As a lawyer I’m always looking for the fine print, especially when I am being offered “FREE” services by a company sinking as fast as EQUIFAX. Equifax is offering TrustedID, a credit monitoring service, as a response to their recent security breech. They are also leading millions of people to a search box to see if they are possibly a victim. This sounds like a really genuine move by Equifax. What’s not to like about free credit monitoring, and everyone wants to know if they are a victim of a hack, right?
Like thousands of others, I went to the link to check if my own account was hacked. I searched my last name and last 6 digits of my social security number on the Equifax Hack Checker provided by Trusted ID Premier. I am one of the possible 143 million victims of this hack and the box encourages me to enroll in the plan offered by TrustedID. In fact, even those not believed to be impacted are still encouraged to “enroll.”
Seeing this, I became suspicious, and decided to investigate further.
Beware: If you sign up for this free service you maybe giving up your rights to sue Equifax.
At first the fine print read anyone who gets the credit monitoring service, TrustedID, provided for free by Equifax must agree to submit any complaints about it to arbitration. Those people wouldn’t be allowed to sue, join a class-action suit, or benefit from any class-action settlement.
CNN reported that after public pressure, Equifax added an opt-out provision on Friday. Customers can get out of the arbitration requirement by notifying Equifax in writing within 30 days of accepting the monitoring service. Read more here. With these steps to opt-out chances are great Equifax can save millions as they are getting slammed with a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuits. Of course, now I see why they are being so generous. Funnel in as many Americans as you can impacted or not to sign away the right to sue your company unless they jump through some additional hoops.
In the end, buyer beware! Read the full policy terms and conditions before agreeing to this coverage provided by Equifax.