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Big Fines for Trans Union and Equifax’s Big No-Nos

The start of the New Year typically brings good tidings and good cheer to all. People delight in the idea of starting fresh, setting new goals, and putting their best foot forward. Trans Union and Equifax, however, are not necessarily starting their New Year out on their best foot, and 2017 appears to be coming down hard on them.

On January 3, 2017, a U.S. regulator mandated that Trans Union and Equifax be fined more than $23.2 million for punishment and restitution. Why such staggering fines? It was discovered that Trans Union and Equifax were engaged in deceiving consumers regarding the “usefulness” and “cost” of the credit scores they were purchasing through these companies.

These fines are also punishment for the claims that Trans Union and Equifax were “luring” consumers into signing up for their advertised credit services under the guise of it being free or costing only $1, but in reality, consumers were trapped paying over $200 a year in fees and costs for these purportedly free or nearly free credit monitoring services.

Trans Union has agreed to reimburse consumers $13.9 million, and fork over $3 million in civil fines. Equifax, on the other hand, will reimburse consumers $3.8 million, and has agreed to pay out $2.5 million in civil fines.

Both companies have also been ordered to modify their marketing practices. Such modifications will include obtaining consent from consumers before they enroll in credit-related services where fees are assessed after “free trial periods.” The companies have also agreed to be more transparent by putting practices in place to allow consumers to more easily cancel products they no longer want.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“the CFPB”) stated that Trans Union and Equifax are culpable of falsely representing to consumers that credit scores sold to consumers are the same scores used by lenders. To date, both Trans Union and Equifax have denied these wrong-doings. In fact, the spokespeople for these two companies, David Blumberg for Trans Union and Ines Gutzmer for Equifax, have stated that they have “complied with all applicable laws,” and they are “committed to better educating consumers about their credit.” Yet, despite these lofty statements, Trans Union, Equifax and even Experian remain among the top 10 companies complained about by consumers to the CFPB. (For more information: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cfpb-transunion-equifax-idUSKBN14N1T5)

If you feel you’ve been harmed by Equifax, Trans Union and Experian by their careless practices and misreporting, please contact McCarthy Law to help you get the justice you deserve. At McCarthy Law, we have a team of dedicated and caring attorneys and staff who will help assist you in the removal of harmful credit reporting errors. Don’t let an error get you down. Stand up to the big guys and fight back! At McCarthy Law, we’ll fight the fight for you so you can feel at peace knowing your credit reports are in good hands. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your credit report. Give us a call at 1-855-867-2121, or you can visit our website at Credit Report Errors.

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Kevin Fallon McCarthy is the McCarthy Law PLC’s managing attorney and an experienced Phoenix debt attorney. Mr. McCarthy has also worked as general counsel for a large corporation. He has corporate counsel experience in human resource matters, general corporate governance, and union class action litigation.