United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Dennis Saylor, IV United States District Judge.
an action alleging false credit reporting arising from the
termination of a vehicle lease. Plaintiffs Derek Hindle and
Meredith Partridge allege that defendant Toyota Motor Credit
Corporation (“TMCC”) violated federal and
Massachusetts law by reporting inaccurate information to
credit agencies concerning the termination of the lease for
their automobile. The amended complaint asserts various
causes of action, including claims for violations of the
federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and Mass. Gen Laws ch. 93A
and claims under Massachusetts law for intentional and
negligent infliction of emotional distress. TMCC has moved to
dismiss all claims against it under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
following facts are as alleged in the first amended
2015, Derek Hindle and Meredith Partridge leased a Toyota
Prius from the Boch Toyota South (“Boch”)
dealership in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 1, 8). The lease was held by TMCC. (Am. Compl.
spring of 2017, Hindle and Partridge decided to purchase the
Prius in order to lower their monthly payments. (Am. Compl.
¶ 20). On June 30, 2017, Hindle met with a Boch employee
and signed paperwork that authorized Boch to pay off the
remaining amount of the lease to TMCC, purchase the Prius
from TMCC, and then sell the Prius to Hindle and Partridge.
(Am. Compl. ¶¶ 21, 26). Hindle paid the Boch
employee a $300 deposit. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 27-28).
3, 2017, Boch paid off the lease and purchased the Prius from
TMCC. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 29-30). On July 5, TMCC
delivered the title to the Prius to Boch. (Am. Compl. ¶
31). It appears that Hindle and Partridge continued to
possess the Prius after July 3.
and Partridge allege that they attempted to set up a time to
sign paperwork for a purchase loan Hindle was to receive from
Boch. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 32-44). After both sides
apparently experienced scheduling issues, a Boch employee
allegedly called Hindle and Partridge on July 25 and left a
voicemail for each stating that they needed to come in and
sign the loan paperwork immediately or Boch would
“report the car as stolen.” (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 44, 49). Apparently, Hindle and Partridge never
executed the necessary paperwork, and thus never purchased
that day, Hindle spoke with a TMCC representative on the
phone; in their conversation, the representative told Hindle
that the lease was terminated and that Boch was the
Prius's new owner. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 53-55). TMCC
also sent a letter to Hindle on July 25 that stated the lease
was terminated. (Am. Compl. ¶ 56). That evening, Hindle
turned the Prius in to Boch and canceled the car's
registration with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor
Vehicles. (Am. Comp ¶ 57).
point in the following days, Hindle received an e-mail from
TMCC stating that his “monthly lease statement”
was available. (Am. Compl. ¶ 61). Hindle called TMCC and
was told that TMCC had “reactivated” the lease on
July 31. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 62-63). After Hindle told
TMCC there had been a mistake, a TMCC representative
allegedly told him to bring his complaint to
“corporate.” (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 65-66).
Hindle called and lodged a complaint with what he believed to
be TMCC's “corporate” office. (Am. Compl.
¶ 67). He called “corporate” a second time
on August 10. (Am. Compl. ¶ 69).
later returned to Hindle the $300 deposit that he had paid on
June 30. (Am. Compl. ¶ 70). In September, Hindle and
Partridge sent a demand letter under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A
to both Boch and TMCC; among other things, the letter stated
that Hindle and Partridge “underst[ood] [TMCC] [was]
reporting [their] lease payments as late and undisputed,
” that such reporting was “hurting [their]
credit, ” that they felt it was “unfair of [TMCC]
to be reporting the payments as late and undisputed, ”
and that they were “disputing their alleged liability
for payments due under the lease.” (Am. Compl.
to the complaint, TMCC continued to report Hindle and
Partridge's late lease payments as
“undisputed” to credit bureaus. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 82-83). On October 3, 2017, Hindle and Partridge
wrote TMCC a letter advising that they continued to dispute
the alleged liability. (Am. Compl. ¶ 84).
December 6, 2017, Hindle and Partridge sent letters to the
credit bureaus Equifax, Transunion, and Experian stating that
they were disputing their alleged liability on the Prius.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 88). Equifax, in turn, notified TMCC that
Hindle disputed the liability. According to the complaint,
TMCC continued nonetheless to report to Equifax that
Hindle's liability was undisputed. (Am. Compl.