On March 6, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado against BoostMyScore LLC (“Boost”), BMS, Inc., and William O. Airy – the principal operator of both Boost and BMS. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act, Credit Repair Organizations Act, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”).
The complaint alleges that the defendants misled consumers by guaranteeing that they could “drastically and immediately” improve their credit scores and gain access to superior interest rates on loans. Defendants allegedly advertised that they could deliver these results through a process called credit “piggybacking” – or registering consumers as “additional authorized users” on one or several credit cards held by unrelated account holders with positive histories.
According to the complaint, however, consumers added as “additional authorized users” were not authorized to use the account in any fashion and contractually agreed that they would not place charges on the account or even contact the issuing financial institution. The defendants also allegedly instructed high credit-score individuals adding lower-credit consumers as “authorized users” to their accounts to conceal this information from their card-issuing institutions.
Despite the defendants’ advertisements that credit scores would increase by anywhere from 100 to 120 points over two to six weeks, the complaint indicates that the majority of mortgage underwriters factor out credit piggybacking tradelines.
The complaint alleges that the defendants advertised that their piggybacking process was perfectly legal and charged consumers up front for credit repair services.
Defendants generated more than $6.6 million in revenue from the credit repair business since 2015.
According to a March 9 press release from the FTC, a proposed settlement will soon be filed with the court. That settlement prohibits the defendants from selling fake access to another’s credit, collecting advance fees for credit repair services, committing any future violations of the TSR, misrepresenting that a product or service is legal, and misrepresenting the terms of a refund or return policy. The settlement also includes a monetary judgment for $6,630,678, which will be partially suspended upon payment of $64,863, due to defendants’ inability to pay.
“Good credit isn’t for sale,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in the FTC’s March 9 press release. “This company charged people thousands of dollars based on hollow promises that ‘piggybacking’ on a stranger’s good credit would raise their credit score or help them get a mortgage.”