Sept. 11, 2017

Equifax Removes Rip-Off Clause, Backing Down Under Pressure From Consumers

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Make no mistake: Public outrage and consumer advocacy forced Equifax’s hand, compelling Equifax to remove the forced arbitration “rip-off” clause from its TrustedID service (see Public Citizen's letter (PDF) sent Friday). But it’s the rare case when consumers can generate enough attention to force such a corporate climb-down.

And it’s not like Equifax has seen the light: It maintains a forced arbitration clause on its primary website, which by its terms extends to TrustedID.com. Consumers cannot depend on financial corporations to do the right thing. We need a guaranteed protection of our right to hold corporations accountable for wrongdoing through class-action lawsuits.

That’s why it’s essential that Congress leaves in place the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) anti-rip-off clause rule. If the U.S. Senate repeals the CFPB arbitration rule, Equifax could easily slip a rip-off clause back into its terms and conditions a few months from now, when fewer people are watching.

Also worth noting is that public pressure forced Equifax to eliminate from its TrustedID terms of service an even more egregious condition, that would have required consumers to waive almost any imaginable claim they might have against TrustedID for errors or negligence.

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