Talk about bad manners. A new class-action lawsuit asserts that Comcast Corp. helped itself to a customer’s credit report without authorization, even after he specifically paid the cable giant to prevent the disclosure of his financial information.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois, says Keith Santangelo of Chicago set up new Internet service with Comcast late last year. During a chat session with a Comcast representative, Santangelo was told the company would have to issue a credit inquiry to establish new service.

Santangelo instead opted to pay a $50 deposit to waive the inquiry, the lawsuit states, but a credit inquiry was performed anyway -- this despite the deposit and despite Santangelo expressly refusing to authorize Comcast to pull the report.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits companies from obtaining consumer reports without authorization.

Santangelo does not appear to be alone. The lawsuit suggests that Comcast routinely performs unauthorized credit checks, and cites “numerous reports of customers experiencing a credit inquiry from Comcast after deposit to avoid said inquiry.” The legal complaint contains links to a number of Comcast customer forums in which users complain of having their credit reports pulled even after they paid a deposit. In some posts, customers accused Comcast of initiating a so-called hard pull, which can downgrade credit scores and remain on a person’s score for two years.

The suit claims Comcast benefits from the practice by pocketing customer deposits. A spokesperson for Comcast declined to comment.

Given the size of Comcast’s footprint, Santangelo believes hundreds or perhaps thousands of customers may have experienced a similar situation, his lawyers wrote. The lawsuit was filed as a class action, meaning other similarly situated Comcast customers could potentially join it.

Read the full legal complaint below.

   Comcast DebtComcast Credit Report Lawsuit.


Christopher Zara is a senior writer who covers media and culture. Got a news tip? Email me here. Follow me on Twitter @christopherzara.