On Friday, social media users spotlighted fine print on Equifax’s website that looks to require users to agree to dismiss their class action claims if they use the company’s website to see if their personal data was revealed by the recent hack. It is accurately the kind of arbitration requirement that a pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule is intended to outlaw if Republicans and the Trump government allow it to go into effect as listed later this month.
Federal documents examined by International Business Times show that in answer to that 2016 rule, the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) which says it is “the business association which serves Equifax” pressed governors to back off the stated bans, saying the laws would subject data organizations to tough penalties if through a class action suit they were found to have violated the law.
In one part of the letter, CDIA says that federal regulators “should release from its agreement rule class interest claims against providers of credit monitoring products.” The report asserted that allowing consumers to sue companies “would not help the public interest or the public good” because it could reduce the companies to “extraordinary and draconian civil liability provisions” under current law. In a different section of the letter, Equifax’s lobbying group states that a rule blocking organizations from forcing their consumers to waive class action rights would show credit agencies “to unruly class action liability that could result in full disgorgement of revenues” if organizations are found to have illegally hurt their customers.
Equifax’s lobbying group held against the ban even as it acknowledged that a 2015 government study found “that credit writing constituted one of the four largest product areas for class action relief” for customers. Customer groups countered the allegations of CDIA and other rule players by saying the ability to file suit is needed to preserve Americans’ legal rights.
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