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Sgouros v. Transunion Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 5, 2015

GARY W. SGOUROS, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANSUNION CORP., TRANS UNION LLC, and TRANSUNION INTERACTVE, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Gary Sgouros ("Plaintiff") brings this putative class action against Defendants TransUnion Corp. ("TU Corp"), Trans Union LLC, and TransUnion Interactive, Inc. ("TransUnion Interactive") (collectively, "Defendants") for (i) willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(f)(7)(A) and § 1681e(b), (ii) violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act ("ICFA"), 815 ILCS 505/1 § 2, and (iii) violation of Missouri Merchandizing Practices Act ("MMPA"), Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.010. This matter is now before the Court on Defendants' motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. and to order arbitration of Plaintiff's claims on an individual basis. Additionally, Defendants file a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3) on the basis that Plaintiff initiated the suit in a wrong venue as his claims are subject to arbitration. For the following reasons, I deny both motions.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On June 10, 2013, Plaintiff purchased a TransUnion Consumer Credit Score, known as a 3-in-1 Credit Report, Credit Score & Debt Analysis, for $39.99 on Defendant TransUnion Interactive's website. In order to buy a credit score, web users were required to start by clicking a large orange "Click Here" button on the homepage below a banner that states, "Get Your Credit Score & Report." Once users click the button, a page with a header, "Your FREE credit score & $1 credit report are only moments away, " appears. The Three-Step Credit Score Purchase Process

1. Step One of Three

The webpage has three tabs, labeled "Step 1 of 3, " "Step 2 of 3, " and "Step 3 of 3." Amongst the three, only "Step 1 of 3" is colored in turquoise green and the other two tabs are in grey. The "Step 1 of 3" page requires users to give their basic information: user name, address, email address, last four digits of social security number, date of birth, and an option button where users must choose either "Yes" or "No" for the statement that reads, "Please send me helpful tips & news about my service, including special offers from TransUnion and trusted partners!" Underneath the option button is a large orange button which reads "Submit & Continue to Step 2." Users must click this button to proceed to the "Step 2 of 3" page.

2. Step Two of Three

Once users click the "Submit & Continue to Step 2" button, they are directed to a page where the second tab is now in turquoise green while the other two tabs-"Step 1 of 3" and "Step 3 of 3"-are in grey. This page requires users to enter their credit card information (card number, security code, and expiration date) and create their accounts by making a user name and password and selecting a secret question and providing the answer for the question. Underneath the text entry boxes to enter the information above, there is an option button to choose either "Yes" or "No" to the question: "Is your home address the same as your billing address?"

Below this option button is a scrollable text window ("the Window"). Inside the Window, users can see a phrase, "Service Agreement" ("the Agreement"), at the top left corner of the Window and the first sentence of the Agreement. Without scrolling down the Window, users can see the following:

Service Agreement

Welcome to the TransUnion Interactive web site, membership.tui.tansunion.com, (the "Site"). This Service Agreement ("Agreement") contains the terms and conditions upon which you ("you" or the "member") may access and use...

Immediately below this Window is a hyperlink, labeled as "Printable Version, " ("the Printable Version link") which links to the full text of the Agreement. The words "Printable Version" are in a font slightly smaller than other letters on the page, but are in green and accompanied by a graphic of a printer to its immediate right. Underneath the hyperlink is a paragraph which reads as follow:

You understand that by clicking the "I Accept & Continue to Step 3" button below, you are providing "written instructions" to TransUnion Interactive, Inc. authorizing TransUnion Interactive, Inc. to obtain information from your personal credit profile from Experian, Equifax and/or TransUnion. You authorize TransUnion Interactive, Inc. to obtain such information solely to confirm your identity and display your credit data to you.

Finally, immediately below this paragraph ("the Authorization Paragraph") is a large orange button ("the Button") that reads, "I Accept & Continue to Step 3." Users must click the Button in order to proceed to the "Step 3 of 3" page. However, they need not scroll down to the bottom of the window to click the Button and proceed. Once users click the Button, they are directed to ...


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