Equifax, the credit score company that put more than 140 million Americans at risk of identity theft this week, will not let you engage in a class-action lawsuit if you consent to arbitration on its website.
ZDNet editor Zack Whittaker notes that anyone who signs up for Equifax's free credit monitoring service to see if their personal information has been compromised must sign away the right to participate in any class action lawsuit against the company.
CBS News confirms Whittaker's interpretation and reports that the monitoring service, called TrustedID Premier, forces customers to sign away their rights to sue.
"By waiving away their legal rights, consumers instead agree to mandatory arbitration, a tactic that hasas 'rip-off clauses' because they bar consumers from banning together to sue in a class action," CBS News reports.
The Atlantic, however, cautions that it is not clear whether you have to agree to arbitration to use TrustedID Premier.
"Ultimately, not only is it unclear if one must agree to arbitration for access to the free credit-monitoring services—it’s also uncertain if consumers even learn the fact and details of their breached data without signing up for TrustedID, with or without agreeing to arbitration with Equifax," The Atlantic writes. "The whole affair is permeated with unknowable rules, some of which feel like traps."
Equifax this week announced a massive data breach that occurred this past July may have put the credit information of up to 143 million Americans at risk of theft. Among other things, hackers were able to access Social Security numbers, dates of birth, physical addresses, and driver’s license numbers.