Arbitration clauses: Beware of the fine print. Part Two: Equifax

Yesterday we wrote about a NY Times investigation about the privatization of the judicial system and why you should stay away from arbitration clauses. Well, to flesh that out a bit more, let’s look the recent Equifax hack in which millions of people’s personal information was stolen.

To add insult to injury, Equifax has an arbitration clause for the terms of use of the TrustedID Premier product and their main website. This legal mumbo-jumbo requires disputes to be handled only by you, the company and a third-party arbitrator, not in a court of law with a judge and/or jury.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule in July that would make it harder for credit bureaus and financial firms to make arbitration mandatory. The House of Representatives moved to block the rule’s implementation. The Senate hasn’t weighed in yet, but experts predict the Senate will go along with the House.

Consumer complaints, social media, and the press reacted to these clauses and Equifax agreed to remove the arbitration clause from their TrustedID terms of service, but it remains on the main website. But they added this statement:

This agreement does not apply to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, www.trustedidpremier.com or www.trustedid.com. This agreement also does not apply to the Trusted ID Premier product or the Equifax cybersecurity incident announced on September 7, 2017.

If you do decide to enroll in their credit-monitoring service, you’re better off opting out of binding arbitration.. But, you need to mail a letter within 30 days explicitly stating that you don’t want to be subject to binding arbitration. You must include your name, address and Equifax user ID.