On Jan. 3, the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took action against Equifax, Inc., TransUnion, and their subsidiaries for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and actual cost of credit scores they sold to consumers. The companies also lured consumers into costly recurring payments for credit-related products with false promises. The CFPB ordered TransUnion and Equifax to truthfully represent the value of the credit scores they provide and the cost of obtaining those credit scores and other services. Additionally, TransUnion and Equifax must pay a total of more than $17.6 million in restitution to consumers, and fines totaling $5.5 million to the CFPB.
“TransUnion and Equifax deceived consumers about the usefulness of the credit scores they marketed, and lured consumers into expensive recurring payments with false promises,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Credit scores are central to a consumer’s financial life and people deserve honest and accurate information about them.”
Consumers are again advised to be aware of the terms when they sign up to receive a credit score or other credit-related products. All credit reports are not free, and credit scores are generally not provided free of charge directly from these companies. However, some credit card companies to provide scores to their customers without charge, and thus consumers would be wise to ask their credit card companies if they provide such information for free.