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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 51B: Consumer report; consent of consumer required for user to obtain, use or seek report; disclosure of reason for accessing report

Section 51B. This section shall not apply to users who acquire from consumer reporting agencies a consumer report pursuant to section 51 and 15 U.S.C. section 1681b.

A user shall not obtain, use or seek the consumer report of a consumer unless the user: (i) obtains the prior written, verbal or electronic consent of the consumer, as is appropriate for the manner in which the transaction or extension of credit was negotiated or entered into; and (ii) discloses, prior to obtaining the consumer's consent, the user's reason for accessing the consumer report to the consumer.

Nothing shall prohibit a user who has already secured the consent of the consumer, or an investor or potential investor of an existing credit obligation, from obtaining a consumer report in connection with: (i) the same transaction; (ii) reviewing an existing account; (iii) increasing the credit line on an existing account; (iv) taking collection action on an existing account; (v) providing products and services or offering of products and services to an existing consumer's account.

A user shall not require or request that a consumer waive this section and any such waiver shall be void. Failure to comply with this section shall constitute an unfair practice under clause (a) of section 2 of chapter 93A.

Notwithstanding the restrictions of this section, the department of children and families shall be permitted to obtain a consumer report for any child in the department's custody who is 14 years of age or older without obtaining the consent of the child or disclosing to the child the department's reason for accessing the consumer report in order to fulfill the department's obligations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 675(5)(I), Public Law 113–183 and section 52A, or any other similar requirement of federal or state law.

The department of consumer affairs and business regulation may promulgate regulations interpreting and applying this section.