pre-owned vehicles.

In a black box the width of the Notice with white text, the consumer is instructed to bring to the dealer a recent pay stub, a phone bill at the consumer's residence, a utility bill with the consumer's name on it, and "yourself and/or your trade." If the consumer wishes to determine the "pre-approval amount" of the loan offered, the Notice directs her to call "our live 24-Hour Pre-Approval Specialist: 800-293-8411" and provide the pin number listed on the Notice. "Your identity will be verified and your pre-approval amount and personal pre-approval code will be given. Write down your pre-approval amount and personal pre-approval code in the spaces below. Present this letter upon entering the dealership listed below. (Note: Be prepared to accept immediate delivery of your new or used vehicle.)" The Notice then reports that "Your Authorized Dealer is: Sunrise Chevrolet" and provides a street address and the toll-free number already listed. At the bottom of the flyer, in much smaller type and a different font, the following text appears:

You have been pre-approved for an auto loan by RoadLoansTM. This offer is available for 30 days from the date of this letter, and is conditioned upon obtaining a first lien security interest in your vehicle. You received this offer based on information in your credit report and upon your satisfying certain predetermined credit criteria used to select individuals for this offer. This offer is conditioned upon verification that you continue to meet the specific criteria used to select you for this offer. Credit may be refused if you no longer meet those criteria or other applicable criteria bearing on creditworthiness or if your vehicle does not meet collateral guidelines. There is a limit of one pre-qualified credit offer per customer, which may be applied to an eligible new or used vehicle.

Specific credit terms such as APR, length of contract, payment amount, and amount of credit, are subject to RoadLoansTM finance program parameters. Your pre-approved reservation code is ROL3. Just visit and complete the application form. RoadLoansTM assumes no responsibility for incorrect information supplied by various credit reporting agencies. You have the right to prohibit the use of information in your file maintained by the consumer reporting agencies from being used in transactions ...

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